For the crust:
- 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) graham crackers crumbs (about 15 whole graham crackers)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 2 pounds (907 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (130 grams) sour cream
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- Boiling water, for the water bath
For the topping:
- 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh raspberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Prepare a 9-inch springform pan for a water bath. Place a large square of heavy duty aluminum foil underneath the pan. Gently fold the edges up and around the pan. Repeat twice so there’s three sheets of foil to ensure a waterproof seal. Gently fold the top of the foil around the edge of the pan.
Make the crust:
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and butter until the mixture is moistened. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch nonstick springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Maintain oven temperature.
Make the filling:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese on medium speed until completely smooth and free of lumps. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add in the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
Pour the batter into the foiled-wrapped springform pan. Place the pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until set and the top looks slightly dry. If the middle is slightly wobbly, that’s fine. Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking.
Turn off the oven heat and crack the oven door open just by 1-inch. Let the cheesecake cool inside the oven for 1 hour.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and from the water bath, unwrap the foil, and transfer it to a cooling rack. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool completely on the rack.
Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Store the cheesecake uncovered to avoid creating condensation, which will create a mushy texture.
Make the topping:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the filling ingredients. Heat, stirring and breaking up the raspberries often, until the raspberries release their juices and begin to form a sauce, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and press through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl to remove the seeds. Let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate and top with the raspberry sauce. Serve.