Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Creamiest, Dreamiest Classic Cheesecake


When you’ve been away from one of your happy places, even for great reasons like celebrating family milestones and traveling, such as my recent hiatuses away from home two weekends in a row, it feels oh so good when you’re back—in full force.

I speak of me and my kitchen.  Specifically, creating beautiful, scrumptious food in my kitchen.

So taking several hours last Sunday to indulge in baking was a welcomed return.  The recipe of choice was a dreamy cheesecake recipe by Dorie Greenspan, that I happened upon in the New York Times Cooking archives, during my search for inspiration.  And not only did I thrill and delight myself with the finished masterpiece—I finally checked baking a cheesecake off of my epicurean ‘to do’ list.

Can you believe it?! I’d never made a cheesecake before then.  

I grew up eating my mom’s beloved cheesecake pie (a lighter version of full-on cheesecake) and have otherwise eaten my fair share of cheesecakes over the years.  But baking one myself?  Not until last Sunday.  And I’m so glad I did.  In fact, I’m already dreaming up other flavor variations and nuances for future baking escapades.  

Nothing was spared with this all-in, high crust (humble brag), cream cheese x heavy cream, delicacy.  (I opted for all heavy cream for my first go ‘round, but sour cream and heavy cream, or all sour cream, can also work beautifully, I’m sure.)  Still, my instincts were spot on for me and the creamy, cheese-cakey bite after bite I was seeking.

For a final finish, a.k.a garnish, I decided to add some macerated summer berries for a bit of color and extra goodness. (Totally optional, however, because this baby stands very well on her lonesome.)

I have to admit that I was so proud of my labor of love when I finally went in for the ‘unfolding’ from the springform pan and to take my first bite.  Did I mention, you’ve got to be ready to commit, because it’s a 7.5 hour endeavor—at minimum (chill down time, included.)  Mine was longer because I took the overnight chill down route. But It. Was. Worth. It.  The technique is evident as you go through the recipe—but when you’re in pursuit of unforgettable, too good to be true, results, don’t sweat the technique. ;)

I invite you to make it for yourself, family, friends, enemies that you want to convert to friends, lol!, and anyone else you want to delight (or impress) and spread the joy of baking that’s guaranteed to indulge…

Happy Eating!

Classic Cheesecake



1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted


2 lbs. cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/3 cups heavy cream


  1. To make the crust: Butter a 9-inch springform pan — choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter left over) — and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.
  2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (You can do this with your fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway point on the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while you heat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)
  3. Center a rack in the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. To make the cheesecake: Put a kettle of water on to boil.
  6. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and creamy, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs, one by one, beating for 1 full minute after each addition — you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
  7. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it.
  8. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the rim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  9. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
  10. After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster — be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil — and remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
  11. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, although overnight is better.
  12. {Baker's Tips}:
  13. At serving time, remove the sides of the springform pan — you can use a hairdryer to do this — and set the cake on a serving platter.
  • Serving: The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.
  • Storing: Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It’s best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe courtesy of NYT Cooking 


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