Just after I posted my review of Curtis Stone's new book What's for Dinner? I couldn't resist trying his amazing looking New York Cherry Cheesecake for a family meal. I'll be honest this is one serious cheesecake and not for anyone counting their calories, but my-oh-my it is worth every single one!! Loaded with cream cheese and eggs it still manages to stay light and super creamy and the touch of lemon gives it the perfect balance to the sweetness. If you like cheesecake and are looking for a new recipe to try I can't recommend this enough, especially since cherry season is just getting started. Try it and you will see what I mean!
Butter for the pan
12 whole graham crackers* (see note at bottom)
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
4 x 225g/ 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature (very important it's at room temp.)
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
Sour Cream Topping:
2 cups sour cream
3 tbsp sugar
1 lb fresh cherries, halved and pitted
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform cake pan with 3 inch high sides.
To make the crust put the graham crackers (or digestive biscuits) into a food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs (you should have 1 1/3 cups – make sure you measure this and see note at bottom of recipe!). Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. (If you don't have a food processor pop the biscuits into a bag, seal and whack with a rolling pin!) Press the crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom and if you like 1 ½ inches up the side (I didn't bother doing that as I preferred to have a slightly thicker base). Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the crust is a shade darker (took me 13-14 minutes). Cool on a rack, then wrap 3 layers of wide heavy-duty foil around the outside of the pan (make sure the foil is high all around).
For the filling clean the bowl of the processor then blend the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. If you need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure it's all properly mixed. Add the lemon zest, juice and vanilla and mix to combine before adding the eggs. Pulse until everything is well combined and silky smooth.
Pour the filling into the pan then place it in a large roasting pan. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the filling is set other than the very center which should still wobble slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cake will firm once chilled).
While the cheesecake is baking mix together the sour cream and sugar for the topping. As soon as the cheesecake is ready pour the sour cream topping over the top and smooth before returning back to the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the topping has set. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and carefully put the cake pan onto a rack and leave to cool for at least 1 hour.
Run a sharp paring knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan sides but keep it in the pan at this point. Cover loosely with cling film/ plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled (I only chilled it for roughly 6 hours and it was perfect so if you are short of time don't panic too much!).
To finish off the cheesecake make the cherry topping by combining the pitted and halved cherries with the sugar and lemon. Stir everything together then leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (I gave it 1 hour), stirring from time to time.
When you are finally ready to unveil your masterpiece (and can't wait any longer to try it!), remove the side of the pan from the cheesecake then cut the cake into 12 pieces (use a large sharp knife and dip it into hot water after each cut to moisten it and wipe it clean). Put the slices onto individual plates then top with the cherry topping and enjoy!
*I had a box of Graham crackers in the house already and so as per the instructions I ground up 12, however thankfully Curtis points out that once ground to fine crumbs you should have 1 1/3 cups. I wasn't even close! I think I had just over ½ cup so obviously Graham crackers vary (or for those of you in the UK/Australia if you are using Digestive biscuits) make sure to go by the end cup amount. If I hadn't bothered to measure it out I would have had the thinnest base ever!!!
*This recipe was taken from What's for Dinner? by Curtis Stone. To see my full review click here.