My dad is never a fan of sweets like cakes, but if it is cheesecake, then it is a different story. According to him, cakes are overly sweet for his taste, and so he loves the classic cheesecake without the extra toppings. He loves it plain and simple. And so over the years, I tried to perfect my recipe for a classic cheesecake because it is something that is really close to my heart which makes everyday a Father’s day every time I make it for him.
The classic cheesecake always embeds one place, New York. And though the New York Style Cheesecake is known to almost everyone, this rich dessert is actually from Greece dating back 4000years ago. The cheesecake was love by the greeks as it is considered as a good source of energy. The 4000-years-old recipe is very simple and straightforward, made with pounded cheese, honey and wheat flour that is mixed, heated and cooled.
This recipe that’s been used for more than 2000 years by the beautiful and often served on special occasions like weddings, was changed and developed after the Romans conquered Greece. The Romans added their own twist to the traditional dessert and brought the recipe to the Europeans and they owned the cheesecake and made their own recipes inspired by the original recipe.
The cheesecake that we are familiar today is greatly influenced by the Americans by using cream cheese as the main ingredient of the dish. The classic New York style cheesecake is the plain one without fruits, compote or any extra toppings like chocolate or caramel which happens to be the cheesecake that my dad loves. And so in this post, I will share with you a recipe for a classic cheesecake that you will surely love as well.
Classic Cheesecake Recipe
- Makes about 10-12 servings
- 9 oz (250 g) digestive biscuits or graham crackers
- 6 tbsp (80 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 50 g or sliced almonds
Cream Cheese Filling:
- 2 pounds or 4 packs of 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
In making the cheesecake, I always believe that both the crust and the filling should be made at its best. Others tend to focus on the crust alone or only the filling, but trust me, the two is a team, and they should work well together.
To make the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 375F. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers or digestive biscuits until crumbs form. This will only take a couple of seconds. Set this aside and process the almonds until it turns into a fine crumb texture. Mix this with the biscuits and the melted butter.
- Once fully incorporated, get your spring form pan and press this crust mixture in the bottom. I personally bring up some to the sides to create that crust-on-the-sides look which makes it beautiful and adds more crust on the cheesecake. You can skip this step and just stick with putting the crust at the bottom. You would want to bake this crust in a preheated 375F oven for 13-15 minutes until it firms up. Set aside this and let it cool completely.
To make the filling:
- Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat the room temperature cream cheese until it is softened. Add your sugar until fully combined. Add your cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest and the vanilla to the mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is well mixed. The lemon juice, zest, and vanilla will give your cheesecake the perfect contrast and balance of flavors.
- Get your eggs and crack them in a bowl. I learned this that you should always make sure you crack those eggs in a bowl to check if it is still good and fresh, rather than cracking it straight to your mixture with a chance of ruining your filling mixture. One by one beat the eggs in the mixture. Finally, add your sour cream in and beat until mixed.
- Pour the mixture into the springform pan and carefully smooth the top. Tap the pan a few times to let the air bubbles escape.
- Prepare a water bath for your cheesecake by getting warm water and putting it in a roasting pan larger than your springform pan. To ensure you avoid the water from leaking through your cheesecake, you can wrap the bottom of the springform pan with aluminum foil or place it in a large cake pan. Pour the hot water into the large roasting pan up until it reaches half of the outside cake pan. Place the cheesecake pan inside the cake pan.
- Place your cheesecake water bath in the oven and let it bake for 1 hour in your preheated oven.
- Release the heat by opening the oven and let the cheesecake cool inside the oven for another hour or so.
- Remove the cheesecake from the pan by gently running a knife on the sides. Release the spring and take out the cheesecake carefully. Let it cool to room temperature then let it set in the fridge for 4 hours to overnight.
- Serve with tea/coffee as snack or as dessert and enjoy!
This recipe and procedure is always fool proof and makes the best cheesecakes which my dad adore so much. You can totally tweak this by putting additional ingredients like coffee or chocolate to your filling or as marbling. You can also make a simple compote with blueberry, raspberry or any fruit that you like and top your cheesecake with that. Cheesecakes are really very versatile and you can add a lot of different flavors that suits your taste.
So there you go, my favorite cheesecake recipe for my dad and also for everyone! Recreate it and add your own twists or just have it plain and simple. Prepare yourself a best toaster oven to make many delicious cakes with us. Just don’t forget to make the additional steps stated above. It may sound like a lot of extra work but I promise you it is worth it. You will have a cheesecake with a better flavor and consistency. I hope that you enjoyed this post, learning a bit about cheesecakes, its humble beginnings to the recipe. Until next,