1 cup finely ground graham crackers (one sleeve of crackers run through the food processor should work)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
Boiling water, for roasting pan
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 8-inch springform pan (including base) in a triple layer of foil; set aside.
2. Stir together cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of pan and up the sides. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
3. Put cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each until just combined (do not overmix). Pour cream cheese filling over crust.
4. Set cake pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake until cake is set but slightly wobbly in the center, 60 to 70 minutes. Then turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for another 30 minutes.
5. Transfer cake pan to rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around edge of cake.
Here's the finished cheesecake!
Notice the crack? Putting the boiling water in the pan around the baking cheesecake is supposed to prevent this, but it still cracked anyway. But who cares....cherries to the rescue!
Mmmmm, much better. :)