For the crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbs of butter melted
For the filling:
3 bricks of cream cheese softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint of sour cream
Juice of one lemon - about a quarter cup
I like to start by setting out the eggs, cream cheese, and sour cream so they can get close to room temperature.
I line the bottom of a ten inch spring-form dish with wax paper and give the inside a good spray with canola oil.
Melt the butter in a small mixing bowl and stir in the crumbs, sugar, and vanilla.
Dump the crust into the pan and spread out nice with the bottom of a jar or something of that nature.
Place the crust in the fridge while you make the filling, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
I juice the lemon and then crack the eggs into the same container while I work the creamy items...
Our house is pretty cold so I nuke the cream cheese to help soften it up - about 90 seconds typically. You just don't want it to curdle.
Beat on low speed until creamy smooth, then add the sweetened condensed milk. Continue to mix until well blended.
Add the sour cream and beat until smooth.
Then add the eggs and lemon juice and beat until smooth and creamy.
Pour the batter into the crust and smooth out the top with your favorite spatula.
I don't bake the cake in a water bath, but I bake it directly over a casserole dish with water in it. Don't know if it makes a difference, but I haven't had one crack in the cake since I started doing it this way.
Bake at 300 for one hour.
Then, turn off the oven, and let the cake cool in the oven for another hour. Don't open the oven to look at it - it's fine.
Then, pull it out of the oven and let it cool for one more hour on top of the stove.
Then, let it finish setting up in the fridge overnight uncovered - to let the moisture evaporate and not condense and fall back into the cake.
Tomorrow, carefully remove the pan sides and bottom and put it in a cheesecake holder., Then cut several pieces for dessert... be sure to share.