Here's how to easily make a perfect New York style cheesecake in your Instant Pot using a 7" / 18 cm pan designed to fit inside. The smaller size is perfect for this rich treat.Yum
Equipment: Instant Pot + small springform pan
For this recipe you'll need a standard-sized Instant Pot with the rack inserted. I tested this recipe using the standard (6 quart) size Instant Pot. Theoretically it should work in the larger (8 quart) size using the same size pan, but I don't have one to try it out. I'm pretty sure the recipe would have to be altered to allow it to be made in the smaller (3 quart) Instant Pot.
You'll also need a small, 7" / 18 cm round springform or push pan with a removable bottom. If you don't have one, you could also make this in any round metal or cermaic baking dish that fits inside the Instant Pot, though the cake will be tricky to serve.
If you don't have an Instant Pot: I adapted this recipe from one that I've made many times for a full-size cheesecake baked in a water bath in the oven. This recipe is halved from the original; so, to make it for a regular-sized springform pan for oven baking, you'd double the recipe below. Bake it in a water bath for 12 minutes at high heat, 475F / 245C, then turn down the heat to medium, 350F / 180C, and bake for another 50-60 minutes, until set on top.
Making the crust
The crust is made just like any standard cookie crust: blast the graham crackers to smithereens in a food processor, then blitz with melted butter. If you don't have graham crackers handy, petit beurre biscuits, tea biscuits, vanilla wafers, or shortbread cookies would all work well too, although grahams will give you the most New York-y flavor. You'll need one sleeve of graham crackers for the small cheesecake, usually 10 (of the full-sized cracker, unbroken).
The crust for this cheesecake isn't blind baked (baked empty to crisp it up) in the oven first; the filling goes right in it and the whole thing gets baked all at once under pressure in the Instant Pot. If you like a toasty flavor to your crust, you could put it in the oven at 350F / 180C for 10 minutes. I don't bother.
Making the cream cheese filling
The type of cream cheese you want for this recipe is the kind that comes in a brick. There's no substitute for it, unfortunately; it's the prime reason a cheesecake tastes like New York. You'll want to take your cream cheese out of the fridge at least half an hour before starting the recipe, because you want it very soft and creamy. If you bought a multi-pack of cream cheese, separate the individual packets to soften up. The cream cheese filling can be mixed using whichever implement you prefer or have around: stand mixer, hand mixer, or, my personal favorite, the food processor, which (most) will handle the smaller quantity of filling for this littler cheesecake without fuss. You want everything completely smooth and blended before pouring into the pan over the prepared crust.
Making the sour cream topping
I know it might seem a bit superfluous to add yet more creamy richness on top of a cheesecake, but it's the New York way, and also, really good. Plus, if your cheesecake doesn't come out of the Instant Pot a beauty queen, the sour cream will cover everything in one smooth, beautiful topping. All you have to do is wait until the darn thing's completely chilled before mixing together the topping ingredients and smoothing them over the top of the, sorry-again-but-it's-worth-the-wait, thoroughly chilled cheesecake.
Setting up your Instant Pot for baking the cheesecake
The Instant Pot is fantastic for making creamy desserts: puddings, custards, flans, crème brûlée, and, of course, cheesecake. It cooks them to perfection with no water-bath fuss, no cracks, none of the things that present obstacles in a regular oven. They take around the same amount of time, all told, once you factor in the time for the pot to get up to pressure and for the pressure to release naturally, which you want for cheesecake.
To prep your Instant Pot for baking the cheesecake, you'll place a cup and a half of water in the bottom. Then, place the rack is inside (I use the one that comes with the pot). You'll want to tightly wrap the top of the cheesecake pan with aluminum foil, to keep the condensation off the top of the cake. Then, lower it carefully onto the rack inside the pot, over the water. You can make a sling out of more aluminum foil if you want to use it to lift out the finished cheesecake; I just use little potholders.
When you've got everything ready to go, seal the pot, making sure the little nozzle is pointing to the closed position. Set it to cook on manual high pressure for 35 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally for another 20 minutes (the pin will usually drop right around the 20-minute mark).
Making cheesecake for Shavuot? Need more recipes?
- Israeli Sweet Cheese Blintzes - The Israeli version of the classic Shavuot treat features a killer secret ingredient: vanilla pudding.
- Uri Buri's Green Remoulade for Fish - This Israelified remoulade by the restaurateur Uri Buri is a great accompaniment to fish, which you might be serving at your Shavuot meals.
- Greek Diner Salad - with a big slab of feta on top, natch.
Instant Pot New York Cheesecake (dairy)
- Instant Pot (6-quart)
- 7" / 18 cm round springform or push-bottom cake pan
- Aluminum foil
- 10 graham crackers - 1 sleeve, usually
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp butter, melted - 70 g
- 2 packages cream cheese - 8 oz. / 225 g each, softened
- ⅔ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup sour cream or whipping cream - 60 g
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream - 120 g
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
Set up your Instant Pot for baking cheesecake:
- Pour 1½ cups of water into the Instant Pot insert. Place a steamer rack inside (I use the one that comes with the pot).
Make the crust:
- Combine the graham crackers and cinnamon in a food processor and process to a fine crumb. Pour in the melted butter and pulse. Turn out the mixture into the springform pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (You can use a drinking glass or your hands.) Wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil and place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling:
- Beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and beat into cream cheese mixture. Pour into crust and smooth with a spatula.
- Tightly cover the top of the cheesecake with aluminum foil. Lower it onto the rack inside the Instant Pot. Close the lid in the sealed position. Set it to Manual Pressure, High for 35 minutes. After the cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes.
Chill and make topping:
- Remove the cheesecake from the Instant Pot. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour before topping.
- While cake is cooling, make the topping: combine the ½ cup sour cream with the 2 teaspoons sugar and spread over top of cooled cheesecake. Chill for 4 or more hours before serving.