A few weeks ago, I went for coffee and cheesecake with a friend. We had planned to meet at a little place called the Cheesecake Cafe. When we arrived there, we saw the shop bare and emptied out with no sign at all if they had moved somewhere else or shut down completely. We went to another cafe nearby and had their cheesecake which was o.k. but nothing to write home about.
Anyway, since then I’ve been craving for a proper cheesecake. I was going to make one with cream cheese and ricotta but couldn’t find any ricotta cheese so I looked for another recipe that asked for just cream cheese and found this one from Nigella Lawson. In her book, How To Be A Domestic Goddess, there is a section just on cheesecakes with four versions listed: New York Cheesecake which needed four and a half hours to make, London Cheesecake made only with cream cheese and ready in an hour, Passionfruit Cheesecake (the London Cheesecake with passionfruit) and Joe Dolci’s Italian Cheesecake made only with ricotta cheese.
The cake was easy to make and turned out exactly like the photo – firm and cheesy but not too sweet and with the sour cream topping adding that je ne sais quoi to the end result. Now, my cheesecake craving has been satisfied.
for the crust:
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. or 5 ounces graham crackers
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted or very soft
for the filling:
- 20 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 8-inch springfrom pan
- heavy-duty foil
for the topping:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Process the crackers until they are crumbs at this point, then add teh butter and pulse again. Line the bottom of the springform pan (with parchment paper) pressing the crumbs with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put the pan in the refriferator to set, and preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
- Beat the cream cheese gently until smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and eggyolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon juice. Put the kettle on.
- Line the outside of the chilled pan with foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting pan. This will protect the cheesecake from the water as it is cooked in its water bath.
- Pour the cream cheese filling into the chilled base, and then pour hot water from the recently boiled kettle into the roasting pan around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up; don’t overfill as it will be difficult to life up the pan. Put it into the oven and cook for 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so: you just need to feel confident that when you pour the sour cream over, it will sit on the surface and not sink in. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla for the topping and pour over the cheesecake. Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
- Take the roasting pan out of the oven, then gingerly remove the springform, unwrap it, and stand it on a rack to cool. When it’s cooled down completely, put it in the refrigerator, removing it 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off. Unmold and when you cut into it, plunge a knife into hot water first.
- Serves 8.