I was making my usual rounds on my favorite food sites and blogs. Scouring for new recipes to try out. Hoping to come across something tasty and yummy to make. I found myself on the Smitten Kitchen site, much like I often do, and came across this cheesecake recipe. I immediately knew I wanted to try it. The idea of making a decadent cheesecake excited me, as it was just the kind of project I needed to dive into. Why? I have no idea. Knowing that the 3 women in my life would go bananas for it. As I was looking down the ingredient list, I stopped at the “5 packages of cream cheese” line. I knew that was all I needed to read. I was sold. I yelled out loud, to no one in particular, “5 packages of cream cheese? Sign me up!” And then everyone turned around and looked at me like I was crazy. But I’m not crazy, just passionate about cream cheese I guess, especially when it’s disguised as a New York cheesecake.
Once It was all finished, I had to keep the sharks at bay, just long enough so that I could finish taking pictures. All three of them were ready with their forks about to dive-in. I almost didn’t get a picture of the finished cheesecake. They tried their first piece and that was it. They were lost in all of its magic and decadence. Soon, they started to divide the cake into each of their portions stating “Don’t eat my piece.” ” I’m hiding mine.” And “Don’t come crying to me, when you eat yours too fast.” Need I say more? I didn’t know what I got myself into, or the power I’d unleash by making this cheesecake.
Are you ready for the power? Can you handle it? Here are the magical ingredients:
Eggs Cream Cheese Butter
Vanilla Extract Granulated Sugar Graham Cracker Crumbs
Flour Salt Strawberries
Once you get all the ingredients together, the first thing we need to do is melt some butter.
Butter makes everything better.
While the butter is melting, start to assemble the crust. Pour the graham cracker crumbs into a bowl and grab your granulated sugar.
Pour it into the bowl with the graham cracker crumbs.
Add in the salt.
Whisk it all together; make sure its well combined.
Go grab your melted butter, it should be ready by now.
Pour it all in.
Resist the temptation of sticking your fingers in there and getting a taste.
Mix everything together with a fork, until it resembles moist course crumbs.
Pour the crumbs into a springform pan.
Pat down the crumbs into a thin layer on the bottom and working up the sides.
The best tool for this is a metal measuring cup.
Use the measuring cup to flatten out the crust and to get the crumbs up on the sides.
When you are done forming the crust set aside as we work on the filling.
To make the filling, open all of the cream cheese packages and drop them into a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Yes, all five of them.
This isn’t the time to start counting calories. AND don’t even think about doing something absurd like getting low fat cream cheese. That’s appalling.
Full fat, heavenly cream cheese is what you need.
Add some sugar and vanilla extract.
And the flour.
We need some eggs now.
Five whole eggs and two yolks.
Just don’t fight it. Go with the flow. It’s worth it. I promise.
A quick photo of “The Great Egg Massacre.”
Okay, back to business…
Mix all the cheesecake filling ingredients. Start the mixer on low.
After a few minutes, turn up the speed. Turn up the speed. You know that song? No? It’s okay, I don’t either.
Stop the mixer and using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom. Making sure you get it all well incorporated.
Turn the mixer back on and continue to mix until the filling is smooth and lump free.
Mix, mix, mix, mix, mix, mix, mix, mix,mix……
…you get the point.
What a beautiful sight. I just want to bathe, swim, sleep, jump, dive-in, drink my way through a HUGE tub of this.
Must focus on the task at hand.
Must focus on the task at hand.
Finish the cheesecake.
Don’t eat the filling.
I will not stick my fingers in there and eat it.
Okay, the urge is gone, can’t say completely gone, so I need to hurry.
Grab the prepared crust and place it on a baking pan to prevent spillage onto the oven floor. It’ll make a mess, and I definitely don’t want to spend time cleaning the oven when I should be spending the time eating cheesecake.
Pour all of the cheesecake filling into the crust. It might look like it wont fit, but it will….and if there is some leftover, even a tiny bit, well then, I’m sure you’ll find something to do with it.
Place the cheesecake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.
After cooking for about 12 minutes at 400, reduce the oven temp to 200 degrees and continue to cook for the rest of the time.
Bake the cheesecake until it is firm and does not jiggle at the center when you shake the pan. You can also insert a tooth pick and see if it comes out clean.
So my cheesecake got a little too brown at the sides, especially at that far end.
I forgot to turn my pan halfway through, and when I remembered it was too late. Oops. Make sure you don’t forget. I was doing too many things at once like walking a tight rope, juggling knives (don’t try at home), taming an elephant, eating fire……
….Oh I think I was just reading.
But Its okay, its just the top of the cheesecake. Plus with the strawberries, you wont even be able to see it.
That’s what I am telling myself to make up for the fact that its too brown. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Let the cheesecake cool completely on a wire rack while in the pan. Once completely cool, place in the fridge, loosely covered with plastic wrap for at least 6 hours.
****6 Hours Later*****
Or what felt like 10 days later….
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust.
Remove the springform edge.
Lets work on the topping. Grab some apricot preserves.
Place some in a pot.
Whisk together and bring to a simmer.
While you let it simmer and get warm, wash the strawberries.
Cut the leafy ends of the strawberries.
Arrange on the top of the cheesecake.
I think it’s missing something. On the second thought, remove the strawberry.
Go get sour cream.
Add some strawberry preserves.
Whisk the topping together. I know it might sound crazy. But trust me, have I ever led you down the wrong path?
Pour the topping over the top of the cheesecake and spread it out evenly and thinly.
Okay, now we can arrange the strawberries. We’re ready for them.
Completely cover the top with the strawberries, it might take some rearranging, but try to use big berries.
Our cheesecake is basically done at this point, but you know me, I like a good presentation. And the strawberries look a little dull.
You eat with your eyes first so I think they need a shiny coat. So grab that simmering apricot glaze from the stove.
This step is completely optional but I do think it makes the cheesecake look better.
Brush the glaze completely over the strawberries. Well coated please.
Okay, NOW, our cheesecake is finally complete.
Take a step back.
Gaze at your masterpiece.
You’re a Cheesecake Champion.
Close your mouth.
Just go on and make it for yourself.
You’ll thank me for pushing you.
Go on and cut yourself a piece.
You’ll be happy to know that I actually did try this cheesecake. I had to blend it with ice cream and milk. I made myself a New York Cheesecake Smoothie…and it was really delicious. But I only got a tiny piece before the girls divided it amongst themselves and called dibs on the rest.
Needless to say it was a major hit! Make this for your next dinner party or even to impress a date or loved one. Just one bite of this heavenly Cheesecake and you’ll fall in love. Here’s the recipe taken from Smitten Kitchen. Although on there, it was made with a cooked cherry topping, so I decided to change it up a bit and use fresh whole strawberries. You be the judge!
New York Cheesecake
Taken and adopted from Smitten Kitchen.
- 8 ounces (15 4 3/4 x 2 1/2-inch sheets of graham cracker; yes, I am crazy enough to both count and measure) finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia brand is recommended)
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 packages of fresh Strawberries
- 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
- 1/4 Cup Strawberry Preserves
- 1/4 Cup Apricot Preserves
- 1/4 Cup Water
For The Crust: Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. A trick from smitten kitchen is to put the crust in the freezer while you whip up the filling, just to make sure it stays firm.
To Make The Filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and flour with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions. Make sure to scrape the bowl frequently.
Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips). Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and bake in baking pan in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. Please watch your cake because some ovens will top-brown very quickly (like mine did). Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about one hour more.
Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.
For The Topping: Mix together the sour cream and strawberry preserves. Once smooth, pour the spread all of the top of the cheesecake. Wash and cut the ends off of the strawberries and arrange on top of the cheesecake, covering the top completely.
In a small sauce pan put the apricot preserves and water, whisk and bring to a simmer over low heat. Once simmering, brush the top of each strawberry with the glaze until completely shiny. Cut and serve right away. Store leftovers (If there are any) lightly wrapped with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Enjoy.