From the Blue Bloods Cookbook
There are two types of cheesecake in the world: coarse-textured Italian cheesecake made with ricotta cheese, and the smooth and creamy New York–style cheesecake made with cream cheese and sour cream. If you’re a New York Irish family, you go for the New York–style. Ours has a blue topping in honor of the NYPD and their uniforms—see below for the recipe.
This cheesecake is silky smooth with a melt-on-your-tongue texture. We make our crust with walnuts in addition to the classic graham crackers, which give it a crunchier, slightly more interesting taste and texture. The secret to a crack-free New York–style cheesecake is a water bath underneath the cake while baking. Bake it carefully, and this super-creamy dessert will look as beautiful as it tastes. Serves 6 to 8
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1 cup finely diced walnuts
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Four 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups sour cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham crackers, walnuts, and confectioners’ sugar and stir until well mixed. Slowly pour in the melted butter, stirring with a fork until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated and an even texture.
3. Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch springform pan. Using the back of a large spoon, ﬁrm the mixture into place along the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Press to ensure the crust is an even thickness all over. Refrigerate the crust.
4. Make the ﬁlling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Beat on low until the ﬁlling is smooth.
5. Assemble the cheesecake: Pour the ﬁlling into the chilled crust. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in aluminum foil to protect against leaks. Sit the pan in a high- sided baking sheet or large roasting pan and add warm water to come about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes.
6. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, dollop the sour cream on top, and spread it in an even layer. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
7. Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When the cheesecake is chilled, carefully run a thin knife around the edges before removing the cake from the springform pan. Use a hot knife to cut slices, cleaning the knife between each cut.
BLUE BLOODS KITCHEN TIP:
Macerating fruit is a wonderful way to make toppings for pastry, ice cream, cakes, and other desserts. The process uses sugar and an acid (normally citrus, but sometimes vinegar) to break down the fruit and draw out the flavors and juices. The fruit should be refrigerated for hours if possible, to make the topping as syrupy as possible. You can also use a shortcut if time is limited. Simmer the same ingredients in a small saucepot for about five minutes, or until the fruit begins to break down. Let it cool before using, or serve hot, if you prefer.
NYPD BLUE CHEESECAKE TOPPING
1 pint fresh blueberries (or substitute frozen if out of season)
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
Combine the ingredients in a glass bowl and stir until the fruit is completely coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until ready to use. Carefully spread the blueberry topping evenly across the top of the cake, or give your dinner guests more control over their dessert by serving the cheesecake with the topping on the side.
CREDIT: From The Blue Bloods Cookbook by Bridget Moynahan and Wendy Howard Goldberg. Copyright ©2015 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.
BRIDGET MOYNAHAN plays Erin Reagan—assistant D.A., mom, and daughter of Police Commissioner Frank Reagan—on Blue Bloods. Moynahan’s film credits include I, Robot and The Sum of All Fears, and she played Mrs. Big on Sex and the City. She lives in New York City and Los Angeles.
WENDY HOWARD GOLDBERG is the bestselling co-author of Marry Me! and a contributing editor of Hollywood Moms. Wife of Leonard Goldberg, executive producer of Blue Bloods, Wendy is also the founder of the California State Summer School for the Arts.