Monday, August 29, 2005

Real New York Cheesecake

By request, here is the recipe for real New York Cheesecake, which we had at Janice and Jeff's shower. We served it without the raspberry glaze, instead sprinkling cacao nibs from Scharffen Berger Chocolate on top.

(Makes 1 - 10" Cake)

For the crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
3 T. sugar

For the filling:
6 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream (heavy cream can also be used)

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pecans on baking sheet for 15 min., or until golden. Cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300°.

Combine cracker crumbs and pecans in food processor until fine. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture. Add the butter and sugar to the processor and pulse to blend.

Spray sides and bottom of 10-inch Springform cake pan with nonstick spray. Trace and cut out a round of parchment to fit pan and make a strip for the side of the pan. Line bottom and the side with parchment circle. Spray parchment and sides again.

Sprinkle the reserved 2 T. of crumbs around sides of pan. Tilt and tap pan to distribute crumbs evenly. With rubber spatula, press remaining crumb-butter mixture onto bottom of pan.

The cheesecake will be cooked in a "bain-marie" or water bath, to prevent scorching. Cooking the cheesecake in a roasting pan filled with water works fine, so heat enough water to be used for the bath (don't pour it into the roasting pan yet though, or the pan will be heavy and hard to get into the oven). Be sure cake pan is taller the pan for the water bath.

In a very large bowl break the cream cheese into smaller pieces and add the sugar and vanilla. With electric beaters, cream the cheese, sugar and vanilla together until smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl frequently during mixing so that no lumps remain. Blend in sour cream.

Pour the filling into prepared pan. Place the pan in the roaster and put it in the oven. Then carefully pour hot water into roaster so that water comes 1" to 1-1/2" up the sides of pan. Bake at 300° for at least one hour and 45 minutes. At that point, check the cake and see if it is set. The cake will be a little jiggly in the center but will cook while cooling.

To unmold the cheesecake, carefully remove cake from the bath and cool it to room temperature on rack, then refrigerate overnight. To unmold, pop open the springform shell, and peel off the parchment.

To serve, dip a thin-bladed knife in hot water and slice. Wipe blade clean and dip again after each cut.

Optional Raspberry Glaze
14 oz. pkg. frozen red raspberries
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup sugar
10 oz. jar red currant jelly

Combine berries, wine and sugar in saucepan over a medium heat. Crush thawed berries with back of spoon.

Strain raspberry juice through fine sieve; discard seeds and return juice to saucepan. Simmer over medium heat about 25 minutes until reduced to 1/2 cup and very syrupy. Whisk in currant jelly until melted. Cool to room temperature.

Pour about 1/4 cup cooled glaze on cheesecake. Spread lightly, leaving a 1/2" margin around edge. For an extra pretty presentation, randomly arrange 3 cups assorted fresh berries on top. Serve immediately.

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