Food

Classic New York-style cheesecake never goes out of style

Do not accept imposters.

Do not accept imposters.

(Photography by Allison Day)

A graham cracker crumb crust holds a decadent cream cheese and sour cream filling for the only baked cheesecake recipe you may ever need. The garnish, a quick stovetop cherry topping, cuts through the filling’s richness, adding a pop of colour and tang to this little slice of heaven. Mmmmm...

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake with Cherry Topping

Leave the filling ingredients out overnight to come to room temperature; any amount of chill will cause the cream cheese to become lumpy when mixing.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 (220g) package graham crackers, processed into crumbs
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp salt

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 3 (250g) packages full-fat brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp full-fat (14%) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Sour Cream Topping:

  • 1 cup full-fat (14%) sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Lemon zest (optional)

Cherry Topping:

  • 500g fresh or frozen pitted sweet cherries
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Preparation

Arrange oven racks in the middle and lower-thirds of your oven. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray, wrap outside tightly with foil and then place on a large rimmed baking sheet.  

For the crust, in a large bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and salt until fully combined and tightly press into prepared pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling. 

For the cheesecake filling, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides, bottom and paddle to avoid lumps. With the mixer running on low, slowly incorporate the sugar and salt, and mix well, stopping again to scrape down the sides, bottom and paddle. With the mixer running on low, incorporate the eggs one at a time, and then stop and scrape down sides, bottom and paddle, and then beat again until smooth and creamy. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix well; stop and scrape down sides, bottom and paddle, and then mix one final time until the mixture is lump-free and silky smooth. Take the crust out of the refrigerator and pour in the cheesecake filling. Tap the springform pan firmly a few times on your counter to release large, trapped air bubbles.    

Bake in the middle of the oven on the baking sheet for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until the sides of the cheesecake are puffed and set but the centre still has a little wobble when gently tapped. Turn off the oven and prop open with a wooden spoon, leaving the cheesecake in the (off) oven for a further 45 minutes. 

Remove the spoon and the cheesecake from oven and turn oven back on — preheat to 350ºF. 

For the sour cream topping, whisk sour cream and sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Using an offset spatula, carefully spread sour cream topping over cheesecake. Return cheesecake to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack, and then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight or up to 3 days.  

For the cherry topping, in a medium saucepan, mix together cherries, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon, and then mix in water. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat for 1 minute, or until desired thickness. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours. 

To assemble, run a small knife around the edge of the cheesecake before releasing the springform pan. Carefully transfer cheesecake to a cake plate (on or off the springform pan base; whatever you are comfortable with). Garnish with lemon zest, if desired. Slice, cleaning the knife between slices, and serve with the cherry topping.   

Yield: Makes 10 servings


Allison Day is the cookbook author of Modern Lunch and the Taste Canada award-winning food blogger of Yummy Beet. Follow her on Instagram @allisondaycooks for more recipe inspiration.

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