Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Best of the Best--Junior's Famous No.1 Pure Cream Cheesecake!

This was truly one of the best cheesecakes I've ever had.  And believe me, I've eaten my fair share of cheesecake.
Lots and lots of cheesecake have passed thru these lips.   
I think cheesecake is good for you.  It's creamy and wonderfully velvety.  And tasty!
Of course, this one takes a little bit of work---it's not out of a box, it's FAMOUS!  From Junior's in Brooklyn.  And it has to live up to it's famous name.

I first read about Juniors when I read the book "Wait Till Next Year" a memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin.   In the book she 'remembered' going to Juniors to eat cheesecake after a Brooklyn Dodgers game.  That stuck in my mind for years, but even when I finally made it to New York City, we didn't make it to Brooklyn, so still I lusted after that cheesecake I'd never eaten in my mind.

Then, I found this cookbook, bought it, took it home where it sat on my shelf for a few years and then finally, last month, I made the famous cheesecake.

Why did I wait so long?   As I said, it is one of the best cheesecakes I've ever tasted.
I was intrigued by the sponge cake crust, in lieu of the graham cracker crust I am used to. And I know that is why this cheesecake is a bit more labor intensive than normal---it's takes a bit to make a sponge cake from scratch.
While I liked the sponge cake and will definitely make this again, I wouldn't hesitate to  use this filling with a graham cracker crust either.
It was really good.

I am linking up to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

I'm also adding it to my very own cookbook countdown  (making my way thru every cookbook in my collection)

Junior's New York Cheesecake

Sponge Cake Crust Ingredients:
• 1/3 cup sifted cake flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 2 extra-large eggs, separated
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 drops pure lemon extract
• 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
• 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
• 1 2/3 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup cornstarch
• 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 extra-large eggs
• 3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
Sponge Cake Crust Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (preferably a nonstick one). Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.
2. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
3. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes.
4. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 Tablespoons of the sugar and beat until thick light yellow ribbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.
5. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. Blend in the melted butter.
6. Wash the mixing bowl and beaters really well (if even a little fat is left, this can cause the egg whites not to whip).
7. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry).
8. Fold about one-third of the whites into the batter, then the remaining whites. Don't worry if you still see a few white specks, they'll disappear during baking.
9. Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet or sticky), about 10 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it's done. Watch carefully and don't let the top brown.
10. Leave the crust in the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the cheesecake batter.
Cheesecake Filling Directions:
1. Place one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl and beat with an electic mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times.
2. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.
3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one.
4. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix! Gently spoon the batter over the crust.
5. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours.
6. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (don't move it at all).
7. After two hours, leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or for at least 4 hours.
8. To serve, release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

 Junior's Tips:
• Bake the cheesecake crust in the same spring-form pan you're using for the cheesecake. Watch the crust closely; since it's so thin, it needs only 10-12 minutes to bake.
• Always bake the cheesecake in a water bath, as they do at Junior's. It keeps the heat in the oven moist and helps the cake bake slowly, gently, and evenly. This helps ensure that your cheesecake comes out of the oven with a smooth top and no large cracks


bermudaonion said...

I love to bake cheesecakes but don't really care to eat them. I do have that cookbook. You should come to BEA one year and get a slice of that cheesecake at the source. ;)

Beth F said...

My husband's favorite dessert is cheesecake -- I need to make this one for him so he can taste the best!!

Tina said...

That looks like a good one. Wow, nice and creamy. I have not heard of the brand before.

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

We always send Junior's as treats to friends and family. It is the best.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Debbie,

Junior's cheesecake is theeee best! I still remember the first time I went to Junior's when I was a child. An experience and a cheesecake to remember:)

Yours looks stunning. I've been wanting that book forever. I think I better move it up on my wish list, lol...

Thank you so much for stirring up those memories and sharing...

Cecelia said...

I haven't had a craving for cheesecake in a while, but the next time it hits, I'll know where to come! Thanks for sharing! I'm glad it was so delicious.

Susan Lindquist said...

I am SOOO going to make this cheesecake the next time (Thanksgiving) I put one together ... that filling looks so silky smooth! How did you get such a clean and smooth cut on that slice in the photo? I MUST know the secret!

Mary R. said...

I grew up in Brooklyn and have great memories of eating at Juniors. I have eaten a ton (hopefully not literally) of Junior's cheesecake and it is the best. I own this book and love it. The split pea soup is a total go-to recipe in the winter. (Yes, put the bullion granules in, they make it super yummy).

Couscous & Consciousness said...

That is one amazing looking cheesecake. I'm intrigued by the idea of the sponge crust, but I think I'd opt for the ease (and the crunch) of a biscuit-crumb crust.

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