By Vesna Vuynovich Kovach
in Brava Magazine
Related article: Sweet Love: Based in the strength and wisdom of kith and kin, up-and-coming pastry chef Sally Jarrett whips up witty treats and comfort sweets at Restaurant Magnus
Sally’s mom, Sarah Jarrett tweaked this recipe for years, not knowing it would someday end up on the tables at one of Madison’s finest dining spots. “It’s something everyone can do at their own home, and a good base for flavorings,” says Sally. She recommends the sweet potato variation --“It was a good seller” -- for “a wonderful, earthy flavor.”
Sally’s Mom’s New York Cheesecake
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Butter bottom and sides of a springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Mix together dry ingredients. Add melted butter and mix until incorporated. Press into bottom of pan.
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
Mix cream cheese smooth with stand or handheld mixer. Stir together cornstarch and sugar. Pour into cream cheese mixture. Mix until well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, mixing each in well. Add vanilla, salt and sour cream. Mix just until incorporated. Pour over crust. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F until a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour. To prevent cracking on top, try not to overbeat or overbake, and loosen the edges as soon as you remove it from the oven. “Definitely don't eat it until it's been refrigerated for at least six hours, preferably overnight,” says Sally.
Lemon: Add zest and juice from three whole lemons along with sugar and cornstarch.
Sweet Potato: Reduce cream cheese to 1 1/2 pounds. Substitute half the white sugar for brown sugar. Add 3 cups cooked, pureed sweet potato.