Palibachi's New York Cheesecake

My dear friend, Paul Goldstein, has live in Seattle for a few years now. But he's just about had it. See, according to Paul, Seattle has no really good kosher delis. That's right. Nothing in the vein reminiscent of his youth (and mine as well). No real New York style bagels or bialys, of stuffed kishka or derma, or even descent matzoh ball soup. Imagine that, loving in a place that has no genuine delis? Now, I'm sure Seattle is a wonderful town and, of course, it's got great coffee houses, not to mention Rainier beer but, a place that doesn't have a good old style deli? Well, I couldn't live there. More than once I've had to ship Paul New York bagels and babka to keep him going.

I can sympathize since I am a partisan of old style Yiddish cuisine in the Ashkenazi Eastern European tradition. But there's more. Paul asserts that he can't find a real danish in Seattle. By his account, if you drop a New York danish, it drops to the floor with a heavy thud. That's a danish. In Seattle they float down like a feather. But what was the last stray for Pablo, was the cheesecake saga---or lack of it. He says the cheesecake in his area leaves a lot to be desired. Nothing like the genuine creamy concoction we get here. Paul's cheesecake jones has gotten so bad he's been forced to make his own cheesecake. And that's the recipe that follows below. It's based on an original recipe but with reduced sugar. And it's pretty good. Even if you live on the East Coast and have access to good cheesecake, this recipe, if nothing else, is fun to make, and you get to eat homemade cheesecake. For a cheesecake addict, it doesn't get better than that.

PALIBACHI"S NEW YORK CHEESECAKE (with or without pie filling)

9-inch spring form pan required

Shell ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk


5 8-ounce packages of Philadelphia cream cheese. YES, YOU NEED FIVE!
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy or light whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar (works well with cherry pie filling, a nice contrast)
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
Cherry pie filling (canned or commercial is okay)

To make shell:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Melt butter in a small pot or pan, remove from heat. Add all the shell ingredients and mix together until thick. Remove bottom of spring form pan. Using about a 1/3 of the shell mixture, spread it over the entire bottom of the pan using your fingers and palm, covering the entire pan but no more than about 1/4-inch thick.
3. Place in oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown (while this is baking you can prepare the filling).
4. Remove and let cool.
5. Place ring around bottom making sure it is sealed properly. Spread the reminder of shell mixture around the ring using your fingers making sure ring sides and bottom are sealed (sides do not have to be thick).

Cheesecake Filling:

1. Soften the Philadelphia cream cheese packs. YES, YOU NEED 5! IT'S NOT A NEW YORK CHEESECAKE UNLESS YOU DO. Combine and mix in a bowl with the whipping cream. If you don't have an electric mixer, a hand mixer works just as well if you first soften the cream cheese in the oven.
2. Add all other ingredients except cherry pie filling. Fill the spring form pan with the filling. If you are making a cherry cheese cake, pour just enough of the filling to cover the bottom of the pan then add the cherry pie filling. You can save a small amount to use as a large circle topping afterward if so desired.
3. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool in the oven, and then let it cool further on the counter top. Place in the refrigerator (Paul states it is best eaten the next day---if you can wait).

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