3 sticks (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 Tbsp liqueur, optional
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Let's Make It
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
2. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
3. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water. (I didn't want to risk water getting into my springform pan so I just put a pan of water on the rack underneath my cheesecake.)
4. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill.