Marc and I had Easter dinner at my dad and step-mom’s house yesterday and as usual it was a blast with them, my little brother and my step-mom’s brother and sister. There was a huge, incredible Polish feast to eat of ham, kielbasa, pierogi, potato salad, cole slaw and more. The conversation and jokes were going around at a rapid pace between the seven of us. There also may or may not have been a few minutes of my little brother and I basically communicating in nothing but movie quotes. That tends to happen a lot. I was put in charge of dessert for the feast and the request was for a classic New York cheesecake to round out the meal. My version of classic New York cheesecake has a super buttery graham cracker crust and the most luscious vanilla filling. The incredible strawberry balsamic sauce topped it off perfectly!
Once I poured the cheesecake filling onto the cooled crust, I wrapped the pan in foil before I put it into a larger roasting pan. That was necessary to make a bain marie for the cheesecake. Pouring water into the roasting pan around the cheesecake allowed it to gently steam without cracking while it baked.
When the classic New York cheesecake was done, I let it cool for over half an hour in the pan. Then I gently released it (and prayed it wouldn’t crack or stick to the pan). Luckily it didn’t. It went onto a cake plate to cool for another half hour before I covered it. I let it chill and completely set overnight. That’s what was so great about this baby. I could make it all ahead! My family really loved this classic New York cheesecake as the end of our fun Easter dinner, and I hope yours will too! xoxo
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 1/2 sticks butter melted
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 container plain Greek yogurt 5.3 ounce size
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 whole eggs
- 2 whole egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 pound fresh strawberries hulled and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons strawberry balsamic vinegar
First, prepare the crust. Pre-heat the oven to 350 and liberally grease the bottom of a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with butter or shortening. In a bowl stir the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar together thoroughly until it resembles wet sand. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan until it makes a solid bottom layer. Bake the crust to let it set for 10 minutes. Remove it when it is done and set it aside to cool.
Next, prepare the filling. Reduce the oven heat to 325. Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat them together until light and fluffy. Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla next. Once they are mixed in add each egg and egg yolk in one at a time. Finally, add the flour. Let the mixture get creamy and well combined.
Grease the inside sides of the springform pan liberally with butter or shortening. Pour the creamy cheesecake batter on top of the prepared graham cracker crust. Wrap the pan in foil to protect it. Then put the springform pan in an extra large roasting pan. Pour water into the roasting pan to surround the springform pan. Avoid getting water into the cheesecake and make sure the water comes to about a quarter of the way up the sides of the pan. This will prevent the cake from cracking.
- Bake the cheesecake for an hour and a half, until it is completely set and slightly golden. While it bakes, prepare the easy sauce. Combine the strawberries, water and sugar in a saucepan and heat it over medium high heat. Allow the mixture to gently bubble and thicken for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should become almost like a strawberry syrup. Stir the strawberry balsamic in after 15 minutes is up and let it bubble for another 2 minutes. Take the sauce pan off of the heat and set it aside to cool. Once cooled, pour into an airtight container and refrigerate it.
Take the cheesecake out when it is done and let it cool for at least half an hour. Release it gently from the springform pan and carefully transfer it to a cake plate. Let it cool for an additional 30 minutes out of the pan. Cover the cake plate and refrigerate the cheesecake at least 4 hours to overnight. When ready to serve, spoon the strawberry balsamic sauce over the top and slice! Enjoy!