Thursday, October 21, 2010

New York Style "Sunshine" Cheesecake - Crack isn't Necessarily Whack

This is my favorite recipe for New York style cheesecake, and includes a great technique for letting the citrus-kissed cake finish in the oven, so that no crack forms when cool. As you'll hear and see in the video, this isn't always the case.

It's ironic that the largest, deepest, most jagged cheesecake crack I've ever experienced would occur on the o
ne I'm filming for a video recipe. I've seen this method used to produce completely crack-free cheesecakes, but I was opening the oven to take photos, and ended up adding more time at the end to compensate, and apparently, from the look of the grand canyon-sized crack, it was a bit too long.According to my sources deep inside the cheesecake underground, if for whatever reason, the internal temperature goes above 160 degrees F. the cake will crack when cooling. The good news is the taste and texture was absolutely perfect. The moral of the story? Don't be afraid to make cheesecake!Cheesecake purists believe "crack is whack," but truth be told, slightly overcooking this recipe is not a big problem, and the crevice causes no issues when you serve it (as you'll see with some state-of-the-art Photoshop effects).

Crack or no crack, this is a classic, dense, rich New York style cheesecake with just a hint of citrus, hence the "sunshine" in the title. I paired it with a lovely fresh strawberry sauce, which had a little dash of balsamic vinegar in it. I also filmed that, and will air it soon. With the holiday entertaining season rapidly approaching, keep this super easy cheesecake recipe in mind. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Chantals New York Cheesecake on
Crust Ingredients:
18 graham crackers
3 tablespoons melted butter
Filling Ingredients:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup milk
4 eggs
1 or 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 or 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

View the complete recipe


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Cheryl said...

this cheesecake was so delicious! Baking in a water bath always gives the best results! May I recommend replacing the tin foil with the Easy Bath Cheesecake Wrap, it's a silicone wrap that fits around the pan to prevent water leaking in, and helps prevent cracks, plus you are not wasting tin foil anymore because it is reusable! I look forward to baking more of your recipes!

Julie said...

Hi Chef John,

I was wondering what you would change to make this a chocolate cheesecake recipe?Would you have to change much? Or just add some melted chocolate?


- Julie

P.S. you are my most favorite chef ever! All of your recipes taste amazing, and you make everything sound "so simple".

SteveBass said...

Hi John,

I think I found the cure for the dreaded crack! Cut the cheese block into 1-2 inch slices and lay them on a plate to rest until they reach room temperature (a couple of hours). Preheat the oven first, then move forward with preparing the cake mixture. Don't use oil, but butter to coat the bottom and the sides of the spring form pan. Each time I have done this, Voila! No crack!!

Does that sound about right to you or is it still pure darn good luck??

Many Thanks,

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