Finally Friday: The Dessert

This classic cheesecake is sometimes called Lindy's Cheesecake because it is said to have originated at that famous New York restaurant. It is traditionally topped with a dazzling layer of ripe crimson strawberries coated with shiny glaze. A perfect party dessert, this cake is best made a day or two in advance.

Old-Fashioned New York Cheesecake

CRUST

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Dash salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

FILLING

5 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whipping cream
5 eggs
2 egg yolks

TOPPING

4 cups ripe whole strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Remove sides of 9 1/2- or 10-inch springform pan from bottom; generously spread 3 tablespoons softened butter on both bottom disk and inside surface of sides.

2. In food processor, combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon peel and dash salt; pulse to mix. Add 1/2 cup butter; pulse until large crumbs form. Add 1 egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; pulse just until it begins to clump. (Don't allow dough to form a ball.) Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. To shape dough for pan bottom, use generous one-third of dough. (Refrigerate remaining dough.) With lightly floured heel of hand, pat dough into thin layer over bottom disk of pan. Trim dough to inside edge of rim. Prick dough all over with tines of fork to prevent puffing as it bakes. Bake at 400°F. for 7 to 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on wire rack. (Pastry sides are prepared later.)

4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add 1 3/4 cups sugar; beat until smooth. Beat in all remaining filling ingredients except eggs and 2 egg yolks. Add eggs and yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down bowl and beaters; beat until smooth.

5. Increase oven temperature to 500°F. If dough is refrigerated, bring to room temperature. To line pan sides with pastry, set springform ring on its edge; gently but firmly press remaining dough onto surface in an even layer up to 1/2 inch from top rim. Avoid getting dough into track that holds pan bottom. Fasten dough-covered sides to bottom disk containing partially baked pastry; secure spring. Set dough-lined pan on sturdy baking sheet.

6. Pour batter into pastry-lined pan. Add 1 to 2 inches water to a 13x9-inch pan; place in oven on bottom oven rack to add moisture during baking. Place baking sheet with cheesecake on center rack in oven.

7. Bake at 500°F. for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 225°F.; bake an additional 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes or until top is golden brown. Center should move slightly when pan is tapped but will not ripple as if liquid. Turn oven off; remove pan of hot water, but leave cheesecake inside with oven door closed an additional 30 minutes. Cool cheesecake on wire rack, away from drafts, 3 hours or until completely cooled. Refrigerate at least 6 hours; cover and store in refrigerator up to 3 days.*

8. To make glaze, crush enough strawberries to make 1 cup pulp. Place pulp in medium saucepan; add 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat 2 minutes or until mixture boils, thickens and is clear. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 1 tablespoon butter and lemon juice. Cool to room temperature.

9. Up to 4 hours before serving, remove cheesecake from pan. Arrange remaining whole berries over top. Spoon about two-thirds of the prepared glaze over berries. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set glaze. Pass remaining glaze as a sauce.

TIP *Cheesecake can be wrapped airtight and frozen up to 2 weeks; thaw overnight in refrigerator and add topping before serving.

16 servings

PER SERVING: 535 calories, 37 g total fat (22.5 g saturated fat), 9 g protein, 43 g carbohydrate, 210 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 1 g fiber