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.