My son is a chocoholic and my daughter loves it when she gets to have a cookie for a treat. Personally I love pies and desserts with a crust. Cheesecake, chocolate creme pie, apple pie, key lime pie, I mean I could go on forever. I've never met a dessert I didn't like. Now my husband, he's a die hard cheesecake kind of guy. And there is no point in sharing a piece with him, the ratio is Mike 9/10 of the cheesecake, Tara 1/10. Straight up cheesecake sharing hog.
For our last anniversary we ate at the Capital Grille, one of my favorites, and we had creme brûlée cheesecake for dessert. Speechless. In true fashion, I recreated it at home. I collaborated with my mother, who is really good with baking measurements, and we came up with what is the best cheesecake i've ever had, hands down, blown away, slap your knee kind of good. Watch out Cheesecake Factory (and Capital Grille!).
TIPS FOR a PERFECT cheesecake:
1. Baking it in a water bath - where you set the ramekins or entire pan into a rimmed baking sheet and then continue to fill that pan about halfway with water
2. Cream cheese must be at room temperature, MUST, and while we are on the subject of cream cheese, the on-brand Philadelphia really does taste (and texture) way better vs generic
3. Let it sit overnight in the fridge before you eat it - the flavors meld and it's just way better once it's had at least 12-24 hours to chill
4. Cornstarch - just do it and trust me
Here's the dealio. I don't own a kitchen torch, so I had to borrow my husband's manly man outdoor project torch. He told me not to burn the house down, which I'm proud to report I didn't! But it was a lot easier and less intimidating than I thought it would be to brûlée the sugar. My best tip is to just keep moving, don't leave the torch on one spot too long, the sugar continues to cook a bit even after you move to another section.
I'm SO excited for you guys to try this recipe! Make sure to leave a comment once you have and let me know what you thought. I did take a couple step-by-step photos for the slideshow below to help you through the process if it is your first time making cheesecake.
2 blocks Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
small pinch of salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c sour cream
1 pkg graham crackers
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 325.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine cream cheese, vanilla extract, salt, cornstarch, sugar and sour cream, mix until combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and beat at medium/high speed for 3 minutes. Let sit.
In a small bowl combine crushed graham crackers (using a food processor or by hand), butter, sugar and salt. Press into the bottom of a springform pan. (Alternatively, equally divide this between 6 (5" diameter) creme brûlée ramekins). Press the crust down into the pan with your hands, it shouldn't stick. Set your pan on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Fill the pan with the cheesecake filling and return the baking sheet back in the oven. Fill a cup with water and fill up the baking sheet half way with water. Bake for 40-45 minutes, the middle will still jiggle but the edges should be totally set. (For ramekins baking about 25 minutes or a little less).
Remove from the oven, let the cheesecake sit until they have cooled off, a few hours. Cover with saran wrap and chill overnight.
Remove the saran wrap from the cheesecake. Add sugar to the top of the cheesecake, about 1/4 c, smoothing it over for an even layer. A thin layer will have stuck to the top. (If you like a thicker layer you can add extra sugar on top).
Grab a blow torch on a low flame setting and using a sweeping motion go back and forth over the sugar. Careful not to burn the sugar. It continues to cook a bit even after you've taken the flame off.
Serve right away or pop them back in the fridge for 30 minutes to re-chill the top!