Who doesn’t love cheesecake? It’s perfect anytime and it’s so versatile. Flavors vary from Oreo to pumpkin to red velvet. New flavors seem to be created on a daily basis. But if you’re not as adventurous, you can always come back home to the traditional. You can’t go wrong with the traditional cheesecake. A graham cracker crust, the creamy middle and the topping of strawberry puree. It’s so delicious and goes really well anytime, but especially in the spring or summer. This recipe is the one we used in class. The first time I tasted it, I felt like I was on cloud nine. The crust is slightly spiced, the middle is super creamy and light and of course the tartness and sweetness from the strawberries really goes well with the subtle cream cheese tang. If you’ve never made cheesecake, try this recipe and I guarantee you’ll never doubt your cheesecake skills again.
Before we begin, it’s vital that all your ingredients are at room temperature. If you want a great cheesecake, starting with room temperature ingredients, will get you there.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease a 10″ springform pan. This recipe yields one cheesecake for a 10″ pan.
To begin, combine all the crust ingredients together and mix until it clumps together like wet sand when clinched in hands.
In a lightly greased spring form pan, press the crust into the bottom. Ensure the sides are covered and it’s pretty even throughout.
Begin by mixing the cream cheese on low until smooth and no lumps. Stop the mixer a couple of times to scrape.
Gradually add in the sugar. Scrape after mixing for a little bit. Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix for a little bit. Scrape. Begin to add in the eggs one at a time. Beat well between additions. Allow the egg to get absorbed before adding the next one. Also, I scrape between each addition. I also add the vanilla extract at this point. After mixing for a bit, it should look more liquid and smooth. Scrape the bowl and blade at this point. Use your hands to clean the blade off. Add in the sour cream, mix, scrape, add in the heavy cream slowly, mix, scrape, add in the lemon juice, scrape and mix. Keep the mixer on the lowest speed or second speed throughout this process. I can’t stress enough the importance of scraping throughout.
Place the batter in the pan on top of the crust. Place your pan into a 2″ pan or round pan. Pour 3 cups of hot water. Place in your pre-heated oven and bake for about 40 minutes to an hour. It took me about 45-50 minutes for this to finish.
It’ll bake for 40 minutes to an hour. The internal temperature should be 155°F. The best way to tell if it’s finished if it’s set around the sides, but jiggly in the middle. It should be firm to the touch in the middle, meaning it shouldn’t be liquid when you touch it.
Once out of the oven, remove from the 2″ pan and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the strawberry sauce, wash all the strawberries and cut them in half. Set aside 1/3 and cook the rest. Cook over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until it becomes thicker and more like a syrup.
Once it’s thicker, remove from the heat and move to a new container.
Add in the 1/3 uncooked strawberries and mix. Let it cool and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, have a pitcher of steaming hot water with a small offset or butter knife, a chef’s knife and a cake or pie server in it.
Using the offset or butter knife, unmold the cheesecake, top with the strawberry sauce, decorate (optional).
If topped with whip cream, serve within the first couple of days. Without whipped cream, you can serve it for up to a week. Keep refrigerated until serving time.
- 1.5 lbs cream cheese (3 8oz boxes)
- 6 oz granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 lemon zest
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup eggs + 3/4 of an egg
- 5 oz graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 oz granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1.25 fl oz melted butter
- Strawberry Sauce
- 1 lb strawberries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- lemon zest
In one bowl, combine all your ingredients for the crust and combine until it clinches together like wet sand.
In a lightly greased 10" springform pan, pat the crumbs until they reach the sides and are even across the bottom. Make sure they don't go up the sides.
Start by having all your ingredients at room temperature and pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Mix the cream cheese on low for about five minutes, stopping to scrape. It should be smooth and lump-free.
Gradually add in the granulated sugar and mix until sugar is blended in, about 2 minutes after adding all the sugar in. Scrape.
Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix until combined. Scrape.
Add in the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Scrape.
Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated. Let it mix properly before adding each egg. Scrape in between each addition.
Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape.
Slowly pour in the heavy cream and mix until combined. Scrape.
Add the lemon juice and mix until combined. Scrape.
Pour the batter on top of the crust in the springform pan and tap lightly to release air bubbles.
In a pan or pot that has 2" sides, pour in three cups of hot water.
Place the springform pan in the middle of the water bath.
Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes to one hour. I check at the 40-minute mark and go from there. If you have a digital thermometer you can check the internal temperature, which should be at 155°F when it's done. The best way to tell if it's done is if the sides are firm, but the center is jiggly. If it jiggles, but when you touch it with your finger it's not liquid in the center, that means it's done.
Top with strawberry sauce and serve.
Wash all strawberries and cut them in half.
Place 2/3 of the strawberries in a saucepan with the sugar and vanilla.
Cook about 15 minutes on medium-high heat, until thicker and syrup-like.
As you cook the strawberries, mash them slightly with the wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and place the remaining 1/3 uncooked strawberries with the cooked strawberries and mix.
Let it cool for about 10 minutes. Cover with saran and refrigerate overnight.
Serve with the cheesecake the next day.