4cups cream cheese, full fat, at room temperature, see Recipe Notes (4 blocks)
¼cupsour cream, full fat, at room temperature, see Recipe Notes
1½tsppure vanilla extract
5large eggs, at room temperature
toppings, like jams, fruit, or whipped cream, optional
Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Check to see if your 9-inch round springform pan fits in a large roasting pan (to use for the water bath). Don't worry if your roasting pan isn't big enough, just use a 9- x 13-in roasting pan to create steam (see water bath instructions below).
Make the crust: Prepare a graham cracker pie crust and press into a 9-inch round springform pan (you don't have to grease the pan first). Use a pastry tart tamper, the bottom of a measuring cup, or a straight sided glass tumbler to pack the crust down tightly.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely. Before adding the cheesecake batter, brush the top inside of the pan above the crust line with melted butter to help keep any batter that rises above the crust from sticking to the pan.
Make the filling: Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream, white wine, and vanilla extract and beat on low speed until fully combined.
On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. The idea is to incorporate the eggs without adding too much air to prevent cracks later.
Pour the cheesecake batter into the cooled crust. Use a small offset spatula or spoon to smooth it into an even layer.
Prepare the water bath: If you have a roasting pan large enough to fit your springform pan, wrap outside of the springform pan in a double layer of foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way to the top (although a good crust keeps filling from leaking out, the foil helps protect against water leaking in). Set the wrapped cheesecake in the roasting pan, and pour hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cheesecake (about 2 inches). Carefully transfer the roasting pan on the lower third rack in the oven.
If you don't have a roasting pan large enough to fit your springform pan, place a 9- x 13-inch baking pan at the bottom of the oven. Pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the pan. This creates steam to simulate the water bath. Put the cheesecake on the lower-third rack directly above the water-filled pan.
Continuing: Bake the cheesecake for 55 to 70 minutes or until the center is almost set. When it’s done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan.
Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven (with the water bath) as it cools down for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, then cool it completely at room temperature.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight. Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim.
Cut the cheesecake into slices with a sharp knife, wiping the knife and dipping it into warm water between each cut to get nice, neat slices.
Serve the cheesecake with any desired toppings. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Now isn’t the time for reduced fat or nonfat cream cheese. They contain fillers that might prevent the cheesecake from setting properly. Also, never substitute whipped cream cheese for the solid block (you don't want that extra air).It’s important to bring all cold ingredients to room temperature before beginning. They’ll combine quickly and evenly so you won’t risk over-mixing the batter. Beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky cheesecake batter. Who wants that?Baking the graham cracker crust sets it and keeps it from getting soggy or shifting when the cheesecake batter is added. Let the crust cool completely before adding the filling.To help prevent the cheesecake from deflating and cracking as it cools, avoid over-mixing the batter as best you can, especially when adding in the eggs. You don’t want air beaten into the eggs because it causes them to inflate while baking, then deflate when cooled. This can crack the cheesecake or form bubbles on the surface.If you notice the cheesecake browning too quickly on top, tent it with aluminum foil halfway through baking.This cheesecake can be made the day before you want to serve since it has to chill for quite some time. Another way to make this cheesecake ahead of time is to freeze it. Cheesecake can be frozen up to 2 or 3 months. Here's a helpful tutorial for freezing cheesecakes. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.