Monday, April 25, 2011

Stop 11: New York Style Cheesecake

As promised, I made the NY cheesecake during Passover.  I figured that since the only thing I would need to change was the graham crackers for the crust, and cookies is one thing that Passover does OK, as long as you're down with macaroons, I could make it work.

I have to admit that while the flavor of this cheesecake was outstanding, the consistency was a bit of a failure.  I can also admit that that is the case because I had some trouble following directions (old Sarah is raring her obstinant head).  The main issue was that I had not read the recipe in advance and did not realize that Brown allots a full eight hours of cooling/chilling time beyond the two hours of baking/resting time.  I was making the cake for a party my mother was having (better her friends eat the full fat than I), and started too late.

The recipe itself was a pretty straightforward cheesecake.  Cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, cookie crust...  I have made two cheesecake before this one and they both have come out just fine with a normal amount of time to sit and hang out in the oven and then chill in the fridge.  For this one, Brown wanted it to bake for one hour, sit in the oven with the door open for another hour, then sit on the counter for four hours and then sit in the fridge for at least four more hours.  The cake was going to take ten hours to bake and the party was about seven hours away.

I figured I would give up and just make something else for the party (not so much an easy feat on Passover), but after about an hour of sitting out in part three, it felt pretty cool to me, so I popped it in the fridge.  I left at that point, but I told my mom to serve it if she thought it seemed to be set.  She said she left it in for another 2-2 1/2 hours and that it seemed fine, but in honestly, it was pretty soupy in the middle.  In the end, I don't think it was the lack of chilling that made it not set up properly, I think it probably didn't actually bake long enough since it was still pretty darn jiggly after the hour with the oven on.  I was in such a rush that I didn't feel like giving it any more time though, and so I ended up suffering in the end.

As I mentioned above, the consistency was a bit of a fail, but the flavor was quite successful.  The recipe called for the seeds of a vanilla bean (which I happened to have a jar of in my cupboard) and lemon zest.  The combination was quite nice, and this from a girl who doesn't like lemon!  Everyone at the party (and at work today) complimented the flavor.

Like the angel food cake, I will not be recreating this one.  I think when it comes time to make a cheesecake again, I'll likely turn to the one I made for my brother's birthday last fall.  It came out well and was much less time consuming.

I don't have great pictures, sorry...

Here is the cake before being baked.

And the kosher-for-Passover cookies I used in lieu of grahams.  They tasted pretty much like sugar...
Oh, here's a fun fact from the cookbook: Did you know that the Graham Cracker was invented in 1829 by Sylvester Graham, a dietary reformer who believed that a high-fiber diet would curb sexual desire?  Explains why there were never any romantic dramas at that kindergarten I used to work at.  I wonder if we can reinstate snack time in middle school...

Next Stop: Vermont Maple Creme Brulee


  1. Ha! Your graham cracker fact made me laugh A LOT.

  2. Northampton features an excellent brunch place named after Sylvester Graham, build around his old home there...