Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
2 cups gingersnap cookies, crushed
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
5 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 large eggs
3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon peel, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
FOR CRUST: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir cookie crumbs and butter in medium bowl until evenly moistened. Press mixture onto battom of 9" diameter removable-bottom cheesecake pan with 3" high sides. Bake crust until deep bolden, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Stack 3 large sheets of foil on work surface. Place same cake pan in center. Gather foil snugly around pan bottom and up sides to waterproof.
FOR FILLING: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar, then salt. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in sour cream, grated lemon peel and lemon juice. Pour filling into pan.
Place wrapped cake pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake cake until filling is slightly puffed and moves only slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Remove cake pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cake in pan on rack 2 hours. chill uncovered until cold; cover and keep chilled at least 1 day and up to 2 days.
Cut around pan sides; carefully loosen pan bottom from sides and push up pan bottom to release cake. Place cake (still on pan bottom) on platter. Garnish with lemon leaves or twists.
TEST KITCHEN TIPS:
The pan...It must be 3" high to hold all the filling. If your 9" springform pan is that height, then it can be used unstead.
the creamcheese: for best results, use Philadelphia brand
The crust: Grind the gingersnaps in the processor or place them in a heavy-duty plastic bag and ifnely crush them with a rolling pin.