I’ve been wanting to revisit this recipe for a while now and I think today is the day! I’m a little strange, I think, because I don’t really like cheesecake the way I should. TYPICAL cheesecake, that is. I want my cheesecake to have LOADS of flavor and to be fluffy and light. The New York Cheesecake is the ONLY way to go, in my humble opinion. This is my single most FAVORITE recipe. Tried and true. PLEASE read the notes. It’s really not a hard recipe but the desired result won’t be the same if you don’t follow the directions.
New York Style Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (one pint) sour cream, room temperature
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 vanilla bean pods (*split them open with a sharp knife and scrape the inside where the beans are, set aside)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (*Fresh is best)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Generously butter the inside of a 10-inch spring form pan. Wrap a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil tightly around the outside bottom and sides, crimping and pleating the foil to make it conform to the pan. This will help to prevent water seeping into the pan when you put it into the bain-marie (hot water bath). Position the baking rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 300* Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sour cream until well blended.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese with the butter until smooth and creamy. Add this to the egg-sour cream mixture and beat until smooth.
Add the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, the scraping of vanilla bean pods, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat thoroughly, about 2 minutes.
Pour into the prepared spring form pan and place in a roasting pan (or other pan) large enough to prevent the sides from touching. Place in the oven and carefully pour in enough very hot tap water to reach halfway up the sides of the spring form pan.
Bake for 2 hours, 15 minutes, or until the cake is very lightly colored and a knife inserted in the center emerges clean. Remove from the water bath and carefully peel the aluminum foil from around the pan. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool, about 4 hours. Refrigerate, covered, until well chilled. For best flavor and texture, this cheesecake is best chilled overnight.
**My Notes: I can’t stress enough how important it is to let those first 4 ingredients in this recipe come to room temperature. I’ve hurried the cream cheese and have had unsightly lumps of it in my batter.
**I’ve italicized the mixing instructions to emphasize blending the ingredients to achieve the desired texture.
** Don’t burn yourself when taking the cheesecake out of the hot water bath. I’ve done this before and it’s not fun! Be sure to have a platter ready to remove the cheese cake from the hot water.
** Enjoy the yumminess!