Friday, February 3, 2012

New York Cheesecake with Strawberry Glaze

The moral to this story is don't rush your cheesecake.

It's not hard to see the fissures I tried to mask with glaze, but I baked this cake for my birthday so the way it looked was no big deal. I know a lot of people preach about presentation and how we eat with our eyes first, but I think this is hooey. Speaking for myself, as long as what I am eating tastes good and is reasonably identifiable and doesn't look like something the cat hacked up, I'm satisfied.

In the spirit of full disclosure though, I have to admit that most of my cakes/desserts taste great but look better from a distance or with one eye shut.

A recently discovered relative in London, Christina Hilton, makes the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen:
This is obviously one gene we do not share.

I could have had a totally different post if Ihad only slowed down a bit and taken the time to make sure I had gotten the air bubbles from the batter before putting the cake in the oven.

Absolutely The Best New York Cheesecake



2 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (two wrapped packages from a 14 oz box)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened


40 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature (five 8 oz pkgs)

1 1/2 cups sugar

16 ounces sour cream, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla


8 oz. frozen strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. cornstarch

3 Tbs. water


Make the crust by crumbling the grahm crackers in your food processor. Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse a few times to mix thoroughly.
Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. Put two inches of water in a baking pan large enough to hold your springform pan and let the pan and water warm in the preheating oven while you make the batter.

Prep a 9 or 10-inch springform pan by place two large sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil on counter. Place the locked pan in center and raise up the foil to top rim. 

Using some firm butter, fill in the inside lower rim of pan, using your finger to form a smooth lining. (like caulking a bathtub). Place in freezer for 10 minutes then press the prepared graham cracker crumbs onto the bottom of the pan then put it back into the freezer while you make the cheesecake batter.

Beat cream cheese and sugar till smooth. Add sour cream, then eggs (one at a time).

Add remaining ingredients. Mix on medium speed until well incorporated (about three minutes), scraping down sides of bowl several times while mixing to prevent lumps).

Remove the springform pan from freezer. Place pan onto a dishcloth onto counter and pour batter into pan. (So it's not 'loud' when you temp it).

With your palms around the outside rim of the pan, GENTLY lift and drop down pan onto the towel. Rotate an inch or so and repeat a few times to raise and release air bubbles from batter. (this will help keep your cheesecake from cracking and obviously the step I screwed up).

Set the springform pan into a water bath. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. WITHOUT opening oven door, reduce temperature to 250 degrees for an additional two hours or until center of cake registers 150F with a digital thermometer.

Remove from oven, water bath, and outer foil. DO NOT unlock the springform pan! Place on cooling rack for 30 minutes.

Make the glaze:

Put the 1/2 cup of water, strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil, mashing the berries with a wooden spoon to release their juice.. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Let cool slightly then strain the liquid from the strawberries. Press on the solids to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. return the liquid to the pan.

Bring the liquid back up to a simmer. Whisk 3 tablespoons of water into the cornstarch and then pour it into the simmering liquid.

Increase heat and whisk until the glaze comes to boil. Continue to whisk while the glaze boils and thickens, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool. Once the glaze has cooled down, place it in the refrigerator to chill.

Loosen cake from sides by going between the cake and the pan with the edge of a knife. Refrigerate for at MINIMUM of four hours but overnight is best. Cooled glaze can be poured onto the cake after it has been refrigerated for about 2 hours. If you want to get fancy, top the cheesecake with thinly slices fresh strawberries before applying the glaze.

 Unlock and remove the side of pan.