Gateau du fromage. My love for cheesecake is somewhat unnatural. I could easily pack away a full cheesecake solo only to wake up after, surrounded by graham crackers and lactose, in a fog.

I have long wanted to make my own homemade cheesecake but it’s a bit daunting for some reason. I wanted it to be real, legit, delicious cheesecake. After much searching, I found a recipe on Epicurious for New York-style cheesecake. It sounded like exactly what I wanted.

I set out to make it, ambitiously, on a Friday night. After further reading in the recipe, I see that the cheesecake cannot be rushed. A minimum 8 hours are needed, and that is cutting it too close for comfort. Further to my problem, I lacked a springform and the
Save-On Foods let me down. I made cheesecake brownies to stave off my cravings and decided to wait.

And so, I have made it. Biggest advice, do not rush yourself. Do not make the cheesecake with the hope of having it for dessert later on. It is a planned dish.

This recipe is from Gourmet in 1999. God, I love Gourmet. I added some more graham crumbs and butter to the crust, because I used a 10-inch springform. Personally, I love the crust, so I would still add a splash more. I obviously didn’t keep a record of how much I added. I am wild like that.

New York Cheesecake
Adapted from Gourmet 1999

1 c. finely ground graham crackers
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (I, as per usual, used a bit more. Hee.)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

5 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (I used about 1 tsp)
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla
(You can also add some orange zest. I didn’t though).

Preheat your oven to 550 degrees. Yes, 550. Shush.

Butter your springform pan. Mix all the dry crust ingredients together and add the butter. Mix it up and press it into the springform pan, including going up the sides. Trust. Leave about an inch from the top of the sides. I didn’t do this and I wish I had. You can leave the pan on the counter, but I was recommended to pop it in the freezer so it’s nice and set when you are ready to go. Pop it in. Fight with your frozen vegetables as I did.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, and zests with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions. Make sure you mix it well but don’t overmix. You don’t want lumps, but you also don’t want cracks later.

Put springform pan with crust in a baking pan. Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely and scarily full) and bake in baking pan (to catch drips – I had butter in mine, I think) in middle of oven 12 minutes, or until puffed. Keep an eye on your cake – your oven might brown it fast and if that happens, just go ahead and reduce away. Reduce temperature to 200°F and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour more. If you are in doubt, as I was, turn off the oven and leave the cake in there for a bit longer. It will continue to firm up. I found that the best way to tell was to put my hand on the top and gently press to see if it’s firm, but still have some shimmy-shake to it.

Run a knife around top edge of cake (not all the way down) to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate.

I served mine chilled, as that’s the way I roll. As well, I made a quick raspberry coulis to go along with it. Just pop a pint of raspberries, some lemon juice and a couple tablespoons of sugar, with 1/4 c. of water in a blender. Push it through a fine sieve. Look thrilled at the colour and the fact that you can say that you serve something called “coulis”. Coo-lee. Mmm.

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