Potlucks are my favorite, and whenever we have them at the office, I typically jump at the opportunity to bring in a tasty dessert! This week we’ll be having a huge Thanksgiving potluck which I’m super excited about – nothing is better than a Thanksgiving meal, and the more you have them, the better!
This is the perfect time of year for Cheesecake as the temps cool outside and we begin to cozy up inside. I knew instantly that I’d be making a phone call to Mom to snag her perfect New York Style Cheesecake recipe, especially since I’ve never made one for myself before. I remember when I was little, my parents friends and co-workers loved my Mom’s cheesecake so much, that it created quite a demand for her during the Holidays and she would make several. When I spoke to my mom this morning, she rattled the recipe right off the top of her head from memory like a pro.
My conscious, positive intention for baking this Cheesecake is to share the love and Holiday spirit that my mom put into her Holiday Cheesecakes, by making my own to share with my work family. I hope it reminds them of a happy memory and brings them the same spirit and warmth that it brings me! I’ll be adding my own little twist to this Cheesecake, so read on to find out what it is :)…
- 10 cinnamon graham crackers, broken into smaller pieces
- Pinch of coarse, Himalayan sea-salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 tbs melted unsalted butter
- 5, 8oz packages of cream cheese
- 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature (4 oz)
- 8oz of sour cream at room temperature
- 1 3/4 sugar
- 5 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbs of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp of vanilla paste (which btw is SO much better than extract – it packs tons of flavor with beautiful vanilla specs)
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13inch springform pan. Cut 2 long pieces of parchment paper and place them in your springform pan in the shape of a + sign (this helps to easily remove it from your pan later).
- Pulse graham crackers with salt and sugar to small crumbs within a food processor. Add the butter until fully incorporated. Pour mixture into springform pan and evenly press the mixture until it’s firm (I use the bottom of my measuring cups to help create a firm bottom). Bake for 15 minutes, crust should be golden brown. Then remove and set aside on a wire rack to cool while you mix the filling.
- Using a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment if you have it, beat your cream cheese. After a few minutes, add your butter, sour cream and sugar until it’s smooth and light. I put my mixer on low-medium and let it go for 5 minutes or so to achieve this texture. Then add your eggs, 1 at a time. Once fully incorporated, add your lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla paste. Look how beautiful these vanilla specs are!
- We’ll be using a waterbath to bake this (which Mom traditionally doesn’t do), so we’re going to prep our pan next. Make another + sign with foil, then place your springform pan with the cooled crust on top of the foil in the middle. Then wrap the foil around the pan tightly. Pour your filling into the pan, then place the springform pan onto a roasting pan. Place the roasting pan containing the springform pan into the oven, then add your water. Pour the water into the roasting pan until it comes nearly half way up the springform pan.
- Bake for 1 – 1 hour & 15 minutes (I needed 1 hour & 15 minutes to ensure my sides were stable with a slightly jiggly center and golden brown top). Lift the cheesecake right out of the roasting pan and set onto a wire rack. After 15 minutes, remove the foil and place the cheesecake back on the wire rack to finish cooling for 1 hour. Then cover & place in the refrigerator for 8+ hours before serving.
- Before serving, release the springform pan and remove the parchment paper.
Now for our twist – a warm, bright, berry compote topping to finish off our New York Style Cheesecake. For berry compotes, you can use any berries you’d like – this is the perfect season for cranberries if you like them. For mine, I’ll be using blackberries and strawberries.
What you’ll need:
- 3 tbs unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups of your mixed berries such as cranberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries
To make your compote:
- Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
- Stir in brown sugar and lemon juice until sugar dissolves.
- Add your berries to cook, occasionally stirring.
- In 2-3 minutes, berries should be warm and the juices should release – then you’re all set!
- Serve over your cooled Cheesecake while warm or at room temperature.