New York Style Cheesecake with Raspberry Puree

Recipes by Nancy Johnson | Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

Rich and dense, New York cheesecake is one of the most popular versions of cheesecake. According to legend, the recipe dates to 1929, when it was developed and served at Turf Restaurant in New York City. However, the history of cheesecake goes back even further: the ancient Greeks served cheesecake to the first Olympian athletes in 776 B.C. For the record, true New York cheesecake is served plain, with no topping, puree or sauce.


8 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces

6 TBS unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 TBS sugar

About 1 TBS softened butter for pan


2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup sour cream

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large egg yolks

6 large eggs

Raspberry Puree

3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Make the crust: In a food processor, process crackers to fine crumbs. Add melted butter and sugar and process until mixed together. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Use a spatula or the bottom of a glass to firmly press down the crumbs. Bake until just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Make the filling: Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Cut cream cheese into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Add sugar and salt in two batches, beating for 3 minutes after each addition. Beat in sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and eggs until combined, about 1 minute.

Set the pan with the baked crust on a baking sheet. Carefully pour filling over crust. Bake 10 minutes in 500-degree oven. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees. Bake cheesecake about 1-1/2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of cheesecake registers 150 degrees. Transfer cheesecake to rack and run knife around edge to loosen. Let cool 2 hours, then refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. To serve, remove sides of pan and let cheesecake sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Serves about 12.

Make raspberry puree: In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring raspberries, sugar, water and salt to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar is melted, about 2 minutes. Process the mixture in food processor. Press through a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl, extracting as much puree as possible. Discard solids. Stir in lemon juice. If puree isn’t sweet enough, add a bit more sugar. Cool completely. Serve under or over cheesecake slices.

Gary: With the fresh berries, look for a richly sweet red wine that will pair nicely with the fruit. A Brachetto d’Acqui (still or sparkling); Ruby, Late Bottled Vintage or Vintage Port; Banyuls; or Mavrodaphne would echo the berry fruit notes. A late-harvest white would also be a fine choice, such as an ice wine, or, in a lighter style, a Muscat Beaumes de Venise.

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