Free Range Nurse

Cooking therapy from a former travel nurse

New York Cheesecake November 24, 2009

Filed under: dessert — freerangenurse @ 11:13 pm

This time of year will forever remind me of New York.  I’ve  never been a New Yorker, really, but having spent a couple of months there last fall, I really fell in love with the city.  Walking through the ramble of Central Park, having French press coffee and eggs benedict at Pastis, sipping hot pear cider at the Union Square farmer’s market, shopping on 5th Avenue, and visiting Tiffany’s three times just to stare at the canary yellow Tiffany diamond.  Growing up, I always wanted to visit the big apple, so when the opportunity to go during my favorite time of year, I jumped on it.  Well, I sent a few emails, then I jumped on it.

The slight hesitation was due to the location of the hospital.  It was in Jenny’s old block, you know, south side Bronx.  Not having ever been to NYC, I was a little nervous.  I racked my brain to think of anyone I may know from New York.  Now keep in mind, this was before I discovered the joys of facebook (turns out I know two people who live there).  The only person I could think of was a blogger I loosely followed.  I sent off an email asking about all things New York and the Bronx.  She wrote back quickly and cc’d the message to a friend of hers who had lived in the Bronx.  Derek was quick to respond with not only informative, but also very humorous emails.  He quickly allayed all my fears and gave me subway info, restaurant tips, a history of the city and was always on stand by when I needed him.  I had every intention of sending him some Tito’s vodka and a coffee table book on Austin, but what was it I wrote earlier about intentions and follow through?  I never did send them.  I think it’s time I make good on that intention.  I really owe it to the guy!

When it came time to make a cheesecake for this Thanksgiving, what more perfect one could I make than the one named after my fall home away from home? Enjoy!

New York Cheesecake

(adapted, barely, from Gourmet, November 1999)

  • 1 crumb-crust recipe, made with finely ground graham crackers
  • 5 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Make crumb crust as directed in separate recipe.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees, F.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, and zests with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add eggs and yolks one at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down the bowl between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan.  Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and bake in a water bath in the middle of the oven 15 minutes, or until puffed (be sure to watch it closely).  Reduce temperature to 200∘F and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 1/2 hours more.

Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in a springform pan on a rack.  Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.  Remove side of pan and trasfer cake to a plate.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Crumb Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 9 inch springform pan.  Bake for 10 minutes at 400∘F.  Let cool on a rack, fill and bake according to cheesecake recipe.

Tips:

  • Always use room temperature cream cheese for a smooth cheesecake.
  • Using a water bath to cook your cheesecake will result in zero cracks and a no fall cheesecake.
  • Be sure to wrap your springform pan in foil before placing in the water bath.  I find extra large aluminum foil is large enough to do the job.
  • Use a large  pitcher to add water to the pan while it is already in the oven.
  • Let your cheesecake cool down in the oven while the door is open to gradually cool it down and prevent a falling center.

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