Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Junior's New York Cheesecake

I have gone on several vacations this summer, and as much fun as all those vacations have been, I am still obsessed with New York. Every chance I get I have been researching and testing recipes to bring some of New York to me.
I started with a New York Cheesecake from Junior's. When we walked by Junior's after seeing How To Succeed In Business, we were too stuffed and tired to try their famous cheesecake, but luckily for me I found their recipe online.

Like I have said before I have never been a big cheesecake fan, but I am slowly growing as a person and warming up to cream cheese. Junior's cheesecake is a little different than the cheesecake most people think of, as it replaces the traditional graham cracker crust with a sponge cake. I loved the added layer of sponge cake, but still wanted the familiar graham cracker crust, so I added graham cracker crumbs around the side. It is an extremely impressive cheesecake, and so easy to make.

Adapted very slightly from food.com

Sponge Cake
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
3 large eggs separated
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 drops lemon extract
3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Cream Cheese Filling
4 (8oz) packages cream cheese
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 cup finely ground graham crackers
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick melted butter

Sponge Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and generously butter a 9in spring form pan.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with and electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer still running, gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until thick light yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts. Sift the mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand until no more white flecks appear. Blend in the butter.
In a clean bowl, using clean dry beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Stir in 1/3 cup of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining egg white. (don't worry if a few white specks remain.)
Spoon the batter into the spring form pan.
Bake the cake just until the center springs back when lightly touched, only about 10 minutes.
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack while you continue making the cheesecake filling. DO NOT REMOVE FROM THE PAN.

Cream Cheese Filling:
Place one 8oz package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese. Increase the mixer speed to high and add the remaining 1 1/3 cups of sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Blend in heavy cream. Mix the filling only until blended. Be careful not to over mix.

Wrap the outside of the spring form pan with two layers of tin foil.(This is to protect it from the water bath, while it's cooking.)

Spoon the filling on top of the baked sponge cake.
Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large shallow pan (disposable roasting pan). Place the spring form pan in the towel lined pan. Pour water into the large baking pan about 1 inch up the side of the spring form pan.
Bake the cheesecake until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour.
Turn oven off and open the oven door for 1 minute. Close the door and let set inside oven 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove from oven and place in refrigerator at least 6 hours.

Run a knife around the side of the spring form pan and remove the cheesecake.

Graham Cracker Crumbs:
In a small bowl mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Pour into a cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes.
Pat the sides of the cheesecake with the graham cracker crumbs, and serve.

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