Making home made cheese cake isn’t easy, but if you like cheese cake then you definitely have to try this recipe. Normally when I make a dish I like to make it my own or at least add a twist to an existing recipe so I can call it my own but for this cheese cake I have to give credit where credit is due, this recipe and cooking instructions I took from Alton Brown’s Good Eats.
What you need to make the best cheese cake ever are:
- 30 graham cracker squares (crumbled up)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 20 ounces of cream cheese
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
Step 1 is making the crust, melt 1 stick of unsalted butter and add in your crumbled gram crackers and sugar. Stir well so the gram crackers soak up all the butter. Once all the butter is soaked up turn off the heat and let the crackers cool down. Step 2 is to oil up the baking dish then cut out some parchment paper and line the bottom and the walls of the baking dish. Pour in 2/3 of the crumbled crackers and pack it down to form the bottom crust. I use my meat mallet since it is perfect for packing down the crust, but if you don’t have a meat mallet you can use a clean can or even the bottom of a measuring cup. Let the crust cool down while you work on the filling. In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, add in your cream cheese and mix on low for about 10 seconds.
Stop the mixer and using a spatula, wipe the sides of the bowl so all the cream cheese is at the bottom of the bowl. You need to keep wiping the sides in between each step so the cream cheese doesn’t clump up on the wall. Add in the sour cream and sugar then mix on low for another 30 seconds. During that time add all of the liquids into a separate bowl (eggs, yolks, heavy cream and vanilla extract) and mix it up with a whisk (or fork). Stop the mixer to wipe the sides of the bowl again, then start the mixer back up to a medium speed. Slowly pour in the liquid mixture, make sure to go slow enough so the liquid mixture blends in with the cream cheese to create a smooth mixture. If you pour in the liquid too fast it will create a pool of liquid and the cream cheese will not blend well, so take your time. Keep mixing until the filling is smooth, it shouldn’t take very long. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust, then place the baking dish into a roasting pan lined with a towel. Fill the roasting pan with hot water, enough to go half way up the wall of the cheese cake baking dish. Carefully place the roasting pan into the preheated oven, then drop the temperature to 250 degrees F. Cook for 1 hour then open the oven door for one minute and turn off the oven. Close the oven door and let the cheese cake continue to cook within the turned-off oven for another hour. After the second hour take out the cheese cake and let it rest on a cooling rack until it gets to room temperature, from there place it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hrs, I recommend to leave it overnight.
Now the only hard part of making a cheese cake is removing it from the baking pan. Plug your sink and fill it with hot water so there is about 2 inches of hot water. Place the cheese cake baking dish in the hot water for 10 seconds to help the cheese cake separate from the baking dish. Take a paring knife and carefully separate the cheese cake from the parchment paper on the edges using a downward facing sawing motion. Once you’ve removed the parchment paper you need to find a large plate or a light cutting board that you can use to catch the cheese cake. What you need to do is line the plate (or cutting board) with a new sheet of parchment paper then place it on top of the baking dish so the parchment paper is right on top of the cheese cake. Carefully put pressure on the plate and the baking dish (top and bottom) and carefully invert the baking dish so the cheese cake lands upside down onto the parchment paper on the plate. Carefully remove the baking dish, at this point the cheese cake will be upside down. Now find another plate and place it on top of the cheese cake bottom then invert again to get the cheese cake to stand up right…. this is the hardest part of making cheese cake! You can either enjoy it as is or if you want to finish it off then take the remaining 1/3 crumbled gram crackers and create the side crust. I use a large cutting board and I just lay a pile of crust and push it against the side of the cheese cake, then I keep rotating the cake and repeating the process till the crust is finished. I like to make my cheese cake a bit thin because if it is too thick it is a bit on a heavy side when eaten. That is why in the picture above you can see that with this recipe I actually make two cheese cakes, one full sized one and a small one. Either way the recipe is the same, so enjoy and good luck!