Alan Rosen, third generation owner of Junior’s Restaurant, proudly upholds the family’s cheesecake legacy. For over sixty years, generations of New Yorkers have visited Junior’s to eat fresh brisket, pastrami rubens, and of course, their New York Original Cheesecake, and also to kibbutz.
ORIGINAL NEW YORK CHEESECAKE
-One recipe 9-inch Junior’s Sponge Cake Crust (recipe follows)
-Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat) at room temperature
-1 2?3 cups sugar
-1?4 cup cornstarch
-1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 2 extra-large eggs
-3?4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Make and bake the cake crust and leave it in the pan. Keep the oven on.
2. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1?3 cup of the sugar, and the corn- starch in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.
3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 11?3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix! Gently spoon the batter over the crust.
4. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, about 11?4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away—don’t move it). Then, leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or for at least 4 hours.
5. To serve, release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
Master Baker Michael Goodman says: “Always bake the cheesecake in a water bath, as we do here at Junior’s. It keeps the heat in the oven moist and helps the cake bake slowly, gently, and evenly. This helps ensure that your cheesecake comes out of the oven with a smooth top—and no large cracks.”
Junior’s Sponge Cake Crust
For one 9-inch cake crust:
-1?3 cup sifted cake flour
-3?4 teaspoon baking powder
-Pinch of salt
-2 extra-large eggs, separated
-1?3 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-2 drops pure lemon extract
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1?4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 8- or 9-inch springform pan (preferably a nonstick one). Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.
2. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
3. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat until thick light yellow ribbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.
4. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. Now, blend in the melted butter.
5. Now, wash the mixing bowl and beaters really well (if even a little fat is left, this can cause the egg whites not to whip). Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry). Fold about one-third of the whites into the batter, then the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few white specks, as they’ll disappear during baking.
6. Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet or sticky), about 10 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it’s done. Watch carefully and don’t let the top brown. Leave the crust in the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the batter.