yields: one 8 in. round cheesecake
+30-33 honey graham cracker squares
+3 Tbs brown sugar
+1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
+1 and 1/2 lbs (three 8oz packages) cream cheese
+1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
+juice of 1 lemon
+3/4 cup milk
+3/4 cup sour cream
+1 Tbs vanilla extract
+1/4 cup flour
For Sour Cream Topping:
+1 cup sour cream
+1/4 cup sugar
+1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
(NOTE: you may use a water bath if you like, but I have problems with water baths leaking into my cheesecakes even with an aluminum foil shell, and so I place a pan of water to the side of the cheesecake to keep the moist atmosphere)
Before you begin, please have the eggs and cream cheese ready at room temperature. If you plan on making a cheesecake as a gift, cut a parchment paper round to fit the bottom of the springform pan using the pan itself to trace the circle. Butter the sides of the pan, and place the paper circle at the bottom. This is so you can life the cheesecake off the bottom of the pan to place in a box or on some sort of cardboard/paper plate.
In a food processor, process the graham crackers to fine crumbs, then combine the brown sugar and pulse a few times to distribute. Add the butter, and process until crumbs are moistened and start to stick and hold together. Using plastic food wrap as a glove, press the graham cracker crumbs into the springform pan and halfway up the sides. Pre-bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes before pouring in the filling.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Then mix in the milk until smooth. Mix in the eggs one at a time until just incorporated. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla, and flour and mix until smooth. Pour the crust into the prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour or until the center is almost set. Turn off oven and let the cake cool inside with the door closed for 5-6 hours. Doing this will prevent cracks, and will also keep the cake from sinking in the middle (the top will be perfectly even and smooth). After, put in refrigerator and chill until serving.
Meanwhile, make the sour cream topping. Mix together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread on the cake after it is chilled, and AFTER you have removed the sides of the springform pan. To remove the sides, run a knife along the edges of the cake carefully, then pull the latch all the way open. For a clean, smooth cut, dip your knife into hot water and wipe with a paper towel after each use when cutting the cake.
I garnished with berries and lemon zest :)
(May be stored and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days)