(One 9-inch cake/10 to 12 servings)
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1 recipe cheesecake crust (see below)
24 ounces cream cheese, softened (685 grams/3 cups/720 ml)
1½ cups granulated sugar (10.5 ounces/300 grams/360 ml)
2 cups sour cream (17 ounces/485 grams/480 ml)
About 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (30 ml)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (10 ml)
¼ teaspoon salt (1.25 ml)
4 large eggs (¾ cup/6 fluid ounces/7 ounces/200 grams)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (165 C). Place a large pan of water on bottom shelf and pour in an inch of boiling water. Grease sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Double wrap outside of pan with heavy-duty foil.
2. Prepare desired crust as described above. Let cool.
3. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. On low speed, beat in eggs.
4. Pour into prepared springform pan. Set in water bath. Bake until firm around the edges (2-inches in the center will jiggle slightly, but firms during cooling) and lightly browned or registers about 150 degrees on an instant-red thermometer (about 1½ hours). Do not test with a knife, which cracks the cake. Run a sharp, thin knife around the outside of cake to loosen from pan.
5. Turn off oven, open door, and let cool in oven for 30 minutes. Immediately move to refrigerator and let cool uncovered. If desired, spread with a topping. Cover with plastic wrap or an inverted bowl and chill overnight and up to 4 days. Or freeze for up to 2 months. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Graham Cracker Crust
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 20 whole/6 ounces/170 grams/360 ml)
3 tablespoons granulated or packed brown sugar (45 ml)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or vanilla extract (optional) (2.5 ml)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted (¾ stick/3 ounces/85 grams)
Combine crumbs, sugar, and, if desired, cinnamon or vanilla. Stir in melted butter. Press onto bottom of greased 9-inch springform pan. Chill.
Sour Cream Topping
1½ cups sour cream (12.25 ounces/350 grams/360 ml)
¼ cup (60 ml) confectioners' sugar or 3 tablespoons (45 ml) granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract (3.75 ml)
Combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla and spread over top of the cooled cheesecake.