Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sour Cream Cheesecake

If you're a regular reader then you know I have a severe and almost crippling fondness for baking cheesecakes. If I'm making something for a special occasion, in all likelihood I'm going to end up making some sort of cheesecake. For the Superbowl, it was a key lime cheesecake. For @EmilysPearl's housewarming party, a red velvet. For Easter last year, I made my first ricotta cheesecake, and with an invitation to another big family Easter dinner this year, I was on deck for a cheesecake once again.

For all the cheesecakes I've made, be they pumpkin or pumpkin chocolate, I've never made a classic cheesecake without any kind of nonsense going on. That struck me as a pretty incomplete way to go through a cheesecake-loving life, so this year for Easter I decided to rectify that in the most forceful way I know how: make Alton Brown's recipe.

Now, I'm an Alton Brown fan. My fried chicken recipe is based partly on his, and that particular episode of Good Eats was what inspired me to make it in the first place. For my birthday this year my good friend Kate bestowed upon me Alton's book, Good Eats: The Early Years, and I've been remiss for not making something from it well before now. Thankfully, he's got a recipe for a Sour Cream Cheesecake that fit the bill perfectly. Here it is:

Sour Cream Cheesecake
Adapted from Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Early Years


33 graham cracker squares, crumbled
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus additional, for brushing the pan
1 tablespoon sugar


20 ounces cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 yolks
1/3 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Brush some of the melted butter around a 9 by 3-inch cake pan. Adhere parchment to the bottom. Place a casserole dish filled with water on the lower rack of the oven.

In a small bowl, combine crumbled graham crackers, the remaining melted butter, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Place remaining crumbs on a sheet pan and bake both the crust and the remaining mixture for 10 minutes. Cool. Reserve additional crumb mixture for sides.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat sour cream for 10 seconds. Add the cream cheese and sugar and mix on low for 30 seconds and then turn up to medium. Scrape the bowl.

In a separate container, combine vanilla, eggs, yolks, and heavy cream. With the mixer on medium, slowly pour the liquid mixture in. When half of it is incorporated, stop and scrape. Continue adding the mixture until the rest of the ingredients are incorporated.

Once completely combined, pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for an hour with a casserole dish filled with water placed on the bottom rack. Turn the oven off and open the door for one minute. Close the door for one more hour. Remove the cheesecake and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.

When ready to serve, slide a knife carefully around the sides of the pan to separate the cheesecake. Remove the sides of the pan, then slide the parchment and cheesecake off the bottom on to a cutting board to slice.

To slice, place your knife into a hot water bath and wipe dry each time you make a pass through the cake.

This was an almost perfect cheesecake, and was the prettiest and tastiest I've ever made.

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