You might think that summer is too hot to have a piece of cheesecake, but for us, Northerners, a piece of this unctuous treat with a cup of tea, a glass of cider or low-alcohol slightly effervescent young wine is just what the doctor ordered on a cutting-the-grass chilly afternoon like today.
For many the New York style cheesecake may sound like a cliché, but I have my own special connection with it. It began with the first bite of the world’s most fabulous cheesecake at Junior’s Cheesecake and Desserts in New York City (NYC) years ago. The taste of the suave white cheese and the clean citrus tang lingered in my mouth for hours. That night I decided that, whenever possible, I would start taking notes of the cheesecake recipes from different eateries in New York whenever I’d try it, as long as it would be same impressive.
I started a little diary and called it ‘My New York Cheesecake diary’. I’ve collected over a dozen recipes of the variations of the New York style cheesecake, including the immortal Lindy’s, Reuben’s and of course, the Junior’s one.
|Lower right image is a postcard photo of Lindy’s Restaurant at Broadway and 52st Street in New York City in ‘60s
Of course, there are countless diners in NYC to have a fabulous piece of NY style cheesecake. The Junior’s remain to be my preferred one, and any time I’m in NYC, I’m trying to block out an afternoon to get that piece of cheesecake and take a subway ride from Manhattan to Coney Island or Brighton Beach to watch the cityscape like a local (since I’m way passed the Empire State Building or Central Park phases)… to have a cake on the beach for a much deeper connection with the great Metropolis and its sounds, colors and tastes.
That for me is the latest ultimate luxury of an experience as well as the way to culminate into that city-that-never-sleepsfinal vibe, which feels like in that realtor’s quote:“We give you the chance to stay in someone’s place while they’re out of town. Live their life for a few days and nights. Act like you own the place. Because, for a few days, you do.”
And that’s also the reason why I got hooked on one of the final episode of Girls’
so much: when Hannah is sitting in the sand of Coney Island, eating the cake she previously saved at the wedding for her boyfriend, and reflecting. Of course it’s is also because of the genius combination of the sounds of the ocean, the seagulls, the cake-smacking and that uber-engaging instrumental that I can’t find anywhere, but mostly because this experience is almost personal and leaves me hungry for more of the NYC gastronomic experiences.
When experimenting with NY style cheesecake at home, I figured over the years that my favorite one is the Three Citrus Cheesecake, which I glazed this time with my own candied Meyer lemon
and it was simply out of this world…
That is the reason I’m sharing the recipe with you today. Enjoy it!
PS: Please note that two major ingredients of New York cheesecake are Philadelphia cream cheese and Graham crumbs crust. Feel free to use the ready-made Graham crust to save time and effort. For other than Graham crumbs crust, please see the recipe below.
Yields: 12 portions
1 ¼ cups Graham crumbs* (see the substitutes below if necessary)
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 pkg. (250g each) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp each grated lemon, lime and orange peel zest
1 tbsp each lemon, lime and orange juice
Thinly sliced citrus or candied Meyer lemon
Preheat the oven to 350F. Unless using a ready-made crust, mix crumbs and butter and press firmly onto 9-inch springform pan. Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and mix until blended. Stir in zested peel and juices and pour into the crust.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Garnish with candied Meyer lemon
slices if available or lemon, lime and orange slices, or fresh fruit.
*For Gluten free Graham crust:
Mix the following ingredients and spread evenly but lightly in 9-inch diameter springform pan:
1 ½ cups commercial gluten-free flour*
½ cup unsalted butter (melted)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup minced chopped nuts
* Note: You can make your own GF flour by mixing 6 cups sweet rice flour; 2 cups tapioca flour and 1 cup potato starch flour
Bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Stir until well crumbled, return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more until evenly golden brown.
** For the Flour Made crust Lyndie’s Cheesecake style (for two cakes):
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
Combine flour, butter, sugar, zest, salt, yolk and vanilla seeds in a bowl, work with fingers until dough forms. Form the dough in 2 rounds; wrap each in a plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour. Press 1 dough round into 9 –inch springform pan; pull off pieces from remaining dough and press around sides of pan. Set aside. Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes until golden and proceed with the filling part above.