This cheesecake is a good one. It comes from my book, Hand Made Baking; I dedicated the recipe to my late cousin, Tito, because he was a cheesecake-making pro. Tito was one of the smartest, most encouraging people I knew; he believed that delicious food, especially a luscious cheesecake, is the panacea for all maladies—I couldn’t agree more.
When I was ten or 11, we made a cheesecake together from his recipe, which I think was his version of the recipe written on the inside of the cream cheese package. We sat the cheesecake in a water bath to cook; but unlike Tito, I’m a klutz and water baths are a messy business I avoid at all costs.
I prefer the following method: Put the uncooked cheesecake into a hot oven until it puffs up, then lower the temperature of the oven almost all the way; it works every time. This, to me, is the ultimate New York cheesecake. The cake stands tall with a seasonal berry topping (strawberry jam and fresh strawberries for this cake—more about this in a minute), with a tender-crusted graham cracker base. I think this New York cheesecake recipe would have done Tito proud.
Samsung and Bon Appétit recently contacted me to share my secret to making a super-silky New York cheesecake while utilizing the stunning Samsung Double Wall Oven with steam bake function. The steam bake function on the oven takes away all the mess and stress of making a perfect New York cheesecake. but for the sake of a method and recipe. We made a video of the entire thing to show you how brilliant Samsung’s newest kitchen appliance really is:
This cheesecake begins with lots of seasonal berries—I opted for beautiful locally grown crimson-colored strawberries, but feel free to go for raspberry if that’s what floats your boat. The strawberries are mixed with some sugar and a squeeze of orange juice, and cooked over medium heat for about 23 minutes until thick and jammy. The jam is set aside and the base remains to be made.
When it comes to the graham cracker base, I do not like to skimp on flavor. Fine-grain sea salt and vanilla make an appearance here along with the usual suspects: graham crackers, melted butter, and a bit of sugar. Now, when it comes to the crust, I’ve found myself to be quite indecisive about having it on the sides or just on the bottom. Do as you wish here, but note: If you’re not using the steam bake function on the Samsung Double Wall Oven, you’ll need to wrap the sides in a bit of aluminum foil, as the crust could get a little too bronzed. When it comes to the base, you might think you haven’t enough graham cracker crumbs to evenly distribute onto the sides—I assure you, there are. Just work it into the pan using the flat bottom of a small measuring cup. And if all else fails, you can simply line the bottom of the pan with the graham cracker crumbs and call it a day.
Now, for the base of all bases—the cheesecake filling. It’s richer than a New York socialite and packs tons of flavor: Finely grated orange and lemon zest are folded into an incredibly rich mixture of eggs, sour cream, cream cheese, and sugar. A little bit of vanilla also makes its appearance and that’s all she basically wrote. The filling is poured over a chilled graham cracker crust and the pan is placed into the oven for a little over an hour, with some temperature adjustments made. No water bath here. The steam bake function on the Samsung Double Wall Oven takes away all the stress of making a gorgeous cheesecake without the wretched bain-marie.
Once it’s out of the oven, quite a bit of patience is needed to cool the cheesecake down. I suggest baking a cheesecake after work because you’ll be asleep as it chills in the refrigerator for several hours (I’m impatient, so it helps a bit), but do as you wish of course!
But once cooled…The fun stuff happens right before serving: The jam is warmed up a bit and poured over the cheesecake and fresh berries are casually placed onto the top of the cake (because one can never have enough strawberries on a cheesecake in any form, in my honest and humble opinion). The cake itself keeps for about 5 days, but let’s be honest—you’ll want to share this with everyone you know, Golden Girls-style.
New York Cheesecake
Makes One 9-in /23cm Cake
Serves 12 to 16
The cake stands tall with a seasonal berry topping; and because of the steam bake functionality of the oven, the graham sides are beautifully bronzed and the bottom is perfectly tender-crusted without being dried out and burnt.
A traditional cheesecake requires a water bath to cook; but baths are a messy business. With the steam bake function of the Samsung Double Wall Oven, the dangerous and tedious business of a water bath is unnecessary. You can simply put the uncooked cheesecake into a hot oven until it puffs up, and then lower the temperature almost all the way. It works every time and results in the silkiest, smoothest cheesecake that no traditional oven could ever re-create. The results speak for themselves.
½ cup / 170g Simple Berry Jam (recipe follows)
1 lb / 455 g fresh seasonal berries
1½ cups / 170 g graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup / 50 g granulated sugar
½ tsp teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
2 lb / 910 g cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ cups / 300 g granulated sugar
2 tbsp Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ tsp teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ tsp teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup / 180 ml sour cream, at room temperature
Preparation:To make the topping: Prepare the Simple Berry Jam (recipe follows).
To Make the Crust: Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450ºF/ 230ºC. Grease a 9-inch/23-cm springform pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, using your hands or the flat bottom of a small measuring cup to compress the crust. Put the pan in the freezer.
To Make the Filling & Topping: In a large bowl using a handheld mixer (I find this works best for the job, rather than a stand mixer), beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, lemon zest, and orange zest on medium speed for 3–5 minutes, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl and the beaters to make sure there’s no lumpy cream cheese in sight. With the mixture on its lowest speed, add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla all at once, mixing until smooth and the eggs are well incorporated. Mix in the sour cream until just incorporated.
Remove the Crust from the freezer, put on a rimmed baking sheet, and wrap the sides of the pan with aluminum foil—if using the Samsung Double Wall Ovenwith the steam bake function, this little bit would be unnecessary. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and put the pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 17–20 minutes, until the top is puffed.
Lower the oven temperature to 225ºF/110ºC and bake until the cake is mostly firm but still slightly wobbly in the center, 45 minutes to 1 hour more. (If the cheesecake is not done after 45 minutes, check it every 5 minutes or so until it is—it seems like a daunting task, but cheesecake-making requires a bit of saintly patience.)
Once the cheesecake is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature in the pan. Cover and refrigerate it for 8 hours before topping.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the jam with 1 teaspoon water until it is pourable. Let it cool to room temperature and pour over the cheesecake. Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator until the jam topping is set before serving and topping with the fresh berries. The cheesecake will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; be sure to top the cheesecake with the fresh berries no longer than a day in advance of serving.
Note: You might not think there are enough graham cracker crumbs for the pan, but trust me, there are. Just work it into the pan using the flat bottom of a small measuring cup.
Simple Strawberry Jam
Makes about 1 cup
Add the juice of one medium lemon or the juice of half an orange to the strawberry mixture before cooking the jam to add a nice bright, citrusy flavor.
1 lb / 455 g fresh strawberries
1 cup / 200 g granulated sugar
1 tbsp Tablespoon cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
Put a couple of small plates in the freezer. Wash, hull, and halve the strawberries.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the strawberries and sugar, boil for 20–25 minutes, until thickened. To check if the jam is set, remove one chilled plate from the freezer and spoon a small dab of the mixture onto it. Give the jam about 30 seconds, and push it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s set and done; if it moves about on the plate, it needs to be boiled a bit longer before you test it on the other plate. You’ll also know the jam is done when it reaches 210º F/ 100ºC on a candy thermometer.
When the jam is set and done, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter. Skim off any foam from the surface with a metal spoon, then pour the jam into clean, heat-safe containers or jars. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For Raspberry Jam: Decrease the amount of raspberries to 2 cups / 250 g, and add in 1 tablespoon of strained fresh orange juice and 1 tablespoon of finely grated orange zest to the berries when stirring them with the sugar. Do the same for Blackberry Jam, but simply increase the amount of sugar to 1½ cups / 300g.
This post was created in partnership with Samsung and Bon Appétit. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Samsung is not only the innovative company behind some of your favorite smartphones, but it’s also the brains behind some of the finest kitchen equipment on the market. The Samsung Double Wall Oven has steam cooking so you can do anything from baking a cheesecake to making a holiday roast—all with professional results. Visit the Samsung website for more information about the Samsung Double Wall Oven.