NYC is one of my favorite cities. EVER. I love everything about that place. I was lucky enough to have friends who lived in and around the city, so I got visit quite often. Each time I went, I would be in search of the ‘best of…’ something. One year, for a NYE visit, it was the best whiskey sour. Don’t know, don’t ask. I was younger then. Another trip was the best pizza. And another it was the best cheesecake. You get the drift.
I love cheesecake. Not the fancified, flavorfied kind. Just the basic NY cheesecake with either cherries or strawberries on top. I don’t remember where I had the best cheesecake on that particular trip. Probably because the memory was banished with all the brain cells I killed with alcohol that weekend. Nonetheless, cheesecake continues to be one of my guilty pleasures.
Years ago I realized that Cheesecake Factory cheesecake met my needs. I like their cheesecake. It is dense but not too heavy, sweet without being overpowering. I don’t always want to get dressed for cheesecake, though. And the only CF location here in Houston is ensconced in the Galleria mall, a destination omitted from my ‘must go’ list.
Here’s a recipe I’ve made over and over, I got it from one of the morning shows years ago. It is super easy and even more delicious. If you love cheesecake, you’re gonna love this one.
As Good As Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake
For the crust:
3 cps cookie crumbs (whichever ones you like)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cp (1 stick) softened butter
Preheat oven to 475°. You will need a 9-inch spring form pan and another pan large enough for the springform pan to fit inside to use as a water bath. Fill the large pan with about ½-inch of water, and place it in the oven while it preheats.
Line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment or wax paper and wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom (outside of the pan) This will keep any water from seeping through while the cheesecake is in the oven.
Combine the cookie crumbs and cinnamon in a medium bowl, before working in the softened butter.Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and sides of the springform pan. You can use something flat, like bottom of a glass to press it evenly. Place the crust in the freezer until the filling is done.
For the filling:
4 8-oz pkgs. cream cheese
1-¼ cps granulated sugar
½ cp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Use a mixer or food processor to combine the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to blend until these ingredients are smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure they are well mixed into the batter before adding another. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
Place the cheesecake in the water bath, be careful not to burn yourself, but also not make sure you don’t splash water onto the cheesecake. Bake at 475° for 1o minutes before lowering the temperature to 350°. Continue to bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and water bath and allow it to cool for about an hour.
Cover and chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Serve with your favorite fruit topping or just whipped cream. Strawberries are in season, so I made a bit of coulis and spread it over the top of the chilled cheesecake before covering with sliced berries. This recipe is enough for 12 generous servings.