Thursday, August 23, 2007
LINDY'S NEW YORK CHEESECAKE
This recipe has been around a long time. Lindy's is the daddy of all cheesecakes. The restaurant went out of business in the 70's without ever having given out the recipe for their world famous cheesecake. Gourmet Magazine published what they called the authentic recipe in a 1951 publication and it made the rounds like all good recipes. I have it in several old cookbooks and it's all over the internet. I don't know why I never made it. Always wanted to. The thought of making a real cookie crust rolled onto the springform pan intimidated me, as did working with the insane temperatures. Well call this my last fling or whatever, but I finally bit the bullet. Problems started early with the cookie crust. I guess I rolled it too thin and turned my back on the oven. I set the timer for 10 minutes, but the cookie must have gotten done at 5 minutes, because when I smelled it burning it was too late! I quickly made another batch of cookie dough and this time rolled it thicker. The dough is very short, so hard to roll and work with. Rather than overload it with flour and get a tough cookie, I worked with it in pieces. No problem it went on the pan fine. Next the temperatures. I used the cheap Wilton 9-inch springform pan that comes in a set of 3 from Wal-Mart for about $10.00. It's nonstick and dark. So I lowered the temperatures by 25 degrees to compensate for dark pan. I also put the pan on a bright aluminum cookie sheet because I didn't know if it would spill over. The 9" pan filled right up to the edge of the cookie dough. Be sure you go up a generous 3/4 when you put the cookie dough on the sides, or you'll be short. Since the batter went up so high, I expected it to rise like other cheesecakes, but I was pleasantly surprised. It stayed right there the whole time. I also put a pan of hot water beneath the cheesecake. The cheesecake batter itself I made in my Cuisinart food processor (14-cup) -- I also did the cookie dough in the Cuisinart and just wiped it out before doing the cheesecake batter. (I think the Cuisinart makes a better cheesecake batter, but I could be wrong. I would have to do the same recipe two different ways to be sure.) The timing and temperatures on this recipe are genuinely scary. I set the oven at 525 for 10 minutes, then without opening the oven door, set the oven down to 225 and set the timer on one hour. At the end of an hour, I opened the door and jiggled the pan. It was very wiggly and I knew it was not done. Since I had opened the door briefly, I turned the oven back on and it registered 281 degrees. I turned it back off and let the cheesecake sit for another half hour. I checked it again and it didn't wiggle, so I took it out and let it cool. Then I was worried I overbaked it. I cooled it completely on the counter, then put it in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap overnight. (It's best not to serve it the day you make it.) When I sliced into it the next day, it was absolutely perfect! The flavorings in this recipe are excellent and the texture is divine -- like eating solidified cream. The cookie crust is tender and not at all overpowering. Served with fresh fruit and a mint sprig it's an elegant dessert to grace any table. What I especially like about this recipe is that the batter does not crack, does not puff up and does not change. Please try it. It's not hard, you just have to take care. I will definitely make it again and again. Now for the final note: my neighbor called me yesterday to ask if she could buy a dessert from me for a party she is having Saturday. Voila! I had just put 3/4 of the cheesecake in the freezer and she only needs a half. She was delighted as was I because I am wanting to sell some of my desserts now. I have been giving them away like crazy and selling them will help to validate me, which is what this is all about. Anyway, you will get 12-16 servings from this cheesecake, depending on your appetite. I think 16 if you serve it with fruit. It's very rich. Here's the recipe with my changes:
Ingredients: CRUST 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 tsp. lemon zest (I used a microplane grater)
FILLING 24 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
16 oz. Philadelphia Neufchatel cheese, softened (recipe calls for 40 oz.
of cream cheese)
1-3/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp. ea. lemon zest and orange zest
5 eggs plus 2 egg yolks, room temp
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (recipe calls for 1/2 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (recipe does not call for lemon juice)
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temp
3 Tbsp. flour
DIRECTIONS Place all dough ingredients in food processor and pulse several times till dough starts to leave sides of processor. If dough is too dry and doesn't come together, just add a teaspoon or more of lemon juice and pulse again. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in fridge at lease one hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove ring from 9" springform pan. Roll almost a half of the dough on lightly floured wax paper to about 1/8 thickness and place on bottom of pan. (Alternately, you can just press the dough onto the pan, conforming to fit.) Trim edges to fit and bake in preheated oven 8-12 minutes, checking at 8 minutes. Remove when dough is a light golden brown. Cool. Place the springform sides over the baked base. Roll the remaining dough about 1/8 inch thick and cut to fit sides of pan. It will be easier if you butter the sides first. This will give the dough something to cling to. Be sure you seal the base. Just lightly press the new dough to overlap slightly on the base. When you are all done, take a plastic knife and trim the dough so that it comes a generous 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pan.
Turn the oven to 550 degrees (or 525 if you are using dark or coated pan). Be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Don't rush this process. Place 1 block of cheese and 1/3 cup of sugar in the food processor and blend smooth for about 10 seconds. Continue with additional blocks of cheese and sugar till all are processed. Add the lemon and orange zests and the 2 egg yolks and process again till smooth. Add the remaining 5 eggs, one at a time, processing till smooth after each addition. Add heavy cream and vanilla, processing till smooth. Lastly, add flour and just pulse briefly till combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes, then, without opening oven door, reduce temperature to 250 (or 225 for dark or coated pans) and continue to bake for one more hour. Check the cake for doneness by jiggling pan. If it wiggles, close the oven door and leave in oven for 15-30 minutes longer. When cake no longer wiggles, it is done. Remove to cake rack to cool. Cool completely before covering and placing in fridge overnight. May be frozen for up to 6 months.