Rich and creamy with a slightly lemony flavor, this crowd-pleaser should be your go-to cheesecake recipe. Topping it with honey-soaked kiwi adds a hint of exotic tartness, but leave off the fruit if you’re serving cheesecake purists.
Game plan: The following baking method may seem time-consuming and (admittedly) strange, but it results in a smooth cheesecake without having to use a water bath.
If time permits, make this cake a day in advance. It’s best after being refrigerated overnight.
This recipe was featured as part of our Cooking with Winter Ingredients photo gallery.
For the cheesecake:
- 1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs, such as Nabisco Nilla Wafers
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
For the cheesecake:
- 1Heat the oven to 325ºF and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Place wafer crumbs and butter in a medium bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour the crumb mixture into the pan and, using the bottom of a cup, press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides.
- 2Mix together sugar and flour in a medium bowl and set aside. Place cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer running, slowly pour in sugar mixture and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as needed.
- 3With the mixer on low, add lemon zest and vanilla and then slowly pour in cream; mix until just combined. Add egg yolk, then whole eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate completely before adding the next. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as needed.
- 4Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake until the edges of the cake are browned and the center is barely set, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- 5Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cover with a baking sheet and let cool until the pan is lukewarm to the touch, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the baking sheet, loosely cover the cheesecake, and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.
- 1Run a knife around the inner edge of the pan, then remove the sides. Combine kiwi and syrup in a small bowl. Slice the cake into 12 pieces and top each slice with about 2 tablespoons of the kiwi mixture.
Beverage pairing: Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling, Australia. Something with assertive, bright fruit, dense sweetness, and powerful acidity is needed to match the intensity of this cheesecake. Late-harvest Riesling is just such a match, with its syrupy concentration and mélange of citrus, peach, and tropical fruits.
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