This recipe looks long, but it’s really only three simple steps: make the crust, make the filling and make the topping. The instructions are just detailed so that even a first-timer can have a perfect result.
1 cup graham, chocolate or vanilla wafer crumbs
2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter
2 - 8-oz pkg cream cheese, warmed (low-fat works, too)
3/4 cup sugar (sugar substitutes work well, too)
2 eggs (warm 5 minutes in a bowl of warm water)
1/2 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt (optional)
1-2 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla.
The recipe and cook times are for a 7” cheesecake pan. Adjusted times for other pan sizes are included below. It is not necessary to line the side of the pan with parchment paper. It buckles and mars the edge. No need to cover it with tin foil before cooking, either. This is a very simple recipe.
**Important: Warm the cream cheese.Trust me on this. I've been making these for 45 years. It's MUCH easier to blend if it's warmer than room temperature and it only takes a few minutes right out of the fridge. Put the wrapped cream cheese in a ziplock bag, but don't seal it. Push it into a sink or bowl full of hot tap water to force the air out and THEN seal the ziplock. Weight it down with a plate for about 15 minutes. It will be very soft and easy to blend.
Lining the bottom with parchment is optional. Spray it with baking spray if you prefer. And don't press the crust in too firmly. It will be easier to serve if you use a gentle touch
Mix ingredients with a fork and gently press it in the bottom of the pan and up the sides a bit if you like. Put it in the freezer or if you prefer, bake it at 350 degrees for 9 minutes, then cool completely.
Mix all ingredients except the eggs until completely smooth. Add the eggs and beat until just incorporated. Overbeating with the eggs in the batter is the main cause of cracking on the surface of a cheesecake. It isn't a big deal and the top of the cheesecake will be hidden with whatever topping you choose, but to avoid cracks, try not to over mix it.
Put 1 1/2 cups water and the trivet into the Instant Pot. Place the cheesecake on the trivet, close the lid and set the valve to Sealing. Hit Pressure Cook (or Manual) and use the + and – buttons to get to 26 minutes for a 7-inch pan. This will produce a perfect, creamy filling. If you prefer a denser texture, cook it for 28 minutes.
PAN SIZE AND COOK TIMES:
6-inch pan --- 29 minutes (31 for dense texture)
7-inch pan --- 26 minutes (28 for dense texture)
8-inch pan --- 24 minutes (26 for dense texture)
4-inch pans or Individual ramekins or mason jars --- 12 minutes
For 1 1/2 times the recipe:
7–inch pan --- 29 minutes (32 for a dense texture)
8-inch pan --- 27 minutes (30 for a dense texture)
For two times the recipe:
8-inch pan --- 33 minutes (35 for a dense texture)
When it beeps that it's done, leave it for a 15-minutes natural release. Then flip the valve to Venting for a quick release. When the pin drops, take out the cheesecake.
It may appear "jiggly." That's GOOD. It will firm up as it chills. It may have some condensation on the surface. If so, gently blot it with a paper towel.
Leave it to cool on the counter for an hour. It will settle down and flatten out.
Whisk the sour cream or yogurt, sugar and vanilla. Spread over the cheesecake. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate it in the pan for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
In my opinion, this is the hardest part of the whole recipe... the waiting.
To serve, run a paring knife around the edge to release it from the side of the pan. If using a push pan, set it on a peanut butter jar or a can of tomatoes and pull the ring straight down. Voila. Perfect cheesecake.
It's great the way it is, but you can top it with, oh my gosh...just about anything: lemon curd, sliced mangoes, berries, cherry or blueberry pie filling, chocolate ganache, caramel sauce.... you get the idea.
Okay...last step: prepare yourself. There will be applause.
Add up to 2 tablespoons of any liquor or liqueur to the basic cheesecake recipe without adjusting the other ingredients. If adding 2-4 tablespoons, add an extra egg yolk.
Add 1/4 cup key lime juice, 2 tsp lime zest, 3 additional Tbsp sugar, and one egg yolk to the basic batter. Add 1 minute to the cooking time. Everything else is the same. When it is chilled, decorate with whipped cream and lime zest or toasted coconut.