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How-To: Cheesecake

Everyday Food, April 2009

Dessert cravings are a very personal thing. Some people always pick chocolate, while others look for sweets with fruit. And then there are those who long for something smooth and creamy, like cheesecake. But this treat has to be made well to be worthy of obsession. 

This New York-Style Classic Cheesecake has a crumbly graham cracker crust and a silky filling that includes cream cheese, sour cream, and just a touch of lemon.

Sarah's Cheesecake Tips
It's All in the Mix
For a smooth texture, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator at least 1 1/2 hours ahead, and take your time when beating the filling. Use medium speed to avoid beating in too much air, which will create surface bubbles.

Take a Bath
Because the custard filling is delicate and can crack if overcooked, bake the cake in a water bath-this protects it from the direct heat of the oven.

Chilling Out
To avoid condensation on the surface of the cheesecake, let it cool completely, then cover the pan (not the cake) with a paper towel and an inverted plate. The paper will absorb any moisture that forms as the cheesecake chills.

Serve with Style
For a quick topping, mix raspberries with sugar, and let sit until juicy. To slice the cake neatly, dip a knife in hot water and wipe dry before cutting.

Cheesecake Troubleshooting
If the cheesecakes top is cracked and golden, it was overbaked or the oven was too hot. 

If there are clumps on the surface, the filling wasn't mixed enough or the cream cheese was too cold to blend well.

Text and recipe by Sarah Carey, co-host, "Everyday Food"

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