Base Cheesecake Recipe
- 4 eggs room temp is ideal
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 c sour cream
- 1 c sugar
- 2 tsp flavor of choice
- 1 gal whole milk and lemon juice or white vinegar
- 2 8oz blocks cream cheese, room temp is ideal
Make the crust following the shortbread recipe- I add in almond or vanilla for the flavor. I normally use a 10in spring form pan. You don't have to use that but if you use a larger pan, you will want to make extra crust. I butter the bottom of the pan or you can line with parchment. This style of cheesecake doesnt have crust up the side, only on the bottom. You can also use a graham cracker crust, oreo cookie crust, thin mint crust… endless options. I bake the crust for 12 min at 350. Then set the pan on the stove while I finish the filling. Keep oven on at 350.
Making Cream Cheese
Heat the gallon of whole milk on the stove and as it warms up, add in a few glugs of lemon juice or white vinegar. Continue to warm until just before simmer or about 190 degrees. You want complete separation of curds and whey- add more acid until that happens. Strain into a fine mesh strainer, pushing out as much liquid as possible. I use an immersion blender but you can also use a food processor to blend the cheese curds until smooth and creamy. Add in 1/4tsp salt and blend.
Place all of the cream cheese into a stand mixer or large bowl with sugar, sour cream and extract. Mix well- you want this as smooth as possible at this stage. In a smaller bowl, crack eggs and beat well. Add eggs to the cream cheese mixture and fold in with a spoon or spatula- do not over mix at this point.
Wrap spring form pan in foil- you want foil to come up the sides of the pan. And find a larger pan/dish that will fit the cheese cake so that you can bake it in a water bath. Place springform pan in the dish and spoon in the filling, spreading it evenly around. Place on oven rack and the fill the outer dish with water until it comes halfway up the cheese cake pan. You can pour the water in earlier if you have steadier hands than me when it comes to carrying things.
Bake for ~50-70 min depending on the size of pan. You want the internal temp to be 150 degrees or for it to have a slight jiggle in the middle. Turn off oven and let cool with oven door open for 30 minutes or so and then at room temp for an hour before transfering to the fridge. You don't have to let it sit in the oven- I just found that helps with it setting up texture wise.
Ideally you will let it cool overnight or for 4-6 hours. I find for the sake of science, it is sometime necessary to taste it immediatly and then every hour until it reaches perfection.
Let's get creative
This is a base recipe, you can top it with lemon curd or salted caramel sauce or you can sub out some of the sugar and sour cream for lemon curd or simply add lemon curd and make a larger cheese cake. I like to add lemon zest to the crust or filling and then top with lemon curd. You can swirl in caramel sauce before baking or chocolate ganache (simply increase cream slightly from the truffle ratio). Make up some thin mint cookies and crush them to sprinkle on top or use as a crust! Get creative and take pics and post them on my FB page or Instagram for me to see!