Baking your cheesecakes in a water bath is part of the secret to producing beautiful cheesecakes at home with a texture similar to those sold in the restaurant. The water surrounds your cheesecake to keep it moist as it cooks, and the moisture helps prevent ugly cracking. You’ll start the oven very hot for just a short time, then crank it down to finish.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted margarine
4 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large eggs
Fresh Berries and or Whipped Cream
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Place a large pan (that the cheesecake pan will fit inside) filled with about 1 inch of water into the oven while it preheats. This will be your water bath.
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs into a medium bowl and Mix in 1/3 cup melted butter. Press the crumb into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture flat into the bottom of the pan and about 1/3 the way up the side. Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan to keep the cheesecake dry when placed in the water bath in the oven. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done.
3. Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Blend the mixture for a couple minutes or until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and then add them to the cream cheese mixture. Blend the mixture just enough to integrate the eggs.
4. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling into it.
5. Carefully place the cheesecake into the preheated water bath. Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees F, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color. Remove the cheesecake from the oven to cool.
6. When the cheesecake has cooled, cover and chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. To serve, slice the cheesecake into 12 equal portions. Apply a pile of fresh berries or whipped cream to the top and serve.