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Classic Cheesecake

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Serves 10 to 12

Yields 1 9-inch cheesecake

  • by Abigail Johnson Dodge from Fine Cooking
    Issue 104

This basic cheesecake recipe has a light but creamy filling and a tender crust. You can use it as a template for all sorts of variations; to start building your own customized cheesecake recipe with the Recipe Maker.

  • 8 oz. graham crackers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap or a flat-bottom measuring cup). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the vanilla and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don't overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month. (To freeze, put the unmolded, cooled cake on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm; then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.)

Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate.
To serve, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 520; Fat (g): 36; Fat Calories (kcal): 320; Saturated Fat (g): 20; Protein (g): 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 43; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 390; Cholesterol (mg): 170; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This recipe is sooo good! I cook it as instructed for 55 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave it in for an additional 10 minutes. Then I crack the oven door and leave it in there until it gets to room temperature. I've found that it sinks in the middle if I take it directly out of the oven when it's done.

Cheesecake turned out great, but cracked a bit on the top.

Love this recipe. So easy and the end result is delish. I recently adapted it for individual servings with a cheesecake pan so that I could offer it to guests as part of a dessert trio. Very impressive - check out the pics here http://gustatorydelight.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/couples-wine-night-the-grand-finale/

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