10 September 2014


Finding the perfect cheesecake recipe has been elusive for me.  I like Alton Brown's version in "I'm Just Here for More Food", but I usually crave something more rich and dense when I think of cheesecake.  His version almost has more of a soft custard quality.  But, I love the crust and I love his technique.  It never fails.
So, looking for the rich, dense, style cheesecake, I came across a recipe that seemed to fit the bill on allrecipes.com.  I made this cheesecake a few times, and while it was always good, it usually cracked on top and the sides browned and rose up over a sunken middle.  The crust left something to be desired, too.  The filling had good flavor and texture, so it had potential.
I decided to combine the things I liked best about both recipes to create my own version.  The crust and technique from AB's cheesecake combined with the filling recipe from the allrecipes.com cheesecake.  To my delight, this resulted in the best cheesecake I have ever made.
The filling set up beautifully.  It was smooth yet dense and not grainy at all with a nice rich flavor.  The crust had so much flavor, too, with just the right texture and a nice subtle crunch.  It is a beautiful cheesecake to look at, with no cracks along the top and a nice shiny flat surface.  It was also nice to not need to cover cracks with whipped cream and leave it optional.  Though is it ever really?  I think I may have cracked the code to my perfect cheesecake!
25 graham cracker squares
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and grease a 9 inch spring form pan.  Put a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crackers, melted butter, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and pulse until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes, then cool.
Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F and place a pan of water on the middle rack large enough to hold the spring form pan.
In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar and on low for 30 seconds and then turn it up to medium. Scrape the bowl two times during this process to make sure the sugar and cream cheese are fully integrated. 
In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, flour, eggs, milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the liquid mixture in. When half of it is incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Continue adding the mixture until all the ingredients are incorporated. Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust.
Place cheesecake into the preheated water bath and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Then, turn the oven off and do not open the oven door for two more hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving. 

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