1 box of graham crackers (about 27 graham crackers), crushed into fine crumbs
1/2 C light brown sugar
1 C salted butter, melted
2 C heavy whipping cream
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C sour cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch (or more powdered sugar)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
Begin by making the crust mixture. Combine the ingredients together until all the crumbs are evenly saturated in butter. Pour half into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and pack it in. Use the bottom of a dry measuring cup to make sure it’s really tight – if it’s too lose it’ll just crumble when you try to slice it. Place the springform pan in the freezer to set, and the other half of crust aside on the counter.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip your heavy cream for 2 minutes on medium high, then add 2 tbsp of powdered sugar or cornstarch to stabilize. Continue whipping until the cream forms stiff peaks, about 4-5 minutes more.
Also using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go, and mix until totally combined.
Add the sour cream, vanilla, lemon, and remaining powered sugar. Beat on high until smooth and fluffy. Fold in half of the whipped cream, gently, then fold in the other half. Remove the bottom crust from the fridge.
Pour the filling into the pan and smooth it in. You’ll need to press it down as you smooth it out to prevent pockets of air, and to make it fit. Remember that there needs to be room for the top crust.
Once the filling has been smoothed out, use a spoon to sprinkle over half of the remaining crumbs. Use the back of the spoon to smooth them out over the top of the cheesecake while pressing down gently. Add the remaining crumbs, and continue to smooth and press. You might have too many crumbs, but that’s OK.
Try to press them in as tightly as you can. Use a piece of parchment paper to cover the top of the cheesecake and now press down firmly with your hands. Wrap the springform pan entirely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Slice and serve. I like fresh strawberries on the side.
You can use a whisk and your arms if you’ve got more stamina than I do. You can buy already made graham cracker crumbs in most grocery stores, but I crush mine in my food processor. Stabilizing the whipped cream (adding the powdered sugar or cornstarch) is optional but may help the cheesecake retain its shape after slicing (and the temperature increasing) for longer. I do not think this would work with a baked cheesecake, but I haven’t tried it.