For the crust:
1 cup HobNob Biscuits (about 15 biscuits)
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 T sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 cup strawberry preserves
PREHEAT oven to 160°C if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 150°C if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan).
Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with aluminium foil and make sure that the bottom of pan is completely protected and will stay dry during baking.
Oil the pan well with melted butter. A sheet of baking paper cut to the size of the base of the pan may be inserted as well. Apply butter on it too. Oiling the pan well reduces sticking when the cake cools and contracts. It pulls away from the pan easily and reduces cracking.
Crush biscuits into crumbs, by placing biscuits in a tough ziplock bag. Press out air and seal. Then bash up biscuits in bag with a rolling pin or heavy baton.
Mix crumbs and butter. Use the base of a wine glass or a potato masher to press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.
BEAT cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Add vanilla and sour cream; mix well. Once ingredients are blended through, stop beating. Do not overbeat as that would incorporate too much air in the cake and cause it to crack later. Pour cream batter over crust. Use a spatula and smoothen the surface of the batter, pressing out air pockets if any.
Place pan in a large baking dish. Fill dish with boiling water till 1/2 way up the height of the pan. This is to create a water bath so that the cheesecake is cooked slowly in even heat. The steam from the boiling water also keeps the cake moist.
BAKE 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set. (Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost set if using a dark nonstick springform pan.) Try not to open the oven door during baking.
Turn off oven when baking time is up. Leave cheesecake to cool inside oven for an hour.
Remove cheesecake from oven. Place in a cool place and cover properly with a dry cloth. This allows the cake to cool very slowly and reduces chances of the cake cracking on top, which often occurs when the drop in temperature is too severe and swift.
When cake has completely cooled, chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Spread preserves or curd on top of cheesecake or leave to eat it plain. Chill for another 5 to 6 hours, or until ready to eat.
To serve, dip long knife in hot water. Wipe blade, and then cut in smooth even strokes. Dip, wipe, cut. Dip, wipe, cut.
This cake freezes very well.
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