This recipe for New York cheesecake is adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. It’s not something to make if you are impatient (you need to make it 24 hours in advance), but it is absolutely delicious in its simplicity. We ate it with strawberries and raspberry coulis, but in retrospect, I think it would have been better just on its own.
140g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg yolk
900g cream cheese
190g caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla pod
Start by making the base. You need to do this a couple of hours ahead to give it time to cool. Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor or in a bowl with an electric hand whisk. Beat in the butter until it is completely incorporated. Then add the egg yolk and combine until you have an even sandy consistency. Butter and line the base of 23cm springform cake tin and press the mixture down evenly across the base of the tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 150C or until golden. Remove and allow to cool.
Once the base is cool, butter the sides of the tin and then double wrap the tin with aluminium foil. You need the wrapping to be completely waterproof, so make sure there are no holes or tears in the foil, and make sure the wrapping comes completely up the sides of the tin.
Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk on a low setting until smooth. Add the sugar, lemon zest and seeds from the vanilla pod and beat until they are evenly incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating slowly to ensure the mixture doesn’t split. Before adding each egg, scrape the cheese mixture off the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure it is evenly mixed. Once the eggs are all incorporated, beat on a higher setting for a short time and then pour the cheese mixture into the cake tin.
Using a spatula, scrape the cream cheese mixture into the cake tin. Place the foil wrapped cake tin into a roasting tray and then fill the tray with boiling water until it comes three quarters of the way up the sides of the cake tin. Bake the cheesecake at 150C for one hour and then switch off the heat. Remove from the oven after half an hour, but leave the cheesecake in the water filled roasting tray for another half hour. Then remove it from the tray and allow to cool. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight before serving.