I've started watching a new PBS series called Martha Bakes and the first thing she baked is a New York Cheesecake – I couldn't wait to try it myself. Martha says this recipe is guaranteed not to crack on the top as is often the case with homemade cheesecakes. I can tell you that my cheesecake did not crack!
The simple graham cracker crust is the perfect slightly crunchy buttery accompaniment to the creamy rich filling. This super simple recipe can be easily dressed up with any kind of flavoring you like. Martha suggests a teaspoon of lemon zest added to the batter for another dimension of flavor. Make sure to bake your cheesecake a day in advance of when you want to serve it so that the filling firms up and the flavors come together. Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the entire recipe here. Start by buttering the sides and bottom of a 10 inch springform pan. I used Pam spray instead of butter and it worked great! Wrap sides and bottom of pan with double layer of aluminum foil. Set pan aside. You will also need a roasting pan for the final water-bath baking of the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crust: In the bowl of a food processor grind up the 12 graham crackers until completely fine with no chunks left. Transfer the crumbs into a medium bowl and mix with the 2 Tablespoons of sugar and melted butter. Dump mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly and evenly into the bottom using a measuring cup or large flat metal spatula. Freeze crust for 15 minutes before baking. When chilled, place springform pan on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until crust is golden and firm to the touch. Let crust cool completely before filling.
Hot Water for Water Bath: In a large stock pot, heat water until boiling. Have roasting pan ready to go into oven.
Filling: In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and flour. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy, around 3 minutes. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time until just combined. Do not over beat the eggs. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and place entire pan in roasting pan. Carefully pour enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Carefully transfer back to the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 and continue baking for another 30 minutes. Sides of cake should look set but center should look wobbly. Turn off oven, leave cake in oven with door slightly ajar for one hour. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely then refrigerate uncovered for a least 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a sharp knife or small offset spatula around the sides of the cake.