Crème Fraîche Cheesecake

Recipe development, photography, and food styling by Yossy Arefi

A bit of almond meal and browned butter give the crust of this cheesecake from baking blogger Yossy Arefi a unique toasty flavor that pairs beautifully with the tangy crème fraîche filling. Cheesecake can be tricky to get right, but Yossy’s top tips are to make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature, mix the filling carefully and thoroughly so it is silky smooth, and in lieu of a messy water bath, just set a pan of hot water on the bottom of your oven—something she learned from author and baking blogger Sarah Kieffer. Serve this with a bit of seasonal fruit macerated with sugar.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Yossy Arefi's Crème Fraîche Cheesecake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (130 grams) graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup (48 grams) almond meal
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoons (3 grams) plus ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds (910 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved, or 1 tablespoon (13 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (480 grams) crème fraîche, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams), room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) fresh lemon juice
  • Macerated seasonal fruit, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Wrap the sides of a 9-inch springform pan with foil.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter turns a medium-brown color and has a nutty aroma. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, almond meal, 3 tablespoons (36 grams) sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Add cooled browned butter, and stir until combined. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
  4. Bake until golden brown, 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-high speed until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add vanilla bean seeds (if using) and remaining 1¼ cups (250 grams) sugar; beat until combined, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add crème fraîche, beating until combined.
  6. With mixer running, slowly add eggs, beating until combined. Add vanilla extract (if using), lemon juice, and remaining 1 teaspoon (3 grams) salt, beating just until combined. Pour filling onto prepared crust. Firmly tap pan on counter about 10 times to release any air bubbles.
  7. Before putting the cheesecake in oven, place a 13x9-inch baking dish in bottom of your oven, and fill it with hot water. (This will create a moist environment, which will help prevent cracks in your cheesecake.)
  8. Bake until edges are set and center is jiggly, about 1 hour. Turn oven off, and leave cheesecake in oven with door cracked with a wooden spoon for 4 hours. Remove from oven. Run a knife around edges of cheesecake to release sides. (As cheesecake cools, it shrinks, which is why you run a knife around sides before you refrigerate it so it doesn’t crack during cooling.) Loosely cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days. Remove ring; slice, and serve with fruit.


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  1. Had this dessert at a party last night and hands down it is the absolute BEST cheesecake EVER! Can’t wait to make it myself. The browned butter in the crust and the creme fraiche in the filling truly make it special.


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