I will take a better photo the next time I make this...because it is so pretty, this picture just doesn't do it justice.
22graham crackers (3 cups)
1 stickmelted butter
32 ozcream cheese (4-8oz blocks)
1 1/2 csugar
16 ozsour cream
1juice of lemon or orange or lime (optional) plus the zest
1vanilla bean scraped (optional)
How to Make CJ's Cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan tightly with foil to prevent moisture from the water bath (a roasting pan filled with warm water that goes approximately ½ up the height of your pan; this will help keep your cheesecake from getting cracks on top.) from seeping into your cheesecake.
In a food processor, mix the graham crackers, 1 stick melted butter, and ½ C sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven to cool completely. If you don’t have a food processor, crush the crackers with your hands, and put them in a plastic bag and roll over it with a rolling pin until it becomes fine crumbs.
In a food processor or with an electric mixer, mix all of the cream cheese, 1 ½ C sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. Add the sour cream, juice of one lemon/orange/or lime (optional) plus the zest of it, the vanilla and vanilla bean scraped (optional…the vanilla bean adds its pretty little black beans sprinkled throughout the cake) blend until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending until just combined. Special Note: It's important to blend well with no clumps as this will make the filling a smoother consistency when baked. This is helped by ensuring that all of your ingredients are at room temperature before starting! (It really does make a difference in the texture and consistency of the finished cake).
- Pour the filling into the crust. Put a roasting pan on a rack in the center of the oven and transfer the cheesecake to the pan. Fill the roasting pan with warm water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan and cover it loosely with foil. Bake until the center moves only slightly when the cake pan is shaken, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Check the water level throughout baking, adding more water, if needed. Once cake is finished baking, turn off the oven and crack open the door until the oven has cooled. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and transfer the cake pan to a wire rack to finish cooling. Wrap cake with foil and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, run a knife around edge of pan to loosen cake, undo springform pan and serve. Cheesecake slices nicely when cut with a warm knife. Enjoy!