Last week we had dessert at a restaurant called Junior’s. Junior’s is famous for a lot of things, but what most people know them for is their thick, dense, creamy cheesecake with a sponge cake crust. While the sponge cake crust is certainly delicious and a great way to make a cheesecake stand out from the rest, my personal preference is a graham cracker crust, so this weekend I baked Junior’s cheesecake (a recipe they give out at the door) on a regular graham cracker crust.
The cheesecake filling was flawless – no cracks and a perfectly creamy texture. Juniors’ technique of using cornstarch, a water bath and heavy cream assures this. As for the crust, the measurements below gave me an extremely thin crust. If you like a thicker crust, then double the measurements below.
Topping is optional. I made mine at the last minute just for fun, but this cheesecake really doesn’t need anything.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons granulated Sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese (not light), softened
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar (divided use)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- 2 extra large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and generously butter a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a mixing bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into bottom of pan.
- Set pan on a large sheet of heavy duty foil. Bring foil and up and around the side of the pan and press it tightly into the sides to make bottom water-proof. Do this (at least) twice. Bake crust on center rack for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
- Place one 8-ounce package cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minute, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of softened cream cheese.
- Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the sugar, then beat in the vanilla, lemon extract ( if using) and heavy cream. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, stirring only until completely blended. Over-beating the eggs contributes to cracking, so don’t beat too much air into the batter at this point.
- Spoon the cheese filling on top of the crumb layer. Set the foil-wrapped pan in a large shallow pan and add hot water so that water comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan – 55 minutes to an hour.
- Cool the cake on a wire rack for 1-2 hours, then refrigerate until it’s completely cold — at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Remove the sides of the springform pan and serve from pan bottom or transfer to a platter. Serve with fruit topping if desired.