Cheesecake (from Sardi's not nekkid pictures)
One of her most recent projects is to make cream cheese. She said it worked out great. I remembered that on one of my New York incursions I hit the maitre-d at Sardi's up for their cheesecake recipe. While it is one of the finest examples of cheesecake I've ever experienced it is not, by itself, worth putting up with New York or New Yorkers to obtain.
Luckily Sardi's has a give it out policy with their recipe. It's like music on the intenet now anyway, if you don't give it away it will just be stolen.
So, without further ado:
BASIC NEW YORK STYLE CHEESECAKE
15 graham crackers, crushed fine
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
16 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups baker's sugar
3/4 cup milk (use whole milk here, reduced fats will reduce texture)
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Heat oven to 350°. Butter the bottom and sides of a springform pan generously. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and butter together and press evenly into the bottom of the springform pan.
With your stand mixer (a hand mixer might work, but it also might simply give up and start to smoke on you) cream together the cream cheese and sugar until evenly mixed and fluffy. With the mixer on "stir" add in the milk, and then the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each egg is incorporated. Add in the sour cream, cake flour, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Pour into the springform pan and sprinkle the top with the lemon zest.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and cool the cake with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours. This will keep the top of your cake from cracking. (although, if you're a barbarian like me and enjoy your cheesecake slathered with things like citrus curds or marmalades a crack here and there won't matter at all).
Once the cake is cooled to room temperature, store covered in the refrigerator. Hint: You can find cheesecake containers at Smart & Final or any other respectable restaurant supply.
Variations: Top your cooled cheesecake with glazed strawberries, home canned peaches or any other flavoring that pleases you. Do decorative pipings with whipped cream if you so desire. You have my express permission to slap the shit out of any "purist" who tells you that is not how things are done in New York. If they are from New York, slap them before they even begin talking, just so they know who they're dealing with. Trust me, New Yorkers respond well to sudden, unprovoked violence. It reminds them of home.
For a nice chocolate flavor, put chocolate shavings over the top of the cake when you turn the oven off. Let them melt into and on top of the cheesecake as it cools.
Shimoda's Dream has posted her results. With pictures. I love me some food porn.