1 and ½ cups(155g) graham cracker crumbsapproximately 10 full rectangles
2 and ½Tablespoons(31g) granulated sugar
¼cup(57g) unsalted buttermelted
24ounces(675g) full fat block cream cheesecompletely softened to room temperature
¾cup(150g) granulated sugar
3Tablespoons(45mL) heavy whipping cream
4ounces(140g) Greek yogurt or sour creamabout ½ cup
3large eggsat room temperature
2large egg yolksat room temperature
Add the peaches and butter to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and allow the butter to melt.
When the butter is completely melted, stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla and allow the peaches to come to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low.
Remove one Tablespoon of peach syrup from the saucepan and place in a small bowl. Whisk the cornstarch into the peach syrup until completely combined. When the mixture is smooth and thick, add it to the saucepan with the peaches, then stir to combine.
Cook the peaches for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until the syrup has thickened (it should coat the back of a spoon) and the peaches are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes2.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
Preheat the oven to 325ºF (162ºC). Spray a 9" springform pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
In a food processor, crush the graham crackers until they become a fine crumb. Pour the crushed graham crackers into a large bowl, add the sugar and melted butter, and stir to combine.
Press the graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared springform pan, then bake the graham cracker crust for 6-8 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar then beat again until combined, about another 2 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low3, then add the heavy cream, yogurt or sour cream, and vanilla extract and mix until completely combined. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing on low until eggs are just combined.
Remove 3 Tablespoons of the cooked peaches and add to cheesecake filling. Fold the peaches in gently with a spatula until just combined. Your batter should be smooth and creamy without lumps, aside from some small peach pieces.
Pour ⅓ of the batter into the prepared pan, spoon the peaches on top of the cheesecake batter, then top with remaining cheesecake batter. Smooth out the top of the cheesecake and try to cover any peach filling that may be peeking out.
Create a water bath4 by placing the 9" springform pan in a slightly larger round pan (I like to use a 10" cake pan) and then place that pan into an even larger round pan (I like to use a 12" cake pan) or roasting pan.
Fill the outer pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the middle pan, then carefully transfer the whole thing to the oven.
Bake the cheesecake for 80-90 minutes. The middle of the cheesecake (a center approximately 2" wide) should jiggle just a little bit. I use my digital instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached 145ºF (63ºC). Turn the oven off5 and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the springform pan from all of the other pans and allow to cool on a cooling rack for another 2 hours. When the cheesecake is completely cool, cover or wrap tightly and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.
Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and use a spatula or butter knife to gently loosen the crust from the side of the pan, then release the outer ring of the springform pan.
Top the cheesecake with fresh whipped cream (I use my homemade whipped cream recipe), peach curd, or peach filling6. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Cheesecake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Fresh peaches: if you want to use frozen peaches, thaw completely and discard any excess water.
Preparing the peaches: I prefer to do this ahead of time to cut down on waiting for the peaches to chill. Peach filling can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept covered tightly in the refrigerator.
Mixer speed: it's important not to go above low (or low-medium) speed after you've beaten the cream cheese. Incorporating too much air will create bubbles and potential cracks in your finished cheesecake.
Water bath pans: here is a bundle that includes all the pans I use. Using this method eliminates the need to wrap anything in foil.
Cool the cheesecake: I like to prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Peach filling as topping: you can double the recipe for the peach filling and only layer half of it into the cheesecake, reserving the other half of the peaches for topping. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.