I love cheesecake. I can’t really pinpoint when or how my love for cheesecake started, but there are two memories I strongly associate with the dessert:
- Back in high school, Mike and I would buy Sara Lee cheesecakes and eat the whole dang thing while watching Family Guy. Yes, a whole cheesecake. Between two people. Oh, how I wish I could still get away with eating like that!
- My sister, a self-proclaimed cheesecake-hater-turned-cheesecake-lover all because of (drum roll please) my cheesecake. I’m convinced that she’s just never had good cheesecake until I made one from scratch.
Part of me regrets ever introducing my sister to the magic of a good cheesecake; she’s always requesting it. I declined more than I care to admit. The stress of a cheesecake was just too much for me sometimes. Yes, I am that weirdo that will stress out to the max over a cheesecake that browned a little too much or cracked just when I thought everything was perfect. I finally gave in over Thanksgiving weekend and made a New York cheesecake for her. This beaut has five (yes, five) bricks of cream cheese in it. Make sure you mix well or you will end up with chunks of cream cheese. I mixed, scraped, mixed, and scraped for a long time and still ended up with some streaks of cream cheese. I blame it on my mixer bowl: it could barely contain the massive amount of filling. (Will someone please convince Mike that I need an industrial mixer in my kitchen?)
If your cheesecake browns a little too much or if it cracks, don’t fret – smother it in a delicious strawberry topping and it will be your little secret. 😉
New York Cheesecake with Strawberry Topping
for the crust:
15 full graham cracker sheets
8 tablespoons butter, melted
for the filling:
5 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the strawberry topping:
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup water
1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced
- Preheat oven to 500°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
- Prepare the crust: Place graham crackers in a food process and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl until well combined. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and 2 1/2-inches up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Place pan in freezer until ready to fill.
- Prepare the filling: Place cream cheese, sugar, flour, orange zest and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl. Mix on medium-low speed until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Mix in vanilla extract.
- Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into the crust (it will be very full) and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until puffed. Immediately reduce the temperature to 200°F without opening the oven door and continue baking for an additional hour, or until cheesecake is mostly firm with a slightly wobbly center.
- Run a knife around the top edge of the cheesecake to loosen. Place pan on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Chill cheesecake, loosely covered, for at least 6 hours.
- Prepare the topping: Combine strawberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Mash strawberries with a fork or blend with a stick blender, if desired. Transfer to a covered container and chill until ready to use.
- To serve: Remove side of pan and transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Spread topping over the top. Serve immediately or bring to room temperature before serving.
recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine