Cheesecake is deceptively simple. It only requires a food processor to pulverize graham crackers to make the crust, and later, after a quick wash of the food processor bowl – a quick puree of cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and a bit of corn starch for the filling. Total hands-on time does not exceed ten minutes. The baking takes time, however – preferably in a water bath – and the cheesecake needs to be brought back to room temperature slowly to prevent a fissure on the surface. Fissure or not, it’s still delicious and is best served chilled.
I made a raspberry coulis (raspberry sauce) to accompany this cake. Recipe HERE.
It’s best to bake this at least a day before serving, although you can bake it as much as a week ahead of time, as long as it’s chilled in storage.
Alternatively, you may freeze a cheesecake for up to three months. Just make sure it is double wrapped in plastic wrap, then double wrapped in aluminum foil. Be sure to label the packaging with the date of when you froze it.
To make a water bath for your cheesecake you’ll need a pan with a circumference larger than the circumference of your springform pan. Bake the springform pan set inside the larger pan and pour boiling water in the larger pan. You’ll need to make sure the base of your springform pan is wrapped with aluminum foil. This will prevent water from seeping into the pan and saturating the graham cracker crust. See the video for more instructions. The water bath will prevent the cheesecake from cooking too quickly. Cheesecake is a type of soufflé, and therefore it must be cooked gently. After cooking it’s best to bring it to room temperature slowly by turning off the oven and cracking the oven door – all while the cheesecake is in the oven.
Graham Cracker Crust
- 18 full graham crackers
- 1/2 cup butter, melted unsalted
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 8 oz blocks cream cheese
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cornstarch
Prepare the springform pan for water bath:
- Wrap the exterior of the base of the springform pan with aluminum foil. The foil should cover the entire base of the pan and go up the sides of the pan a couple of inches.
Preparing the graham cracker crust:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor. Pulverize the crumbs. Add melted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar to the food processor. "Whir" until all are combined and you have a mixture that resembles slightly damp sand.
- Pour all of the graham cracker mixture into the pan and using your hands, press the mixture onto the base of the pan then up the sides of the inside of the pan.
- Bake the crust only at 400° for about 10 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature of the oven to 325°F. In a clean food processor (be sure to clean it after mixing your crumb mixture) add the cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and corn starch all at once. "Whir" until you have a smooth, creamy mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the par-baked crust. Place the large pan (for water bath) in the oven. Boil about a quart of water. Place the springform pan in the larger pan that's already in the oven. Pour boiling hot water in the larger pan, so it surrounds the springform pan. Close the oven door and bake the cheesecake for about 45 minutes.
To prevent cracking:
- To prevent the cheesecake from cracking, after the 45 minute baking time, leave the cheesecake (and water bath) in the oven and turn the oven off. Crack the door of the oven and let the cheesecake come back to room temperature over approximately three hours. Chill immediately after the cheesecake has reached room temperature.
- Keep cheesecake in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week. Serve chilled. You can also freeze the cheesecake for up to three months – just be sure to wrap the cheesecake with two layers of plastic wrap, then two layers of aluminum foil. Defrost at room temperature for about 8 hours before serving.