American pancakes on a plateAmerican pancakes on a plate

The Recipe for an Authentic New York Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake is an iconic pastry of American cuisine. Its popularity has crossed the borders of the city of New York to conquer the palates of people worldwide.

The traditional American recipe for cheesecake mainly consists of cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and a crumbled cracker base. This cheesecake is famous for its creamy texture and unique taste.

The preparation of the authentic cheesecake is rather simple, but respecting cooking and resting times is required to achieve a perfectly fluffy cheesecake without cracks.

Although typically served plain, cheesecake can be topped with a fruit sauce or chocolate sauce for an extra touch of sweetness. Its creamy texture and slightly tangy taste make it a true delight for the taste buds.

American Cheesecake RecipeAmerican Cheesecake Recipe

Where Does Cheesecake Come From?

Cheesecake has its roots in the Jewish community of New York in the early 20th century. This cream cheese cake was popularized by establishments like the famous Lindy's restaurant, which opened its doors in 1921.

Over time, cheesecake became a symbol of the city, alongside the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. The American cheesecake recipe has been perfected over the decades, but it has remained true to its origins.

Today, cheesecake is an essential dessert in American restaurants and bakeries, but not only!

What's the Difference Between No-Bake Cheesecake and American Cheesecake?

The main difference between a no-bake cheesecake and an American cheesecake lies in the preparation method. The no-bake cheesecake, as the name suggests, does not require baking in the oven. It is usually prepared with a crumbled cracker base and a filling made of cream cheese, sugar, and gelatin.

The New York cheesecake, on the other hand, is baked in the oven, giving it a denser and richer texture. Baking also helps develop more complex flavors and gives the cake its characteristic golden color.

no bake Cheesecake no bake Cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients

To prepare this dessert, you will need cream cheese, crumbled crackers for the base, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Some also add cream for an even creamier texture.

The choice of cheese is essential. Most often, cream cheese like Philadelphia is used. However, other types of cheeses can be used. Each type of cheese will bring a different flavor and texture to your dessert.

The cheesecake base is made from crumbled crackers. In the United States, Graham crackers are traditionally used. In France, you can use Petit Beurre, English Digestives, Speculoos, or for a particularly sweet tooth, Oreos.

Here is the list of ingredients:

  • 250 g of crumbled crackers like Graham Crackers
  • 80 g of melted butter
  • 500 g of plain cream cheese like Philadelphia
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Which Cheese Should You Use?

Cream cheese is the key ingredient in making an authentic cheesecake. Philadelphia is the most commonly used due to its availability and the creamy texture it brings to the dessert.

However, other types of fresh cheeses can also work. Mascarpone is an excellent alternative. This Italian cheese brings an even creamier texture and a sweet, slightly sweet flavor to the cheesecake. Ricotta, on the other hand, is a lighter and less fatty cheese than Philadelphia or mascarpone. It offers a firmer texture and a more pronounced taste. Cottage cheese is another interesting option. It is less fatty than other cheeses and offers a light and airy texture to the cheesecake.

 Cheesecake Ingredients Cheesecake Ingredients

Preparing Cheesecake

The first step in preparation is to preheat the oven to 160°C and prepare a springform pan by covering it with parchment paper. The choice of pan is important: to achieve the ideal thickness of the cheesecake, it is recommended to use a 24-centimeter diameter pan.

Once the pan is ready and the oven is preheated, it's time to prepare the ingredients: the cracker base and the cheese filling. Baking the cheesecake is a crucial step in preparation. The cheesecake must be baked in the oven for about one and a half hours. Once baking is complete, it is advisable to let the cheesecake cool in the oven for an hour before placing it in the refrigerator. It is this cooling step that allows the cheesecake to acquire its unique texture.

How to Make the Cracker Base?

The cracker base of the cheesecake is made from crumbled crackers and melted butter. You need 250 grams of crackers for a medium-sized cheesecake. To prepare the cracker base, start by crushing the crackers in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. You should get a fine, sandy texture.

Then melt the butter (80 grams) and mix it with the crumbled crackers. Make sure all the crackers are well coated with butter. Once the mixture is ready, pour it into the prepared pan and press it firmly with the back of a spoon to form a compact base. Place the pan in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes for the base to harden.

Preparing the Cheese Filling

The cheese filling is the element that gives the American cheesecake its creamy texture and unique taste. To prepare it, you need 500 grams of cream cheese, 150 grams of sugar, 3 eggs, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Start by beating the cream cheese until smooth. Then add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the vanilla and mix well. Once the filling is ready, pour it over the cracker base and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Finally, place the cheesecake in the preheated oven and let it bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once baking is complete, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool inside for an hour before placing it in the refrigerator.

American CheesecakeAmerican Cheesecake

Tips and Advice for a Perfect Cheesecake

To succeed in your baking, make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before starting the preparation. The step of mixing the ingredients is important in making this dessert.

It is important not to overbeat the batter, as this can introduce air into the mixture, which can cause cracks in the cheesecake during baking. Mix just enough to achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.

Baking is another critical step. To avoid cracks, bake your cheesecake in a water bath at a constant temperature. This cooking method allows for even heat distribution and helps maintain the necessary moisture. Finally, let your cheesecake cool in the turned-off oven to avoid thermal shocks, which could also cause cracks.

Fixing a Too-Liquid Cheesecake Base

If you find that your cheesecake base is too liquid, don't panic, there are solutions to fix the situation. The first thing to do is to add more crumbled crackers to the base. The crackers will absorb the excess liquid and help thicken the base.

If you have already mixed the base and find it too liquid, you can add gelatin. Dissolve a small amount of gelatin in hot water, then incorporate it into the base. Let the base cool, and the gelatin will help solidify it.

Also, make sure to drain the cream cheese well before using it. Excess water in the cream cheese can make the base too liquid. Finally, let the base cool completely before adding the filling. This will help solidify the base and prevent texture problems.

Finishing and Decorating the Cheesecake

The final presentation of your cheesecake is as important as its taste. The finishing and decoration of the cheesecake can vary according to your preferences, the type of cheesecake you are preparing, and the occasion for which you are serving it.

The decoration of the cheesecake can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. You can choose to garnish it with fresh fruits, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, caramel, chocolate sauce, or even candy.

The important thing is to ensure that the decoration complements the taste of the cheesecake and does not overload it. For a perfect finish, make sure your cheesecake is well chilled before decorating it. This will allow the decoration to stay in place and not mix with the cream cheese.

What's the Best Topping for Cheesecake?

The choice of the best topping for your cheesecake largely depends on your personal taste. However, some toppings are more popular than others. Among the most common are fresh fruits, whipped cream, caramel, and chocolate.

Fresh fruits are a popular choice for topping a cheesecake. Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are particularly appreciated for their sweet taste and beautiful color. Slices of lemon or orange can also add a pleasant acidity. If you use fresh fruits as decoration, add them just before serving the cheesecake so they remain fresh and juicy.

Whipped cream is another popular topping for cheesecakes. It brings lightness and sweetness that perfectly complement the richness of the cream cheese.

Caramel and chocolate, on the other hand, add a sweet and indulgent flavor that will delight sweet lovers.

Lemon CheesecakeLemon Cheesecake

Storing your Cheesecake

As a general rule, cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. However, to maintain the freshness and taste of this dessert, it is recommended to consume it within 48 hours of preparation.

It is essential to store the cheesecake in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing smells from other foods in the refrigerator. Additionally, it is best to keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator, usually the upper part. If you notice that the cheesecake has started to develop an unpleasant smell or its color has changed, it is best to discard it.

Finally, it is important to note that cheesecake should never be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Bacteria can quickly develop at this temperature, making the cheesecake unfit for consumption.

Can You Freeze Cheesecake?

Cheesecake freezes very well, allowing you to prepare it in advance and store it for a long time.

To freeze a cheesecake, you must first let it cool completely after baking. Then carefully wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag. It is recommended to consume the frozen cheesecake within 2 to 3 months to ensure its quality.

To thaw the cheesecake, simply place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving. It is important to note that the texture of the cheesecake may change slightly after freezing. However, this generally does not affect the taste of the cheesecake.

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