The most time-consuming part of making a cheesecake is cooling it. This has to be done slowly, or the top will develop cracks.
Servings: 12 - 16
- 2 cups finely crushed cinnamon graham crackers
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 packages (32 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 orange, zest grated
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Set an oven rack on the middle level and preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Add the melted butter and stir with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until the butter has soaked all the crumbs. Transfer the graham cracker mixture to the prepared pan and press a wedge of crumbs along the bottom edge all the way around. Then make a bottom crust, and press the remaining crumbs up the sides of the pan. (It is not necessary for the crust to come all the way to the top of the pan.) Set aside.
Using a stand mixer on medium-slow speed, mix the cream cheese and the remaining 1 cup of sugar until completely blended and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add the sour cream and mix until fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each one to blend in completely and using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the cream, vanilla extract, zest and juices. Continue mixing for about 5 minutes. Pour the filling into the crust.
Place the springform pan in a shallow pan and place both in the center of the oven. Pour warm water into the bottom pan to a depth of about an inch. Bake for 90 minutes, or until there's just a hint of browning on top. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside. After an hour, open the door a crack and let the cheesecake cool in the oven another 30 minutes. Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to finish cooling. After another hour, remove the sides of the springform pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving.
Adapted from Tom Fitzmorris, a restaurant critic and radio talk-show host and the author of "New Orleans Food," which was published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang after this article appeared.
Tested by Tom Wilkinson.
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