I was at a lovely dinner party recently, thrown by a couple that Phil and I have recently befriended. There were some old friends there, and I met some new people too. As a matter of fact, I was seated next to someone who I just met that night. We hit it off, and had lots to talk about, which is unusual for me, because I am not the most extroverted person out there. I usually stay in my comfort zone and talk to the people I already know, or I let my gregarious husband do the talking for both of us.
As the evening went on, I discovered my dining partner loved to bake and was famous for her cheesecake. She had brought one to the dinner party for us to have for dessert. I told her I was very excited to try her cheesecake because I had baked an Oreo Cheesecake the week before and wasn't thrilled with the results. I was looking for a new recipe and some tips from a fellow baker would be very helpful. She turned to me and told me that she NEVER gave out her cheesecake recipe. She would give me any other recipe, but not the cheesecake recipe.
What?!?!? At first I thought she was joking, so I sort of dismissed what she said and continued to ask questions about the recipe. A bit more firmly she repeated that she does NOT give out the recipe, but will be happy to make it for me whenever I wanted one. What??!?!? I just met her and I am going to call her up to bake me a cheesecake? I don't think so. I decided to let the matter go until dessert.
Finally, dessert was served, and the famous cheesecake was brought to the table. I got my slice and took a bite. It was good...very good. Was it the best I ever had? No. Would I still like the recipe? Yes. It had a better texture than my cheesecake, and I think having this recipe would help me improve my recipe. I complimented her and told her that her cheesecake was just what I had been looking for, and would she reconsider giving me the recipe. Once again, she said, "No, I do not ever give out my cheesecake recipe." At this point, I was really annoyed! It seemed as though my dining companion was quite self-important and exclusionary.
I am a food blogger and home cook. Cooking is all about sharing secrets, shortcuts and methods. If you are reading this blog, or if you have ever read a cookbook or watched a cooking show, someone has shared a recipe with you. All of my recipes have been past down to me from someone else. I may have gotten it from another blogger, from a cookbook, a website, from The Cooking Channel, from a friend or from one of my grandparents. When someone asks me for a recipe, I am flattered and give it to then graciously. If no one was willing to share their recipes, we would all be eating the same four or five dishes our whole lives.
So I began to wonder, why won't she give me her recipe? I assured her that I wouldn't publish it on my blog. She doesn't have a business where she sells her cheesecakes, and even if she did, I wasn't a potential business competitor. She doesn't work for The Cheesecake Factory, so I don't think she is bound by a signed contract. We don't travel in the same social circles, so it is not as though I will be showing up at events with "her" cheesecake, made with "her" recipe and try to steal her "thunder". Is there a million dollar cheesecake competition coming up that I don't know about? Perhaps, the recipe is actually the recipe from the box of the Philadelphia cream cheese she uses.
Whatever. It is certainly within her rights not to share her recipe if she doesn't want to. So I decided to turn to the food blogging community, who were all very generous with their recipes and tips for making the perfect New York Style Cheesecake.
This is my New York Style Cheesecake Version I. It has the flavor I was looking for, but I used a shortbread crust, which I would not use again. I much prefer a graham cracker crust or an Oreo crust. The consistency was very good, but not exactly where I wanted it. On a scale on 1 to 10, with 1 being not creamy at all, and 10 being super incredibly creamy, this was a 7. I am looking for a 10. Flavor is a 10, which is why I will post my version I recipe. It is very, very good, and with the substitution of another crust, it will be a very elegant and impressive dessert.
I am not giving up on my perfect NY Style Cheesecake. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve, so look for New York Style Cheesecake II to be coming soon.
New York Style Cheesecake
Active Preparation Time: 30
non-stick baking spray
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. butter, softened
40 oz. cream cheese (5 eight oz. blocks), softened
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sour cream or heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 10 inch springform pan with non-stick spray.
To make crust: Combine all crust ingredients in a bowl. Mix well, using your hands if necessary to get the ingredients well mixed. Spread to the edge of the pan. Prick all over with a fork, then bake 15 minutes at 400. Allow to cool.
Increase oven temperature to 475.
To make filling: In a large bowl combine all filling ingredients using a hand mixer ONLY to get the ingredients mixed thoroughly together. Do not over-mix, or your cheesecake will be tough. Mix only enough to blend all ingredients together.
Pour filling over the crust and bake for 10 minutes at 475. Reduce temperature to 200 and continue to bake for one hour. Turn oven off, but leave the cake in the oven for one more hour to cool. Don't worry if it looks underdone in the center.
Chill overnight. Top with whipped cream, fruit or serve plain (this cheesecake is definitely good enough to serve plain).