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New York Style Cheesecake

New York Style Cheesecake


If anyone knows how to make the perfect Cheesecake - it's Elizabeth Baird. Elizabeth was the food editor at Canadian Living for over ten years - and now, she's Executive Food Editor and she's concentrating on her first love - cookbooks.

Her latest was developed with the Canadian Living Test Kitchen and is packed with more than 300 simple and delicious recipes for both sweets and savouries plus complete information for the home baker to achieve perfect results. She came by to share her fail-safe recipe for New York Style Cheesecake complete with Fancy Cranberry Sauce Topping (and a few extras!).


Topped with stunning, glossy strawberries, this cheesecake is a show-stopper. You can omit the strawberries and top with mango sauce or fancy cranberry sauce topping for delicious variety.


1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (375 mL)
1/4 cup butter, melted (50 mL)
3 pkg (each 8 oz/250 g) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar (175 mL)
4 eggs
1 tbsp each lemon juice and vanilla (15 mL)
Pink salt
1 cup sour cream (250 mL)

Grease bottom of 9-inch (2.5 L) springform pan; line side with parchment paper. Centre pan on large square of heavy-duty foil; bring foil up and press to side of pan. Set aside.

In bowl, stir crumbs with butter until moistened; press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake in centre of 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) oven until firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; beat in sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla and salt; beat in sour cream just until blended. Pour over crust.

Set pan in large shallow pan; pour in enough hot water t come 1 inch ((2.5 cm) up side of springform pan. Bake in centre of 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) oven until shine disappears and edge is set but centre is still jiggly, about 1 1/4 hours. Turn off oven; let stand in over for 1 hour.

Transfer springform pan to rack and remove foil; let cool. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. (Make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 2 days or overwrap in heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks).


Cut tops off strawberries; place, cut side down, in concentric circles on top of cheesecake. In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1 tbsp (15 mL) water; let stand for 5 minutes to soften. In saucepan, stir together softened gelatin, jam, and liqueur, if using; heat over low heat, stirring, until melted and smooth, 2 minutes. Brush over strawberries. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. (Make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 6 hours).

Makes 16 to 20 servings.

Per each of 20 servings: about 280 cal, 5 g pro, 19 g total fat (11 g sat. fat), 23 g carb, 1 g fibre, 90 mg chol, 202 mg sodium, % RDI: 5% calcium, 8% iron, 19% vit A, 48% vit C, 13% folate.


To make sure your cheesecake doesn't crack, bake it in a water bath, or bain marie. To keep water from getting in and making the crust soggy, the bottom and side of the springform pan must be foil-wrapped. Regular foil is too narrow and will leak even if 2 pieces are folded together. Wider, stronger heavy-duty foil is a must.


Ruby red, with the sweet-tart zing of cranberries, this compote is fabulous over cheesecake, especially New York Cheesecake. Spoon about 1/2 cup (125 mL) over cheesecake, then refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve remainder alongside.

1 bag (340 g) fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar (175 mL)
1/2 cup water (125 mL)
1 tbsp cornstarch (15 mL)
1/2 cup port (125 mL)

In saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar and water to boil; reduce heat and simmer until saucy and berries pop but still retain shape, about 8 minutes.

Whisk cornstarch into port until dissolved; gently stir into cranberry mixture and return to boil. Simmer until compote clears and thickens, about 1 minute. Scrape into large glass jar. Let cool slightly; cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

(Make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 5 days).

Makes about 2 cups (500 mL).


If you're making this sauce in the spring, when manoes are in season, choose yellower, kidney-shaped Ataulfo mangoes for the most luscious flavour. They have a silky texture and a smaller pit and are less fibrous than many of the larger red-and-green mangoes.

4 small mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped (about 3 cups/750 mL)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 mL)
2 tbsp each lime juice and orange juice (25 mL)

In food processor, puree together mangoes, sugar, lime juice and orange juice; press through fine sieve into small bowl to remove any fibres. (Make ahead: refrigerate in airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Makes about 1 1/4 cups (425 mL)

Per 2 tbsp (25 mL), about 37 cal, trace pro, trace total fat (0g sat fat), 9 g carb, 0 g fibre, 0 mg chol, 1 mg sodium. %RDI: 1% iron, 14% vit A, 18% vit C, 3% folate.


Fresh summer strawberries get extra zing from a bit of orange-flavoured liqueur. This sauce lends its fabulous fruit flavour and bright red colour beautifully to Orange White Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake.

2 cups sliced strawberries (500 mL)
2 tbsp granulated sugar (25 mL)
2 tbsp orange-flavoured liqueur (25 mL)

In bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, liqueur; let stand for 30 minutes.

Makes 2 cups (500 mL)

Per 2 tbsp (about 25 mL) about 20 cal, trace pro, trace total fat (0g sat fat), 4 g carb, trace fibre, 0 mg chol, 0 mg sodium. %RDI: 1% iro, 20% vit C, 2% folate.

7 Secrets of Making a Perfect Cheesecake

  • Perfect Cheesecake Tip #1: Use cream cheese at room temperature

  • Instead of using cream cheese directly out of the refrigerator, let the cream cheese soften for 2-3 hours so that it is easier to whip. Your cheesecake batter needs to be creamy and smooth, and you'll get this consistency more easily with pre-softened cream cheese.
  • Perfect Cheesecake Tip #2: Take it out of the oven when the middle is still soft

  • To avoid cracking and overbaking, you'll need to pull the cheesecake out of the oven before it cooks all the way through. This is probably the toughest part of baking this dessert to perfection, but you can easily see the softer center about ten minutes before the end baking time.
  • Perfect Cheesecake Tip #3: Add a spot of cream

  • Cream and eggs are what bind the cheesecake together, and adding a spoonful of whipping cream can ensure your cheesecake is dense enough to pass as a classic New York style dessert.
  • Perfect Cheesecake Tip #4: Use real graham crackers for the crust

  • While a box of graham cracker crumbs is convenient, you'll get that 'homemade' taste when you actually crumble your own crackers. Try flavored graham crackers for variation - cinnamon and chocolate can fare well for those deluxe cheesecake flavors.
  • Perfect Cheesecake Tip #5: Don't open the oven until the end of the baking cycle

  • While it's tempting to check up on your cheesecake during the baking cycle, letting the heat escape can make your cheesecake fall too quickly. Wait until 10 minutes before the time on the recipe where you do a quick check of the center (See #2).


  • Breads, muffins and cakes should be removed from their pans soon after taking from the oven to prevent trapped steam from making the product soggy.
  • Cakes, cookies, muffins and other quick breads cook best in the middle of the oven. This allows the heat to circulate evenly for even cooking.
  • Food bakes more quickly in glass than in metal pans. If you want to use an oven-proof glass baking dish instead, decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees F (10 degrees C).
  • The baking powders available in the grocery store may be single acting or double acting. A single acting baking powder will provide only one burst of leavening, the first when mixed with liquids and the second when it comes in contact with the oven heat. The double acting powder is better choice if the batters and doughs will not be placed in the oven right away.
  • When measuring flour, fluff it in the bag then spoon into the measuring cup; level off with a knife.
  • For better texture, try substituting buttermilk for regular milk in your cake recipe. For each cup of buttermilk used, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the dry ingredients.

For more recipes and information on the new 'Complete Canadian Living Baking Book', visit:


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