By Patrick Kruger
Join BCC’s Celebrity Chef on a Journey Through Culinary Classics
Greetings, and welcome to the inaugural edition of Chef Sweet P’s Secret Reci-Ps. I’m your host, the venerable—nay, inimitable—celebrity with integrity, the culinary MVP of BCC who makes you say “OMG,” Chef Sweet P. So glad you could join us for the start of what is sure to become as indispensable to your cooking as salt. If, somehow, you disagree, simply toss it over your left shoulder (or is it right?) and move on.
On today’s episode, we’ll be whipping up one of Sweet P’s oldest, and most closely guarded, Secret Reci-Ps®. As with so many of Sweet P’s best, this recipe for a classic New York-style cheesecake comes to us from Smitten Kitchen®. Get ready for a magic-carpet ride around the mixing bowl; after tasting this comely confection, you’ll be telling that fabled genie-in-a-bottle that you only need two wishes.
Baking Sweet P’s (Smitten Kitchen’s) classic NY Cheesecake is easy as 1, 2, 3: Dream, Believe, Achieve! Dream… of Graham Cracker Crust
■ 8 oz. (15 full sheets) graham crackers
■ 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
■ ½ cup sugar
■ ¼ tsp salt
The first step in preparing our graham cracker crust is grinding the crackers into a fine powder. This is, perhaps, the second most fun thing you can do in a kitchen. Seal the crackers inside a Ziplock bag, grab your rolling pin, and get grinding!
Oh yeah! Haven’t had this much fun grinding since Nelly dropped “Hot in Herre”!
Sweet P likes to think of this process as breaking all those negative thoughts down into unrecognizable pieces. Rough day at work? Smash it! Got fired for shoving your face under the soft serve machine? Pulverize it!
Once the graham crackers have been reduced to graham-cracker sawdust, pour them into a medium mixing bowl and stir in the sugar, salt, and melted butter. Then press this synergistic surprise into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (note: do not use fall or winterform), in a layer approximately ¼ inch thick. Place in the freezer to set while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
A solid crust is as important to your cheesecake as the Earth’s crust is to all of the stuff on Earth. When you’re finished, the crust should look something like THIS.
Believe… in fluffy Cheesecake Filling
■ 5 (8-oz.) packages of cream cheese
■ 1¾ cup sugar
■ 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
■ 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
■ 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
■ 5 large eggs
■ 2 large egg yolks
■ ½ tsp vanilla extract
This step is about as simple as they come: toss all ingredients in the largest bowl you own, find an electric mixer and your inner-DJ, and MIX. IT. UP. Remove the graham cracker crust, which should now be set, from the freezer. Pour the filling into the crust, preheat oven to 550⁰ F (seriously), and bake for 12 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 200⁰ and continue baking for one hour. Allow cake to cool and set in refrigerator for six hours.
Achieve… tantalizing Cherry Topping
■ 10 oz. sweet cherries, pitted
■ 2 tbsp lemon juice
■ ¼ cup sugar
■ 1 tbsp corn starch
■ ½ cup water
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan (like this: ). Boil two minutes. Cool. Spread. Done!