Last weekend I was invited to a pot-luck dinner at the last minute (the day before). While on the phone with my girlfriend, I rummaged through the fridge to see what ingredients I had and found tons of cream cheese (reserved for cream cheese frosting for my cupcakes). Instead of making 2-3 dozen cupcakes for the pot-luck, I decided to make a cheesecake. I've made quite a number of cheesecakes, using various recipes and this is one of my favorites.
Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
I love Tyler & I think all his "ultimate" recipes are really good. This is a super easy cheesecake that's not too heavy with the cream cheese like typical most NY Style Cheesecakes are. I've made this many times and modified it (added pecans to the crust, omitted the lemon zest (because I didnt have any) & increased cooking time & temp.) For the potluck I used a 10" springform pan. Below, I used four 4.75" springform pans for four mini cheesecakes. After my mom saw the big cheesecake, she wanted her own.
2 cups finely ground graham crackers
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup crushed pecans (optional)
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Freeze for 5 minutes.
For the Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sour cream and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well mixed but not over-beaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it (I used two layers of heavy duty foil). Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 60 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Turn off your oven and pop open the door a little bit (use a wooden spoon). Let the cake cool in the oven for 30-45 minutes. This is what it looks like right out of the oven, nice & puffy.
Then remove and cool for another 30 minutes before popping it into the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. This is what it looks like as it starts to deflate.
Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate.
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