I was born on a Monday.
It was a good day to arrive in New York City.
No one expected me.
Everything awaited me.
from Just Kids by Patti Smith
I ate. I drank. I walked. And walked. And ate again. I returned to the places I knew and arrived in new places. I navigated successfully without the aid of a smartphone, armed only with my memory and a map. I embraced old friends and said goodbye to places I will never see again. I celebrated the artistic triumph of my father and the birthday of my mother. I drank wine in Little Italy, ate red bean buns in China Town, devoured pork cheeks and Baked Alaska in SoHo as fat flakes of snow fell from the sky. I drank a flat white like a hipster with friends in NoLita, swooned over pickled herring, salmon with schmear and lotsa babka in the Lower East Side, and marveled at the mountains of cannolis, eclairs and sfogliatelli near St. Mark's Place.
In short, I filled up on New York, but still hungered for home.
Makes 1 - 9" cake
For the crust
5 oz breadcrumbs, cookie crumbs or graham crumbs
1 oz powdered sugar
5/8 oz flour
3 oz melted butter
For the filling
2 1/2 lb ricotta cheese (drained until thick, room temperature)
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
5 oz sour cream, room temperature
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
2 oz cornstarch
12 oz superfine sugar
1/2 tsp salt
For the crust
Preheat a conventional oven to 350 F.
Combine the crumbs, powdered sugar and flour in a bowl. Pour the melted butter over the mix and stir to combine.
Butter or spray a 9" spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter or spray the paper as well.
Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan until it is evenly distributed. The recipe makes enough crust for just the base of the pan. I never bother trying to get a crust on the sides - it's annoying :)
Par-bake the crust for about 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let it cool while you make the filling.
For the filling
Process the ricotta cheese in a blender or robo coupe until very smooth. Whisk the ricotta together with the other ingredients by hand until well combined. Alternatively, you can beat everything together in stand mixer or whiz it all in a blender. Pour the filling into the pan directly on top of the cooled crust. Tap the pan a few times to release air bubbles.
Place the cheesecake onto the center rack of the oven and bake for about an 1 hour. The cheesecake will puff up dramatically and get very beautifully browned, especially around the edges. If the center doesn't puff as much, don't fret! Everything will settle down to a flat layer after it cools. The cake is done when the top is nicely browned and it doesn't jiggle loosely. A firm jiggle is what you want.
Let the cake cool on a rack completely in the pan. I find the best way to remove it from the pan and slice it is to chill it overnight in the refrigerator first. Run a sharp knife dipped in hot water around the edges of the pan and remove the collar. Finally, freeze the cheesecake for about 30 minutes, slice it with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and either serve it cold or at room temperature.