Done right, even the simplest food can wow. Chef Baba Izabeta-Benedicto has proven this time and again through her array of creations in Classic Confections*. From her Chocolate Oblivion to her Lemon Torte, she transforms familiar sweets into sophisticated desserts. She continues the same style at Nono’s, where she refines everyday comfort fare.
Chef Baba shows us that even amateur cooks can elevate homemade food. She shares her recipe for a New York-style cheesecake topped with fresh berries. The process is incredibly simple; and as long as you invest in quality ingredients and have the patience to do everything right (i.e. cooling the cake overnight), then you end up with the fluffiest cheesecake ever.
* Classic Confections has closed all of their stores, but you can still find their desserts in Nono’s branches.
Graham Cracker Crust
- crushed graham crackers
- melted butter
- 4 packs cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups sour cream
- 8 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- powdered sugar
Prepare for baking: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch cheesecake pan.
Make the crust: Combine crushed graham crackers with melted butter. Mix until well combined. Transfer crust to the cheesecake pan, pressing down to evenly cover the bottom. You can also put some crust up to the sides of the pan.
Make cheesecake mixture: Add cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until smooth. Add eggs to the mixture one at a time, making sure that the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add sour cream; mix until smooth. Add sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Beat for 2 minutes, then transfer mixture into the cheesecake pan.
Bake: Gently tap the pan on the counter to pop any air bubbles inside the batter. Place the cheesecake pan inside a bigger tray, like a roasting or a baking pan. Pour hot water into the tray. Transfer the tray with the cheesecake pan into the oven and bake for 2 hours.
Chill and serve: Once baked, let the cheesecake cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Place in the fridge then leave to cool overnight. To serve, remove cheesecake from the pan and top with fruits. Sift a thin layer of powdered sugar over the fruits to finish.