New York cheesecake (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)

A classic: a deep, welcoming featherbed of a pudding. Serves eight to 12.

New York cheesecake

For the base
100g butter –15g softened and 85g melted
170g digestive biscuits
1 tbsp caster sugar
Pinch of flaky sea salt

For the filling
200g caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
Pinch of flaky sea salt
900g full-fat soft cheese, at room temperature
200ml sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk

For the sour cream topping
200ml sour cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Generously grease the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with the soft butter, line the base with baking parchment and butter the parchment. Wrap the cake tin in several layers of tinfoil – it needs to encase the tin completely, with no holes or gaps, because you’re going to cook the cheesecake in a bain-marie and you don’t want any water to sneak in at the base and ruin it.

Next make the crust. Put the biscuits into a food processor with the sugar and salt, and pulse to fine crumbs. Pour the melted butter through the feed tube and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand, then press it into the bottom of the cake tin in an even layer (use the bottom of a glass to smooth it out). Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm, then leave to cool on a wire rack.

Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. In a mixer, beat the soft cheese until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl and beaters a couple of times. With the mixer on low, beat in a third of the sugar mixture, then half the sour cream. Repeat, then beat in the last of the sugar mixture. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and the yolk, beating well after each addition, until smooth and creamy.

Brush the inside of the cake tin above the biscuit base with more butter and place in a roasting tin. Pour the filling into the cake tin. Put the roasting tin in the oven and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the outside of the cake tin. Bake for an hour and a half to an hour and three-quarters, until just set in the centre.

For the topping, stir together the sour cream, sugar and lemon juice, and spread in an even layer over the top of the cheesecake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let the cake cool, then refrigerate overnight.

Run a thin-bladed knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges, then release the sides of the tin. Carefully slide the cheesecake on to a plate and gently slide the parchment out from underneath.


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