Classic New York Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust and Roasted Cherries is a heavenly cloud of silky perfection. Rich, creamy, and ethereally light, this tall and proud cheesecake is crowned with stunning browned edges and sits atop a buttery, crunchy chocolate cookie crust. Glistening, ruby-red, Roasted Cherries are tangy, sweet, and juicy - the perfect complement to the creamy cheesecake.
This is my Classic New York Cheesecake, but for a burst of flavor, I've given it a chocolate cookie crust and a Roasted Cherry topping while retaining the same dreamy, creamy Classic New York Cheesecake filling.
As in my Classic New York Cheesecake, I used the traditional method of baking the cheesecake which gives the cheesecake its beautiful, puffy, browned edges and golden top. The cheesecake is baked at 500 degrees F for about 10 minutes, then the oven is turned to 200 degrees to finish baking for about an hour and a half. This slow bake at a low temperature gives the cheesecake a soft, silky texture and does away with the need for using a water bath.
The reason this method is risky is that different ovens will reduce their temperature from 500 degrees to 200 degrees at different rates. If your oven is very efficient at retaining heat, it will not cool to 200 degrees quickly enough, possibly not even before the cheesecake is finished. This can result in baking too quickly in a too hot oven, which can lead to cracks. It is essential to use both an oven thermometer and an instant read thermometer when baking the cheesecake. Monitor your oven temperature after turning it down to 200 degrees. My oven releases heat too slowly, so I crack open the oven door until the temperature reaches 200 degrees.
The most foolproof way of testing the cheesecake for doneness is by taking its temperature with an instant read thermometer. Cook’s Illustrated recommends taking the cheesecake out of the oven at 150 degrees F. I’ve taken mine up to 158 degrees with beautiful results.
Juicy, sweet, and slightly tangy, Roasted Cherries make the perfect topping for Classic New York Cheesecake. Fresh cherries are sprinkled with a little sugar and roasted until their flavor sweetens and intensifies. They come out of the oven shiny and glistening with just the right amount of syrupiness.
For the crust:
- 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs, finely ground (9oz, 255g)
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted (2oz, 57g)
For the filling:
- 2 ½ pounds full fat Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature (40oz, 1134g)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (10.5oz, 298g)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup sour cream, room temperature (2.5oz, 72g)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
For the Roasted Cherry topping:
- 1 recipe Roasted Cherries (click for recipe)
For the crust:
- Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Mix the cookie crumbs and the melted butter until well combined and moistened.
- Press the crumbs into the bottom and half way up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Using a flat bottomed measuring cup, press the crust firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan,
- Bake on a lower-middle rack until set and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the filling:
- Make sure the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs are at room temperature for a silky smooth texture.
- Increase the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, salt, and one half of the sugar on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, until combined.
- Beat in remaining sugar and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the paddle and the bowl well.
- Add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the paddle and the bowl well.
- Add egg yolks and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the paddle and the bowl well.
- Add whole eggs, two at a time, and beat for about 30 seconds after each addition, scraping the paddle and the bowl after each addition.
- Strain filling in a wire mesh strainer set over a bowl.
- Tap bowl on the counter several times so that any large air bubbles come up.
- Brush the sides of the springform pan with butter and place on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the pan and set aside for 10 minutes, allowing any air bubbles to rise to the top. Pop any unpopped bubbles with a fork.
- Bake in a 500 degree F oven, checking with an oven thermometer, for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees F and continue to bake until the center of the cheesecake registers 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1½ hours.
- Keep an eye on the oven thermometer to be sure the temperature is dropping to 200 degrees F. If it doesn't drop, crack the oven door open until the 200 degrees is reached.
- Place the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the edges of the pan. Allow to cool to room temperature, 2½-3 hours.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold and firmly set, at least 6 hours.
- Gently unmold cheesecake and remove the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and pan bottom. Gently slide cheesecake onto a serving platter. If the bottom of your pan has a small lip around it, it may be easier to leave the pan bottom under the cheesecake and place it on the serving plate.
- Top with Roasted Cherries.