reamy cheesecake? Yes, please! This version of the classic is easy as can be, and the bomb to boot. There's really no other way to say it. When I first discovered this recipe, I knew I would return to it often, and I've made it many, many times in the years since. It's soft, creamy and very, very delicious. Which is not to say that it doesn't firm up properly--it does. It's just not the more "stiff" version so often associated with the New York, plain cheesecake style...
As I've said before, back in "the day," (2000, a lifetime ago in many ways) epicurious.com was THE go-to site for recipes. It still is, in many cases. How much better does it get than the combined recipe libraries of Bon Appetit and Gourmet?
Apparently I either have a very short memory, or I never properly understood the origins of the name of this recipe, but it's not about SPAIN per se, but a cafe in Santa Fe (now closed) where they made this dessert. So if, like me, you were wondering which three cities in Spain? Don't worry about it. Just make some cheesecake and enjoy!
Three Cities of Spain cheesecake
1 crumb-crust recipe made with finely ground graham crackers
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
(I often make a larger springform with four packages of cream cheese and five eggs... I also very rarely make the following topping, but when I do, it is quite delicious as well...)
16 oz sour cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Make crumb crust as directed.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make filling and bake cake: Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken. Let stand in baking pan on a rack 5 minutes. Leave oven on.
Make topping: Stir together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Drop spoonfuls of topping around edge of cake and spread gently over center, smoothing evenly. Bake cake with topping 10 minutes. Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side from pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
* All ingredients at room temperature make for a much smoother (ie, no lumps) mixture.
* Bake low and slow. I bake at 250, rather than the listed 350 degrees. The cheesecake top will crack nine times out of ten at 350. Take the extra time (will probably add an hour to your overall baking time). If, however, the top does crack: make the topping. It is an excellent disguise to a less-pretty cheesecake surface.
Sweet niece Lucy gave the nicest compliment during the cheesecake eating: "This is the best dessert I have ever eaten!" Bless you, Lu! I agree.