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Graham Cracker Crust
|1||cup (4 ounces) graham cracker crumbs (8 whole crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed in food processor until uniformly fine)|
|5||tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional 1 tablespoon melted butter for greasing pan|
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with most of the remaining melted butter, making sure to leave enough to brush pan in step 3. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, around 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
|2½||pounds (5 packages) cream cheese, cut into rough 1-inch chunks and left to stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes|
|1½||cups (10½ ounces) sugar|
|1/3||cup (2½ ounces) sour cream|
|2||tablespoons juice from 1 lemon|
|2||teaspoons vanilla extract|
|2||large egg yolks plus 6 large whole eggs|
- Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula; add salt and about half of sugar and beat at medium low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; beat in remaining sugar until combined, about 1 minute. Scrap bowl; add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, and scraping bowl between additions.
- Brush side of springform pan with remaining melted butter. Set springform pan on rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills if springform pan leaks). Pour filling into cooled crust and bake 10 minutes; without opening oven door, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of cheesecake registers about 150 degrees, about 150 degrees, about 1½ hours. Transfer cake to wire rack and cool 5 minutes; run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. Cool until barely warm 2½ to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)
- To unmold cheesecake, remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan botton to loosen, then slide cake onto serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.
Fresh Strawberry Topping
|2||pounds strawberries, cleaned, hulled, and cut lengthwise into 1/4- to 1/8-inch slices|
|1||cup (about 11 ounces) strawberry jam|
|2||tablespoons juice from 1 lemon|
- Toss berries, sugar, and salt in medium bowl; let stand until berries have released juice and sugar has dissolved, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to combine.
- Process jam in food processor until smooth, about 8 seconds; transfer to small saucepan. Bring jam to simmer over medium-high heat; simmer, stirring frequently, until dark and no longer frothy, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice; pour warm liquid over strawberries and stir to combine. Let cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or for up to 12 hours. To serve, spoon a portion of topping over each slice of cheesecake.
Cook's Illustrated - March & April 2002