6 mins

3 classic New York City desserts

Fancy a taste of New York City? Serve up a slice of the Big Apple with these all-time favourite recipes

Cherry pie (Shutterstock: see credit below)

1. New York cheesecake

The genuine article, baked and made with cream cheese – just like the one you get at Junior’s in Brooklyn.

Makes: One cheesecake, 28cm in diameter
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, 20 mins
Resting time in the oven: 2 hours
Refrigeration time: 4 hours

NYC cheesecake (Shutterstock)

For the crust:

180g sweet wholemeal biscuits, crushed
90g unsalted butter, melted
20g caster (superfine) sugar

For the cheese filling:

900g plain cream cheese (25% dairy fat, preferably Philadelphia)
260g caster (superfine) sugar
½ tsp salt
70g all-purpose flour
juice and grated zest of a lemon
600g sour cream (30% dairy fat)
8 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (fan). Combine the crushed biscuits, sugar and melted butter, then spread this mixture over the base, preferably removable, of a buttered 28cm tin, pressing it down well with the bottom of a glass.

2. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes (10 minutes for small tins). Take the crust out of the oven and increase the temperature to 225°C.

3. Mix the rest of the filling ingredients into the cream cheese in the order they are listed, whisking until smooth.

4. Butter the sides of the tin and then pour the mixture over the crust.

5. Bake for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven, lower the temperature to 90°C and cook for another 50 minutes. The filling should still be a little wobbly in the centre.

6. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest inside for 2 hours. Then let it cool outside of the oven and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

2. Cherry pie

Makes: One pie, 26-30cm
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, 20 mins
Resting time: 1 hour

Cherry pie (Shutterstock)
Cherry pie (Shutterstock)

For the pastry:

250g cold diced unsalted butter
500g cake or pastry flour
50g icing (confectioners’) sugar
1 tsp salt
7 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the filling:

3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
3 tbsp lemon juice
900g sour cherries, pitted
200g granny smith apple, seeded and diced, not peeled
175g caster (superfine) sugar

For the glaze:

1 egg yolk
a little water

1. Using a food processor or a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly consistency. Incorporate the water and lemon juice by hand until you have a smooth dough.

2. Divide into two balls of the same size, wrap them in plastic wrap and let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine the cornflour with the lemon juice. Place this mixture and the cherries, apple pieces and sugar in a pan over a medium heat. Cook together for about 15 minutes, stirring. Allow to cool.

4. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the balls of dough into two rounds large enough to hang over the edge of the pie dish by about 5cm. Butter and flour the pie dish.

5. Place one of the rounds in the base of the dish and roll the overhang inwards onto itself. Prick the bottom with a fork and cover with baking paper and dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Fill the pastry shell with the cold filling.

To make the lattice:

1. On a floured surface, cut the second round of dough into 8 wide strips and separate them into two groups. One group of four will be placed on the pie in one direction and the second will be placed at a right angle and interlaced with the first.

2. Lay the four strips of one group across the pie, evenly spaced. Peel back two ‘odd’ strips and lay down the first of the perpendicular strips so it’s under the ‘odd’ strips and over the ‘even’ strips.

3. Repeat the process, peeling back the ‘even’ strips this time for the second perpendicular strip to go under, and keep going in the same way with the last two perpendicular strips, continuing the alternation.

4. Pinch the edges to seal them. It is essential for the filling to be cold before attempting this operation, otherwise the heat will make the strips of dough too soft to handle.

5. Brush the pastry with a mixture of egg yolk and water. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Allow the pie to cool for at least four hours before cutting.

3. Apple or cherry-ricotta strudel

Makes: One strudel
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 20 minutes

Apple Strudel (Shutterstock)
Apple Strudel (Shutterstock)

For the pastry:

4 sheets of filo pastry
50g breadcrumbs
95g caster (superfine) sugar
1.5 tsp of cinnamon for the apple strudel, or the seeds of a vanilla bean for the cherry and ricotta version
100g unsalted butter, melted

For apple strudel:

5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced (about 375g prepared apple)
75g caster (superfine) sugar
40g unsalted butter
2 tsp grated lemon zest
30ml lemon juice
50g flaked almonds
½ tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For cherry-ricotta strudel:

170g frozen sour cherries, thawed or 170g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
85g flour
400g ricotta cheese
60g caster (superfine) sugar
5 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 egg whites

To make the apple strudel filling:

1. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. At the first sizzle, add the pieces of apple and sugar. Sauté for 3 minutes.

2. Add the lemon zest, almonds and vanilla, and continue cooking until the apples are lightly browned on all sides. Blend the cornflour with the lemon juice, and add this mixture to the apples. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring. Allow to cool.

To make the cherry-ricotta strudel filling:

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, sugar, cornflour and 2 egg whites. When the mixture is smooth, warm it over low heat in a saucepan for 5 minutes to thicken it a little.

2. Allow to cool. Toss the cherries in the flour, then shake them a little to remove the excess.

To assemble the strudel:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Combine the breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon.

2. Lay the first sheet of filo on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush it with melted butter and sprinkle it with the breadcrumb-sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place another sheet on top and repeat the process. Do the same with the two last sheets of filo pastry.

3. For the apple strudel, spread out the apple filling in a sausage shape all along the length of the sheets of filo and roll them up to enclose filling.

4. For the cherry and ricotta strudel, spread the ricotta filling over the entire surface of the filo sheets, leaving a 3 centimetres rim around the edges.

5. Place two rows of the lightly floured cherries on the ricotta filling, one about a third along the width of the filo sheets, the second two-thirds along. Roll the filo sheets up width-ways to form a sausage.

To cook and serve:

1. Brush the surface of strudel with the remaining melted butter, sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumb-sugar-cinnamon mixture (apple strudel) or breadcrumb-sugar-vanilla mixture (cherry-ricotta strudel).

2. Bake for about 22 minutes. Allow to cool and serve in slices.

Recipes and images taken from New York Cult Recipes by Marc Grossman (£20), published by Murdoch Books.

Main image: Cherry pie (Shutterstock)

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