A few months ago, my husband Allan and I stayed at the home of my friend Elisabeth Bourgeois, the chef of my most favorite Provençal restaurant, Le Mas Tourteron. The last night of her season—the restaurant closes from November through February—we ate our way through her wonderful menu: a trio of salads (including cooked tomato salad, warm green been salad and a cucumber salad); guinea fowl from a neighboring farm rolled in an herb crust, and roasted shoulder of lamb coated with mustard and honey.
- 11graham crackers
- 1stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ pounds cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia, at room temperature
- 1cup sugar
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 4large eggs
- Seasonal berries for garnish
Yield: 10-12 servings
- Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- Step 2
Put the graham crackers in a food processor with the steel blade and process until the crackers are crumb-like. You will get about 2 cups of crumbs.
- Step 3
Grease the bottom and sides of the springform pan with some of the melted butter. Pour the rest over the graham cracker crumbs and process until well blended. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
- Step 4
While the crust is baking, bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- Step 5
In the bowl of a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium until fluffy, making sure there are no lumps. Gradually add the sugar, then stir in the lemon juice and zest. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition.
- Step 6
Wrap the bottom half of the springform pan in aluminum foil, making sure to tightly cover the seal to prevent leaks, then slowly pour in the cheese filling. Put the pan in the center of a large roasting dish. Pour the boiling water into the dish, being careful not to splash any water on the cake, until it comes halfway up the side of the springform.
- Step 7
Bake the cake until just set in center, about 35 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door at least 4 inches. To help prevent cracks, leave the cheesecake in the oven 30 minutes longer.
- Step 8
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge and then let it cool completely. Cover; chill overnight and remove the sides just before serving. Serve chilled decorated with fresh berries.