For crust: Preheat oven to 350 F
Combine: 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter
Press this mixture into a 9” springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.
In your mixer, slowly paddle (DO NOT WHIP) 1.5 lbs (3 8 oz sticks) of softened cream cheese
YOUR OBJECTIVE HERE IS NOT TO WHIP ANY AIR INTO IT
It must be creamy, smooth and homogenous. Scrape down the sides of the bowl FREQUENTLY to achieve this. It should be as liquid as possible.
Then add: ½ cup sugar
3 well beaten eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
Adding the egg in increments, scraping down the sides of the bowl again frequently to keep it smooth and homogenous.
Before pouring the mixture into the crust, slam the bowl a number of times against the countertop (on a towel to cushion it) to release any air bubbles in the mixture. The more air bubbles that are released, the less cakey and more creamy in texture your cheesecake will be.
IDEALLY, the cake should be baked in a waterbath – again so as not to cause it to become cakey Just wrap the springform pan well in aluminum to prevent water from getting through the cracks, and bake it in a water bath with the water half way up the side of the pan. This regulates the temperature so the cheese mixture bakes uniformly, without it heating up from the sides, and then baking inward that will cause hard cheesecake side, and creamy cheesecake interior. Think of baking it similar to a crème caramel or crème brulee, it is a form of a custard, just a cheese one.
Bake until set – anywhere from 40 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. When baking, you shouldn’t let time be your only guide, doneness or setting should be your main guideline, so don’t be concerned if it takes longer than the time guide. How things bake are dependent on the type of oven you have, the pan, the water bath and the number of times you open the oven. To determine when it is set, jiggle the pan slightly – if it still appears liquid in the center (ie it ripples like a liquid) it hasn’t set yet.
After you put it in the oven, combine: 2 cups sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
Let it sit and stir once again before putting on the cheesecake to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Again, slam any bubbles out of this mixture like with the cheese mixture.
Top the cheesecake with this mixture, and return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until set. Remove and cool thoroughly to room temp, then in the fridge for at least 6 hours to fully set.
NOTE: If you have already made your coulis and you want to make your cheesecake extra pretty, puree a small amount of it so it is the same texture as the sour cream mixture, and drizzle some in a spiral (from the center outward) over the top of the sourcream before the last baking. Take a knife and run it through the spiral, wiping it off after every cut, alternating from the center outward, and from the sides to the center to create a really cool looking spider web effect.