This is the consummate cheesecake. You won't want any other's after you've had this one. I like to take my ingredients out on Friday morning before work and bake it Friday night when it's cool and quiet. That way it's ready to serve early Saturday.
As with all baking, have all your ingredients at a cool room temperature (65°F).
Get a couple quarts of water boiling on the stove.
Arrange racks in your oven so there's one on the lowest and one in the middle. If you do not have a center position then go mid-lower.
Have a clean 10x14x2-inch (give or take) roasting pan ready.
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Grease 10 inch springform pan.
Gently combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1/2 cup butter in a medium bowl.
Spread to the edges of the pan.
Prick all over with a fork, then bake 10-15 minutes at 400°F until lightly browned. Allow to cool on a rack.
Increase oven temperature to 475°F.
Turn oven light off (trust me on this one), place roasting pan on bottom rack and fill with boiling water.
In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer), very gently beat cream cheese until smooth. I use the slowest setting for 5 minutes.
Scrape down sides of bowl.
Gradually add the salt, 1 3/4 cups sugar and 3 tablespoons flour -- continue to beat SLOWLY until well combined, scrape down sides of bowl.
In a small bowl gently beat the vanilla, 5 eggs and the 2 yolks, gradually add eggs to the cream cheese mixture.
Continue to stir until combined and smooth, stop mixer occasionally and scrape down sides.
VERY IMPORTANT! Stop mixer, remove bowl and give it a good scraping (some of the cream cheese will stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl), replace bowl on mixer and stir until all lumps are gone.
Add cream and mix only enough to blend.
Gently pour filling over crust, run a thin knife around the filling in a S pattern to remove any trapped air bubbles. Let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes then do it again.
Bake for 10 minutes at 475°F.
Reduce temperature to 200°F and continue to bake for one hour.
Turn oven off, but leave cake in for another hour.
DON'T TOUCH THAT OVEN DOOR! You've created a nice, humid environment that will help prevent cracks and produce a perfect, professional, NY style cheese cake assuming you didn't mess with it by changing the atmospheric conditions.
It may appear a little jiggly in the center and will have a golden appearance around the edges.
Allow to cool on a rack for several hours, release the latch slightly on the side of the pan after 20 minutes, rotate sides to be sure the cake is free (but don't take it off yet), you can remove the sides after an hour (or so) if you want to admire your work, but replace it quickly or the cake may fall.
After it's cool, wrap completely with plastic wrap, there should be a layer stuck to the top of the cake.
Chill overnight in the refrigerator (Yes, this is required).
The cake will stay at peak flavor for several days so long as you keep it wrapped and cold.
What can go wrong?.
If the cake cracks you either had your ingredients too cold, mixed the filling too vigorously, opened the oven door while the cake was cooking or didn't have a pan of water in the oven.
If it does crack, don't despair -- just cover with a dark fruit or a layer of cookie crumbs.
Nothing (my favorite).
OR, boil a bag of frozen berries with a 1/4 cup of sugar until the liquid coats the back of a spoon, thicken with a table spoon of cornstarch mixed into a 1/4 cup of cold water -- Pour in slowly while maintaining the boil and stirring constantly.
Adjust thickness by adding liquid or more cornstarch.
Flavor with liqueur, fruit juice or extract.
Blueberries or raspberries with Chambord is awesome, cherries work well with Frangelico or Amaretto. If you do use an alcoholic beverage, be sure to boil off alcohol. Cool fruit sauce in a mason jar and refrigerate. Keeps longer than the cheese cake!
I've served it with caramel sauce and, buttered/sliced/baked apples .
A light milk chocolate sauce, a sprinkle of chopped pecans and dollop of whipped cream will produce a nice turtle cake.