In Ruth Reichl's book, Garlic and Sapphires, this recipe was at the front of the book and I tucked it away in my mind for future baking. Very creamy, the hint of lemon is just right, and the sour cream topping should be on top of every cheesecake. Reichl's recipe calls for gum-free cream cheese--this is not at my market so I used regular cream cheese. The only thing I would do differently is to follow the directions exactly after slathering on the sour cream--the recipe says bake for another 12 minutes and I cooked it for 13 minutes which I think overcooked it a bit. So, darn, I will need to make it again...
NEW YORK CHEESECAKE
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 6 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, preferably without gum, at room temperature
3 teaspoons vanilla
grated zest of one lemon
2 cups sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the graham crackers with 1/4 cup sugar and the melted butter and press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch ungreased springform pan. Chill while preparing filling.
Beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, 2 teaspoons of the vanilla, and lemon zest until smooth. Pour into chilled crust and bake 50 minutes to an hour, or until the cheese is set and starting to turn golden in spots. Remove from the oven (leave oven on) and cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.
Stir together the sour cream, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining teaspoon of vanilla and spread over cooled cake. Return to oven for 12 minutes until glossy and set.
Cool completely, cover, and chill at least 8 hours.