Your Mission…Should You Choose to Accept

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Remember the mission to find the perfect yellow cake? It was accomplished. And I was bored-dabbling in this cupcake or that apple pie…I needed another goal. Something to rekindle my drive to research, experiment and perfect. I needed a muse.

And it came…in a dream.

I lied.

My boyfriend mentioned off-hand how his sister made the “most delicious” cheesecake.

Hmm. Cheesecake. I had never thought to pursue the art of cheesecakery. One, I’ve never been a big fan. I’m already a nibbler. A bite of this, a bite of that. It takes me a week to polish off a piece of cake. But cheesecake is just so dense that I have to take bites of a bite. A slice of cheesecake would spoil before I finished it; unless I used it for other things-like bagel shmear or strawberry stuffing.

But cheesecake as a new project was tempting. There are several methods to prepare cheesecake, which was intriguing.  Everyone seems to have their favorite, and takes pride in the mastery of their particular style. And of course, used within each technique are varying ingredients. As per styles, there’s the pillowy cheesecake, the brick cheesecake, the no-bake cheesecake, cheesecake bars, Italian cheese torta, and of course, the very American “New York” cheesecake.

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Probably the most “pure” cheesecake style is the brick cheesecake (*note, that’s just my name for it. Although it’d be interesting to see the Google search results for such a descriptor for dessert) This is because the recipe involves only cream cheese, eggs, sugar and flavoring.  And because a lot of people think this is “New York” style. It is not.

The most famous and sought-after cheesecake style is the New York style…which involves more than just cream cheese, eggs and sugar. This is the ultimate balance of decadence and delicacy. Certainly rich enough to nibble bites of a bite, but with enough tenderness that you’re not chewing your cheesecake. Oh no. It just meeeelts on the tongue.

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And from what better source to snag the recipe than the very course of the “New York” cheesecake itself: Junior’s. The recipe became widely available once the company published its cookbook. Is it exactly the same as those they mass produce and sell in their restaurant? Probably not—but I’ll bet it’s damn close.

For this cake, I didn’t add any flavors. Not even vanilla. In the first steps of this mission, my objective was texture. And I have to say: nailed it.

Ingredients

2 packages Cream cheese (full fat, guys. Don’t make a mistake you’ll regret)at room temperature

2 eggs, at room temperature

½ cup + 1/3 cup Sugar

¼ cup Heavy cream, at room temperature (you seeing a trend?)

2 tablespoons Corn starch

Crust

1 cup Graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup Butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a bain-marie
  • Line the bottom and sides of a 7” spring-form pan and spray the inside with non-stick spray
  • Combine the crumbs and butter until the crumbs are evenly coated, then press into the bottom of the spring-form pan
  • Beat one package of cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar and the cornstarch until creamy

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  • Add the other package and remaining sugar and beat until fully incorporated

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  • Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until creamy and fully incorporated

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  • Add the heavy cream and fold in until fully combined
  • Transfer batter to the crusted pan, set in you bain-marie and bake for 55 minutes.

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  • Turn off the oven and crack the door—allow cheesecake to sit in the oven for 5 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and bain-marie , and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour

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  • Chill for 8 hours.
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