Let's make our cheesecake a little more special. In my kitchen, the word "special" equates to more sugar. So we had a very special cheesecake indeed, with praline, AND with brandy sauce. Good thing Sunday fellowship meal only comes once a week, or none of us would fit in our Sunday clothes!
I used the recipe multiplied by 10 to make 5 full size pans. Press down graham cracker mixture with a 1-cup measuring cup onto greased pans.
Mix sugar and cream cheese together first to ensure smooth mixture. If you add sugar later, you will have small lumps of cream cheese which will be very hard to break down later.
Add eggs in small batches at a time.
Even though I would love to use spring form pans to make prettier cheesecakes, it is very time consuming to bake and serve, so for practical reasons, we usually use flat cake pans.
Since cheesecake is baked in shallow pans, it is easy to over bake. Use thermometer to ensure internal temperature stays around 150 degrees F. To prevent surface cracking, there are different methods you can apply. But we will talk about it later.
After cheesecake is cooled, and sliced, top with sauce and praline.
If you are using a full size pan (24x9x2), double the recipe per pan.
Graham Cracker Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (4 ounces, 8 whole crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed in food processor until uniformly fine)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus additional 1 tablespoon melted butter for greasing pan
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese , cut into rough 1-inch chunks and left to stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup sour cream (2 1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
6 large eggs
1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in medium bowl; add 5 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Empty crumbs into springform pan if using, or flat cake pan and press evenly into pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
2. For the cheesecake filling: Keep oven temperature to 325 degrees. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula; add salt and sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 2-3 minute, scraping the bowl often. Add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl; add whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, and scraping bowl between additions.
Note: when you are mixing in large volume, increase the addition of eggs, but do not over beat eggs, which creates a lot of air in batter, resulting in badly cracked surface.
3.Pour filling into cooled crust and bake until internal temperature reaches about 150 degrees. 35-45 minutes for flat pans. 55 minutes or longer for springform pan. Cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)
4.Serve with praline and sauce.