~Barefoot Contessa(she's a genius)
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar 6 tablespoons
(3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 cup red jelly (not jam), such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry
3 half-pints fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.
Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.
To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
I made this for my Christmas party with my freinds. This is the third cheesecake recipe I have tried and it is maybe my favorite. Then again I said that about the first two...but this is a good basic cheesecake that can be paired with a variety of toppings.
The baking part is a little complicated. When I first put it in at 450 degrees I watched it to make sure it wasn't going to burn the top. The cheesecake rose quite a bit and I was thinking how ugly it was going to look. Once the heat is turned down I finally realized it wasn't going to burn and it did not get any darker on top. Once it cooled in the fridge it settled back down and was flat on top.
The topping was easy to make and I used strawberry jelly. You could not really taste the difference so I'm sure any red jelly would be fine. This is a really dramatic cheesecake. My friends and I couldn't wait to cut into it. It isn't like most American cheesecakes and the filling is very light and fluffy but still has that great cheesecake flavor. The lemon zest is a must! Don't leave it out because it adds a lot of freshness to the filling. I can't wait til I have an occasion to make this again!!!