Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
for the shortbread crust:
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons)|168 grams cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup|70 grams confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups|260 grams all-purpose flour
for the cheesecake:
4 (8-ounce|225 gram) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup|232 grams granulated sugar
1/4 cup|40 grams cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large whole eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
3/4 cup|180 grams sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Make the shortbread crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and confectioners' sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
2. Add the salt and vanilla and beat on low speed until mixture is fully incorporated. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the mixture is fully incorporated and the dough comes together. Shape the dough into 2 discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch springform pan and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one ball of dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use the pan as a template and trim the dough the fit the pan. Carefully lay the disc of dough inside the pan and press down, fitting evenly. Using a fork, prick the dough to ensure even baking. Place the pan in the center of the oven, directly on the middle shelf. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
4. Make the cheesecake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until it's light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl to prevent lumps from forming.
5. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cake flour, and salt. Stir until well combined. Add the contents of the medium mixing bowl to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is fully incorporated.
6.. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Slowly add first the whole eggs and then the egg yolk to the bowl, one at a time. After add each, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue beating on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is fully incorporated.
7. Add the sour cream and the vanilla to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth. The mixture should be well blended, but not over beaten.
8. Heat the oven to 375°F. Generously grease and flour the springform pan and pour the batter into it. Place the springform pan in the center of the oven, directly on the middle shelf. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the cake 180° to ensure even browning.
9. Bake for 15 minutes more, and again rotate the pan 180°. The cake should be starting to soufflé and should be light in color. Continue to bake for 10 minutes more, for a total of 40 minutes at 375°F.
10. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and leave the oven door slightly ajar. The cake should be golden brown and lightly souffléd on the sides. Leave the cake in the oven for 10 minutes more. (This step and the two that follow allow the cake to cool to room temperature gently, preventing cracking.) Give the cake a gentle shake; it is done if the center of the cake jiggles and the surface of the cake is slightly firm. Turn the oven off and open the oven door wide. Leave the cake in the oven for 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
11. Loosen the cheesecake from the springform pan by sliding an offset spatula around the inside ring. Remove the springform pan from the cake and transfer to a plate. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.
12. Transfer to the freezer for 2 to 3 hours before slicing.
13. Slice the cake with a thin, non-serrated knife that is dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each slice. Serve immediately with fresh fruit or store in the freezer well wrapped for up to 3 months.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This recipe has been reprinted with permission of the author from The Eli's Cheesecake Cookbook: Remarkable Recipes from a Chicago Legend.