With the new year just a few days away, there is nothing more celebratory (and let’s be honest we all want to celebrate the end of 2020), than a creamy, dreamy cheesecake. With possible resolutions right around the corner (think diets), this is one last decadent send-off; a chance to indulge and feel a little fancy.
I had always been a bit afraid of making a cheesecake, I thought they could be finicky and with the added pressure of it being a favorite dessert of so many, I stayed away. But if 2020 has given me anything, it is extra time in the kitchen (this recipe takes a bit of time as the cooling time is factored in) and a “You Only Live Once” attitude, so make AND EAT anything you want. So a few months ago I rolled up my sleeves and attempted my first cheesecake. After some positive feedback, I’m all in!
Active Time: 30 min
Makes: 8 servings
- 1 ½ CUPS GRAHAM CRACKER CRUMBS
- 5 TBS UNSALTED BUTTER, MELTED
- ¼ CUP GRANULATED SUGAR
- 4, 8OZ BLOCKS OF CREAM CHEESE, SOFTENED
- 1 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR
- 1 CUP FULL-FAT SOUR CREAM
- 1 TSP. VANILLA EXTRACT
- 2 TSP. LEMON JUICE
- 3 EGGS
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a medium bowl until sand-like consistency. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crumbs down into the crust layer. Bake crust for 8 minutes
- While the crust is baking, prepare the water bath. Boil several cups of water and pour into a larger pan that the springform pan can sit inside of. When the crust is done, set on top of a large piece of foil and crumble foil around the bottom of the pan where the springform will eventually be taken apart. This will prevent the water from the water bath from getting into the cake itself. Place foil-wrapped pan with crust into a larger pan with hot water.
- While the crust is cooling, make the filling. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and granulated sugar on medium speed until mixture is smooth, about 2 mins. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat again, on medium speed. Add the eggs until just blended, being sure the mixture is fully incorporated but not overbeating.
- Pour filling into prepared crust and bake for 60-65 mins, until the middle is slightly jiggly when you shake the pan. Try not to open the oven before the time is up, as added cold air could crack the top. Turn the oven off, crack open the oven door and leave in the turned-off oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and rest a room temperature until cool. Wrap and store in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours. Remove from the springform pan before serving.
- If you can’t find graham cracker crumbs, simply pulse whole graham crackers in a food processor. I use already crumbled to save time.
- The small investment of a springform pan for this is worth it. I’ve used mine to make quiche now too.
There are several topping options if you’d like (fresh raspberries, strawberry jam, caramel drizzle, etc.). This time I used candied cranberries from Chef Sean’s recent recipe.