#RecipeShed – In search of the perfect New York Cheesecake

Mark I
Mark I

A week or so before her birthday, my wife started hankering for a baked cheesecake.  Not just a cheesecake, had to be a baked one.  So I started thinking… Who knows about cheesecake? And pudding in general…

The go-to book…

And there it is.  Page 44.  The New York Cheesecake. Roughly speaking, it goes something like this…

Ingredients:

  • 175g digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 75g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the tin
  • 1kg full-fat soft cheese
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 40g plain flour, sifted
  • 300ml sour cream
  • finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Instructions:

  1. Grease a 23cm loose-bottomed/spring-form cake tin, blitz the biscuits in a food processor (or whack with a rolling pin, your call). Melt the butter, add the crumbs and mix well.  Press the mix evenly over the base of the tin.
  2. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (180°C for conventional, 160&degC for fan) for 10 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking sheet, keeping the oven on.
  3. To make the filling, beat the soft cheese and sugar together in a bowl, mix in the eggs. In a separate bowl, beat the flour into the sour cream and the lemon rind, then fold this mixture into the cheese/eggs using a large metal spoon.  Pour over the biscuit base in the tin.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Leave for 3-4 hours until completely cool
  4. Run a knife around the edge to separate cake from tin, transfer to serving plate. Devour.

The picture at the top of the page is the Mark I.  Followed the recipe to a T, even giving it another few minutes when it didn’t look completely set.  It was, well, alright. Pretty good for a first stab but not great.  Slightly grainy, not a lot, but definitely a tad overdone.  But it set the benchmark.

The Mark II
The Mark II

Not deterred, for the Mark I was delicious, I tried the recipe over the page – Cinnamon cheesecake, also baked.  Again, good, but not great. A solid 6/10, must do better.  So my wife and I hit the internet and did some research.  What’s the tips?  What’s the tricks…  This is what we found…

  • Don’t over-beat things.  I’d used the electric hand-blender for any mixing steps so I’d beaten in far, far too much air.
  • Especially don’t over-beat the eggs.
  • Ingredients should be at room temperature – eggs, cheese, sour cream, the lot.  Otherwise the cold forms lumps.
  • The cheesecake should wobble at the end of cooking – don’t bake until it’s completely set! (another Mark I mistake)
  • First hour’s cooling – switch off the oven and leave the door open.  Slow cooling is better and reduces (but can’t always eliminate) cracks.
  • Run the blade around the edge when it comes out of the oven, not at the end of cooling

Followed these tips and along came the Mark III…  9/10… Maybe 9.5/10. Even better the next day after it had chilled in the fridge overnight.

IMG_20130215_175340
The Mark III

The Mark IV is cooling now…

2 Replies to “#RecipeShed – In search of the perfect New York Cheesecake”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *