French Cheesecake

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French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

This French Cheesecake is my favorite Secret Weapon Dessert. Easy to make. Easy on the eyes. Practically guaranteed to stun everyone—including your best friend’s chatty new girlfriend—at your dinner party into blissful, dessert-nibbling silence.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

This recipe comes from an old family friend. In fact, a bunch of you requested the recipe when I first posted about it. French cheesecakes are typically lighter and fluffier than regular cheesecakes. (What’s that, Mouse?!? It’s less dense? So that means I can eat…more…of it?)


French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

This cheesecake has a crisp, buttery crust. The filling is smooth, tangy, and creamy.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Get yourself a springform pan

You really need a springform to make a proper cheesecake.

A springform pan is made of two pieces: a flat bottom and a tall ring that serves as the sides of the pan. The clip on the side opens up, widening the ring, so that you can remove your cheesecake easily and in one piece. (After all, it’s nice to be able to admire it for a moment or two before you devour it.)

This recipe calls for an 8-inch springform pan, like this one from Kaiser Bakeware:

Kaiser Bakeware Noblesse 8-Inch Springform Pan

A note on cheesecake toppings

Like any classic cheesecake, you can serve this with any topping you like. Classic pineapple. A decadent chocolate ganache. Slices of fresh mango or strawberry.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

This time, I opted for a raspberry orange sauce (more on the sauce on Monday).

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Alrighty! To the kitchen!

French Cheesecake

For the crust
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter (that’s 1 stick), softened
1 egg yolk
2 Tbls. sugar

For the cheesecake filling
1 lb. cream cheese
1 Tbls. flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated (you’ll need both the yolks + the whites)
4 Tbls. sour cream
4 Tbls. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Serves 6-8, depending on how much you can bear to share

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Butter your springform pan or spray it with oil, then set it aside.

Make the dough for the cheesecake crust

Leave the butter on the counter for 10 or 15 minutes to soften up a little. Then put the butter and flour into the bowl of your mixer.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Beat on high for a few minutes to combine the butter and flour. At first, the mixture will be dry and raggy looking, like this:

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Beat the mixture until it’s smoother and more uniform, like this:

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Toss in the sugar and the egg yolk.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Beat to combine. Your mixture will be soft and yellow-ish, like good, fresh Play-Doh.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Gather the dough together in your hands. Press it together into a smooth, flat puck shape.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

With a bencher or sharp knife, cut one third out of the dough.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Gather each hunk of dough into a ball. Set the larger ball (the one with two-thirds of the dough) aside for now.

Bake the bottom crust of the cheesecake

Take the smaller ball (the one with one-third of the dough) and press it into the bottom of your springform pan. (That’s right…no rolling! Just smoosh it down with your fingers.)

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Keep pressing and spreading the dough until it completely covers the bottom of the pan.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

You want it to look about like this. Nevermind that you may have some visible fingerprints. Just be sure that the coverage is fairly even, so it bakes consistently.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Pop the pan into your preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 8 minutes, until the crust is brown on the edges, like this:

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Set it aside to cool while you make the cheesecake filling. Give the bowl of your mixer a quick wash, as you’ll need it clean to make the filling.

DROP THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 350 DEGREES. (Sorry to shout, but your cheesecake will be very sad if you bake it at a full 400 degrees…)

Start the cheesecake filling

Separate 4 eggs. Keep the yolks and the whites. You’ll need ’em both.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Put the sugar and cream cheese into the (washed and dried) bowl of your mixer.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Beat them together until smooth.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Toss in the egg yolks.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Beat together until smooth, creamy, and glossy.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Add the sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Beat until well combined.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Scrape the mixture out into a large, clean mixing bowl. Quickly wash and dry the mixing bowl that you used for the filling. (Last time, I promise.)

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Set the mixture aside for a minute while you finish up your crust.

Finish the cheesecake crust

At this point, your pan should be cool enough to touch comfortably. Grab your remaining ball of dough. Break off a chunk.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

You’re going to stick the dough to the pan the same way that you did with the bottom crust. Take the chunk of dough and smoosh it against the side of the pan. Press it with your fingers so that it’s flat and spreads out.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Repeat this process with the rest of the dough, until the sides of the pan are completely covered. Leave about a half an inch or so between the crust and the top of the pan, like this:

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Go around the dough one more time, concentrating on where it meets the bottom crust. Be sure that the seal here is good, and that there aren’t any holes. (That way, your cheesecake filling will be completely contained when you pour it in.)

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Set the pan aside while you finish your filling.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Finish the cheesecake filling

Put the egg whites into the (washed and dried) bowl of your mixer. Beat on high for a few minutes, until the egg whites fluff up, turn opaque, and hold a stiff peak like this:

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Take a scoop of the beaten egg whites and plop it into the cream cheese filling.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

With a spatula, fold the mixture to gently incorporate the egg whites into the cream cheese.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Add the rest of the egg whites to the bowl.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Fold again to combine. (You’re gently folding, instead of vigorously stirring, so that you don’t completely deflate the egg whites. They’re what will help give your cheesecake its poof.)

When the egg whites are completely incorporated, the mixture will be light, fluffy, and look kind of…well…a little fizzy.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Pour the finished cheesecake filling into your prepared pan.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Pop the cheesecake into your preheated oven (be sure that you dropped the heat to 350 after baking the bottom crust).

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. The cheesecake is done when it has a nice brown top and feels firm in the center when pressed with a finger. (Even when it feels firm, the cheesecake will be ever-so-slightly jiggly when you take it out of the oven. That’s just fine.)

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

(Mmmm, cheesecake.)

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Set the cheesecake to cool on the counter, away from any drafts.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

The bit about keeping it out of drafts is important. As it cools, the surface of your cheesecake will crack a little. If it’s exposed to a draft, those cracks will be bigger.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

The surface will also sink down, like this:

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

As you can see, mine still got a fairly impressive crack down the center. That’s just fine.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Unmold the cheesecake, serve, and enjoy!

When it’s totally cool, remove the outer ring of your springform pan. (Pop the clip open, gently spread the ring open, and slide it up and off.)

Your crust should be golden brown, like this:

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Slice and serve!

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

I whipped up a little orange-raspberry sauce.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

I’ll post the recipe for that up on Monday.

French Cheesecake at The Hungry Mouse

Enjoy!

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

58 COMMENTS

  1. Cheesecake is my absolute favorite thing to make, and it always astounds me that most people think it’s difficult to do! There are so many variations on this classic…the best one I’ve made was a vanilla-almond cheesecake with gingersnap crust and port-cranberry sauce. It was a huge hit at Christmas dinner 🙂

  2. Love the photos; even a novice should be able to follow. I’d like to make this in a 9-inch – or even a 10-inch pan instead as I have to host cooking club (12 people!) in two weeks. I could just make two of yours but I don’t have an 8-inch springform pan at all and can’t get one locally. (Rural area.)

    • Thanks so much, Vicki!

      You should be OK on the dough with a slightly larger pan. You may need to knock off a few minutes from the baking time, since your cheesecake won’t be quite as deep. Just keep an eye on it toward the end of baking.

      Good luck with it! Let me know how it goes!

      +Jessie

  3. I really like your blog 🙂

    I can’t seem to find where you put the tablespoon of flour (as listed in the ingredients) in the cream cheese filling though…..

    HELP! I wanna make it!!!!

    • I would like to know where and when do you add the TBL of flour to the filling in the chhesecake recipe. I have made it witout it and it was the best cheesecake ever…..however since you have the flour listed on the recipe …I would like to knoe it it was an error …typeo?
      Thanks for the fantastic recipe!
      Ann

    • Oh, it stores well. You should be fine making it a day in advance. If you’re going to put any toppings (fruit, etc.), I’d wait to do that until just before you serve it.

      Good luck!
      +Jessie

  4. Hi, awsome recepie…. i tryed the filling but i was in a rush so i bought a allready made crust and i think it worked just as well ( never the less, home made is all ways the best way to go) as i was coming home i thought of mangos so i made a quik stop and bough some delicios ready to eat mangose at my local market ….. heres how i made this mango cheesecake happen…. i follow the filling recepie jus as you explain but when i was pooring it in to my crust i slices some really thing pices of mango and instead of one layer of filling i made two, and i hada mango stuff cheese cake i finish it up with some ore of my left over mngo and a noce mango glace and mint leaves………….

    now im getting ready to try a savory cheesecake cense flavored cream chees is abailable…. ill let you know what that gose.. thank you once againg ur recepie is quite the touch…

  5. I have been looking for a specific cheesecake that my french grand-ma use to make. Well my search has ended and I found the Best recipy ever. YOURS. I made one yesterday and it is already gone. My family had some and I had most of it:) Shame on me…. Thank you for posting this recipy. Keep on the good work.

  6. I just finished making your cheesecake and, although I completely forgot to add the sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla until after I had mixed in the egg whites (oops), it turned out absolutely delicious. There is definitely enough crust for a 9″ pan, which is what I used. My family is currently trying to convince me to drop my music major and go to culinary school instead. Yay!

  7. I made this a while back and have been meaning to let you know that this is the best cheesecake in the world!! I’m not the best at baking but your pictures really do help out. I couldn’t believe that I actually made something that was so delicious. I will definetly make it again especially when I want to show off.

  8. Hi there,
    the pictures are really useful, thanks for the delicious recipe, it’s all so tempting.. I’ll try it as soon as possible…
    I have one question though, what do you mean by (lb.cheese cream) ? How much in gramms it is?
    Thanks again..
    You have me hooked as well..

  9. I’m in the process of making the cheese cake, here is hoping. What I would like to know is what forumlar do we use if we want to make a 9 or 10 inch cake.

  10. I was wondering when do you add the TBLS. of flour to the filling? It doesn’t say. I really want to make this but do I add it when I add the sugar to the cream cheese? ~ Thanks

  11. I have your cheesecake cooling on the counter, the smell is killing me. By the way, you never addressed the 1 tablespoon flour issue. I added it to the filling. Guess I’ll find out if that was right in a few hours.
    Thanks.

  12. I figured the conversion for a 10-inch pan if anyone was looking for it. There are some changes to amounts. The directions stay the same.

    Crust:
    300 mL of flour (1 1/4 c)
    150 mL of butter (just under 2/3 c)
    1 egg (it comes out to 1 1/4 egg but it’ll be the same)
    3T, 1 1/2t sugar (or 7 1/2t)

    Filling:
    20 oz cream cheese
    3 3/4t flour
    150 mL sugar
    5 eggs
    5T sour cream
    5T heavy cream
    1 1/4 T vanilla

    ** 9 inches could be the same as the original or my way which would be a lot thick which would have a longer baking time. (which I do not recommend)

  13. I am making your cheesecake on Friday the 23rd. This question has been asked a couple of times, when do you put in the TBS of flour?

  14. To eliminate the huge crack in your cheesecake, put a rimmed pan in the oven under the rack with the cheesecake and fill it with a cup of water. When the cheesecake is done, prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon or two oven mitts and let it cool in the oven for an hour or two. Then take it out of the oven and let it cool more. My mom taught me this when she made all the cheesecakes for my wedding. (:

  15. hey, i am currently baking this cheesecake that you showed.. and is it necicary to add heavy whipping cream? i am only in 8th grade and i had to make this for French class.. I didnt add the whipping cream…. /:

  16. Hi,
    I made this cheesecake for my mom’s birthday and OMG was it good! I got a million compliments and now I want to try something different. I was wondering if I could use this filling in a chocolate graham crumb crust instead of the cookie crust. Would the filling hold up in the graham crust, or would it ruin it?

  17. Hi,
    I love this recipe and made this cheesecake for my mother’s birthday and it turned out awesome! I was wondering though, what would happen if I used chocolate and or graham cracker crumbs as the crust. Would the filling hold up to this type of a crust, or would it bleed through it? Would I have to cook the crust first or just form the graham crumbs around and pour the filling? Help!

  18. I have wanted to know how to cook French-style cheesecake ever since I tried some at a French market, so I am very pleased to come across this recipe. I think the photos are great for less experienced cooks. I have one in the oven right now and it’s smelling lovely! (may I be nit-picking and point out a spelling mistake? It is ‘draughts’, not ‘drafts’!)

  19. Im trying this cheesecake recipe but i dont see in the directions where to add the 1 tbsp of flour in the filling…i made it without the flour so i hope it comes out good without it!!

  20. I just came across this website and fell in love this is the first recipe I am trying, it is actrually in the oven now so fingers crossed it will turn out nice becuase I am bringin this to a friends house….also I didn\t see the directions aswell for the flour in the filling… looks great in the pictures though I am hopeful!!

  21. They used to make this type of cheese cake at Publix supermarkets, but now that they don’t anymore, I have been looking for the recipe. I will definitely try this, I miss it so much! Thanks for posting!

  22. Does high altitude affect this? I’ve tried twice and its been soupy in the center both times. Followed the instructions. Help please!

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