Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 in Recipe | 0 comments

I’ve found that I make cheesecakes, always due to family demand, far too often — usually when guests are expected for a visit, or for big family dinners…and the rare occasion where I make it simply because someone wished it for their birthday. While my dad won’t ever admit it, I like to think that I make the best cheesecakes in the house. I won’t flatter myself in thinking that I can best my uncle Jerome…yet! If you’re ever in the city, drop by his place. Don’t worry, I won’t tell him you’re spying for me. 

Anyway, back on topic. It’s not that I’m complaining. Far from it, I love to show off share my sweet delicacies. But after making so many cheesecakes, you start looking for variety. Something that will really wow others when they eat it. 

When serving guests, especially those who aren’t from New York (or the States even), there’s nothing like simple New York cheesecake. As a New Yorker, it’s not hard to imagine the picture people have painted of us. Fast-paced, loud, obnoxious, and pushy, we want things how we want it, when we want it (usually now). We have a tendency to take things to another level when it comes to wanting our things to be the biggest, boldest, tallest, shiniest, and most intense in the nation. While this may not hold true for everyone in New York — how often have you traveled elsewhere and received a comment of how surprised they are that you’re from New York since all New Yorkers are rude? — I’d say that at least some of it applies to the majority here.

It definitely applies to our cheesecake.

Rich, decadent, and usually heaped with a gooey mess of fruit on top, New York cheesecakes are taller than most. Not only that, but it’s firmer and richer. Why? Unlike most cheesecakes, no sour cream is added to lighten the intensity here. Instead, we get a pinch of zesty citrus…simply because it makes it taste better.

So now all we have to do is build our little skyscraper of cheesecake heaven.

New York Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crumb crust
2-3 packets graham crackers, finely ground
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Filling
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

I use my measuring cup to held me push the crust up the sides. Pop it in the freezer to let it set while you prepare the filling.

Preheat oven to 550 °F. [Note: Always check the temperature limit of your chosen baking pan first! If the temperature limit of your baking pan is 475 °F then start there.] 

Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl! Otherwise you may end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese in your batter later on.

Pour filling into crust, your springform pan should be completely full. Since this is a very tall cheesecake, you may want to move the layers in your oven down to prevent the cake from getting stuck on the top when it puffs up. Placing it in the middle of a shallow baking pan will prevent any drips (just in case). 

Bake for 12 minutes, or until puffed. [Note: Be sure to watch your cake! Some ovens may brown more quickly than others, it it happens too quickly, turn the oven down immediately.] Reduce the temperature to 200 °F and continue baking for about one hour until the cake is mostly firm. The center of a cheesecake should always still be slightly wobbly when you shake the pan (gently now!). 

As you can see, my cake’s got a few blemishes and cracks. Otherwise, it’s a nice light brown. Once cooled, it’s almost ready to eat. We can’t forget the delectable fruit topping!

While you could easily use canned fruit, making the fruit topping is not only simple but it tastes way better than any cherry pie filling you’d find at the store. 

Fruit Topping

Ingredients:

10 ounces fresh (or frozen) blueberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Usually, at restaurants, New York cheesecakes are served with a drippy cherry topping. I went with blueberries since they were what I had on hand. You can easily substitute with other fruits, such as strawberries and peaches.

 

Now, to complete your over the top cheesecake, simply spread your fruit topping over the chilled cheesecake.

Mm, almost makes you not want to share. If you plan on making this ahead of time, cheesecake keeps for quite a while (2 weeks tops!)…though I can’t be held responsible for you showing up at the party with only a jam smudged plate!

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

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