Have to say I’m kind of excited. I picked up fresh parsley, fresh basil, four cans of DOP certified San Marzanos, garlic, sweet onions, aged parmesan, Paesano unfiltered olive oil and a couple pieces of pork brasciole; you know, the normal sauce ingredients. My butcher happened to have some lovely lamb loin chops in so I grabbed four thick ones and am going to use them as the base of the sauce tomorrow.
Have some nice skirt steak marinating in olive oil, garlic and lambrusco vinegar. Onions are caramelizing. Going to steam some broccoli and drizzle it with this beautiful early harvest evoo and flaked sea salt.
The wife is baking a meatloaf consisting of hormone free, grain finished beef (mix of brisket, short rib and sirloin), ground tenderloin from a Duroc hog, ground veal from a milk fed Hudson Valley calf, purple garlic, Dijon mustard, bread crumbs ground from a Sullivan Street Bakery baguette, Ronnybrook Farms milk, sea salt and cracked black pepper.
I added a tray of thin sliced baby fingerlings in a pool of buerremont butter and some of that purple garlic.
It smells like Heaven in here right now.
1 lb. Russ and Daughters cream cheese
1 ½ lbs. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
½ cup sour cream
1 ½ cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
10 Graham Crackers, crushed
1 Tablespoon white sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Set your cream cheese and eggs out on the counter. They need to come to room temp before using. Use food processor or vitamix to break graham crackers down to rough crumbs. Or just put them in a plastic bag and bang it on the counter.
BTW, this recipe is very specifically based on a 9” springform pan. That diameter gives you a very thin (1/8”) graham cracker crust. I think that’s enough with a filling this amazing, and I’m a guy who typically wants the deepest crust possible. That being said, if you want a thicker crust increase the butter, sugar and graham crackers commensurately.
Melt the butter. Mix with the crushed crackers and the sugar. You can do this in a bowl with a fork.
Dump this mixture in the bottom of your 9” springform pan. Use the bottom of a rocks glass to flatten and spread it evenly.
Throw pan in a preheated 325 degree oven. Start checking after ten minutes. You need to pull it out at the exact point that the outer ring starts to harden and turn a clearly darker shade of brown. You can also smell the moment this starts to happen.
Pull pan out and set aside to cool. Set oven for 500 degrees.
While this process was happening you should have been building your filling.
Throw the room temp 1 lb. of Russ and Daughters cream cheese in your Kitchenaid with the paddle attachment. Set on 3 and beat for a minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula continually.
Add 1 1/2 lbs. of softened Philly. Let it beat for two minutes.
Add ¾ cup sugar and salt. Allow time to disperse, approximately one minute. Continue scraping sides and paddle. If clumps form on paddle stop mixer and dislodge.
Add other ¾ cup sugar and allow it to combine, another minute. Scrape bowl.
Add sour cream, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla. Allow beater to process for one minute.
Stop beater. Remove paddle and use spatula to scrape every inch of the bowl and paddle. Need to avoid any clumps of uncombined cream cheese. Get it all in the mixing bowl. By now the mixture should be a fairly thick liquid slurry.
Restart the Kitchenaid and add the eggs and yolks slowly, one by one. Allow the mixture to absorb them. At the end kick the mixer up to 8 for thirty seconds, just to be sure.
Partially melt the remaining butter and brush it on the inside walls of the springform pan as thickly as you are able to.
Pour filling into pan. Place in oven (middle rack).
Bake for ten minutes at 500 degrees.
Without opening oven reduce heat to 200 degrees. Bake for 90 minutes.
Turn oven off, keeping door closed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Run knife between edge of cake and pan. Open springform pan and remove. Cover cheesecake with saran wrap and refrigerate.
Wait 24 hours.
Russ and Daughters cream cheese may be difficult if you aren’t a New Yorker. They do ship, so it’s attainable for everyone really (http://www.russanddaughters.com) but time or money may be a factor. If so, I urge you to find the best available artisanal, housemade cream cheese you can. The lack of thickeners made a huge difference in texture.
Full fat sour cream, of course. The freshest and most local available to you. In my case it is Cabot, a fairly large farming conglomerate out of Vermont who make a fresh product, good but not great.
It’s tempting to up the salt content to jack up the flavor. It’s really hard not to. But don’t. This is delicate alchemy here.
No, you don’t need to use Meyer lemons. But Deion didn’t need to dance either. When he did he had earned the right. Use regular lemons if you must. We can’t all be Deion.
Get the best vanilla that you are able to. Some friends of mine make their own; that’s just too Brooklyn for me. But I do think the extra expense of Morton & Bassett is a justifiable expense.
I use Buerremont butter. It was created by Paul Bocuse at a Vermont dairy farm specifically for baking. French method (cultured cream) and 83% butterfat. Plugra also works. Basically use the best unsalted butter with the highest fat content you can get your hands on. That goes for any recipe I ever use, not just this one.