Our family has a decided preference for cheesecake for celebratory events. Birthday cakes with icing are deemed too sweet and when asked what they would like for their birthday dessert, cheesecake is the answer I hear almost every time. Although we have had numerous kinds of cheesecakes–brownie bottom, chocolate marble, lemon, pumpkin, lime, etc. over the years………..we always seem to come back to the standard New York Cheesecake–plain, but so sublime. I thought I would share with you some of the tips that have made my cheesecakes a dependable favorite.
First, gather your ingredients and bring to room temperature. You can speed the process in a couple of ways–put eggs from the refrigerator in a bowl of warm water(do I need to say “not cracked”!); cream cheese can be warmed in the microwave on very low power, briefly, to soften. Be extra careful with using the microwave. I have “cooked” perfectly wonderful cream cheese by not being vigilant to watch it closely. Sour cream can be used straight from the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
I like to use my food processor to prepare the crust. Whirl 1 package of graham crackers and measure out 1 cup of crumbs. Add the crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons melted butter and process until moist. Use the bottom of a stainless measuring cup to pat into a 9 inch spring form pan. ( I prefer a non-stick.) Bake 10 minutes.
Beat four (8 oz) packages Philadelphia (yes, it is the best) cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons all purpose flour and 1 tablespoon vanilla at medium speed until well blended.
It is important to not over beat at this point–just until everything is nicely blended. I can’t tell you how many cheesecakes I have “ruined” by over beating. Less is more. Which brings me to the next step that I believe has made all the difference in my cheesecake successes.
Whisk in 4 eggs, one at a time, by hand.
You want to fully incorporate the egg without, ah-hem, over beating :).
Again, using your whisk, stir in 1 cup sour cream. Gently.
Pour over cooled crust. Tap to distribute evenly in pan. Bake for 65-70 minutes until center is almost set. The surface should be dull. Remove immediately from oven and run a knife along the side to release from pan–this step allows cooling without cracking.
Cool thoroughly before refrigeration.