Maggiano's New York Style Cheesecake

Maggiano’s New York Style Cheesecake

“Keith Brunell, executive chef/partner, was happy to share a few ingredient clues. This is one of the lightest, tallest, creamiest, most divine cheesecakes around - and it’s loaded with cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sour cream. The trick for success is to purchase the least-grainy ricotta cheese (Polly-O, available at Monte Carlo in Burbank and other Italian delis, works well) and beat the mixture well. Also, bake as the restaurant does, in a water bath, in a 250-degree oven for several hours. After a few tests, we came up with a version that comes close to the restaurant’s. Served with fresh strawberries, strawberry sauce and whipped cream, it’s wonderful.”

12 ladyfingers (Savoiardi, available at Italian markets)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted

3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup ricotta cheese (Polly-O brand preferred)
2 cups dairy sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 eggs (should measure 1/2 cup)

whipped cream and fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce, if desired.

TO MAKE THE CRUST: In a food processor, combine broken up ladyfingers with butter and process until mixture is in fine crumbs. Press onto bottom only of a 9-inch springform pan (3 inches high). Wrap a double thickness of foil around bottom and all the way up sides of outside of pan.

TO MAKE THE FILLING: In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat cream
cheese, ricotta cheese, sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice about 6 to 7
minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar and continue beating 3 to 4
minutes, until very smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after
each addition. Pour mixture into crust-lined pan.

TO BAKE: Put springform pan into a larger baking pan and carefully add hot
water to come 1/3 way up side of springform pan (best to do this on oven

Bake in preheated 250-degree F oven 4 to 4 1/2 hours or until set and knife
inserted near center comes out clean. (Top should be pale golden, if at

Remove springform pan from larger baking pan and cool to room temperature.
While cake is still warm, run tip of a sharp knife gently around sides to
loosen cake from pan. Refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours or longer.

TO SERVE: Carefully remove springform side of pan. Cut cheesecake into
slices with a sharp knife dipped into hot water and wiped dry. Serve cold
with whipped cream and fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce, if desired.

Makes 1 (9-inch) cheesecake