posted October 25, 2021
New York Style Smoked Cheesecake with Brandied Peaches
It doesn’t get much better than this New York-style smoked cheesecake. Topped with warm brandied peaches and cooked on the smoker, be prepared to adjust your waistband for this delicious and decadent dessert.
Cheesecake? On the smoker? Oh, yeah! I’m not one to shy away from cooking my dessert on the smoker, and this cheesecake is a major winner. This cheesecake is made New York style, so it’s a large, rich, and ultra-creamy dessert that feeds 8.
Simply imaging this as the most luscious, creamy, melt in your mouth, New York-style cheesecake ever. The cream cheese keeps things bright and tangy, but the sugar and vanilla smooth it all out. Add in the crumbly crunch from the graham cracker crust and it is perfection!
The key to achieving a beautifully cooked cheesecake is to use a smoker that can maintain consistent temperatures. I also recommend using lightly-flavored wood like apple, cherry, maple, or pecan. Steer clear of those bolder woods. You don’t want the flavor of the smoke to completely overwhelm the cheesecake. We’re aiming for a smoky complement and not a total takeover.
Let’s take a moment to chat about these brandied peaches. They are the extra little oomph that takes this cheesecake from a 9 to a 10. The brandied peaches on top of the cheesecake truly are the best topping ever, and cooking them over an open fire gives you another layer of awesome in this delightful dessert.
We’re not planning on saving or canning these peaches, rather they’re simmered in a cast-iron skillet so they’re best enjoyed immediately topped over the cheesecake. Don’t be shy with these; make sure to add a heaping scoop on top of the cheesecake for lots of sweet, punchy flavor.
When shopping for ingredients, look for slightly firm, perfectly ripe peaches for this recipe, and while these are “brandied” peaches, you can also substitute the liquor for bourbon and whiskey as desired.
Tips for Making Smoked Cheesecake
This cheesecake is a bit of a labor of love (but so worth it, believe me!), so I have FIVE tips to help you ensure this cheesecake turns out perfect.
- Don’t be chilly. Make sure that you use ROOM TEMPERATURE cream cheese and sour cream. When you add them together and mix, continue to cream the sour cream and cream cheese until it is smooth like icing. If the batter is lumpy, your cheesecake will be too.
- Swap Oreos for Grahams. Want a cookie crust instead of graham crackers? Use the same amount of Oreo cookies as graham crackers, but remove the filling from about half of the cookies before crumbling.
- Keep things subtle. When lighting the smoker, use light woods like apple, cherry, maple, or pecan for a light and subtle wood smoke flavor.
- Use parchment paper. Line your springform pan with parchment paper before baking your crust, this will allow you to pop your cheesecake out easily once cooled without leaving any crust behind. To cut it perfectly to size, place your pan on top of the parchment sheet and trace then cut.
- Get funky with mix-ins. After the batter is finished, but before you pour it into the crust, add in some fun flavor mix-ins. Candy bars, cookies, nuts, curds, or shredded coconut. Fruit makes a great topping, but not a great mix in due to the moisture content.
More BBQ Dessert Recipes
Smoking dessert on the BBQ doesn’t have to stop here. Try out these other delicious desserts with a BBQ twist from Hey Grill Hey.
- Cayenne Caramels with a Pretzel Bacon Crust
- Smoked Salted Caramel Creme Brulee
- Maple Bacon Shortbread Cookies
Smoked Cheesecake Recipe
While I probably should say that I love all BBQ equally, that’s a flat-out lie. This cheesecake very well maybe my new favorite child. It’s so delicious and decadent, we’re already receiving requests for it in place of birthday cake. It’s just that good folks.
Once you’ve made your own, please come back to the post to let me know how it turned out for you. I’m stoked to have others enjoy it as much as my family did (seriously, my kids freaked out at its goodness).
New York Style Smoked Cheesecake with Brandied Peaches
- 1 ½ pounds cream cheese (room temperature)
- 16 ounces sour cream (room temperature)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups crushed graham crackers
- ½ cup butter (melted)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 peaches
- 1 cup brandy, bourbon, or whiskey
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 8 Tablespoons butter (divided)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 350 degrees F. This recipe is best tackled with a grill that can maintain fairly consistent, indirect heat. Not too much smoke will flavor the cheesecake, but I like to choose light woods like apple, cherry, maple, or pecan for desserts like cheesecake.
- Prepare the crust. Crush the graham crackers to a pretty fine crumb, either with a food processor or place them in a zip-top gallon bag and crush them using a rolling pin. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar then slowly pour in the butter, mixing well to evenly distribute. Line your 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. To cut it perfectly to size, place your pan on top of the parchment sheet and trace then cut. Using the back of a small measuring cup, evenly press the graham mixture across the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. The crust should be about 1/4 inch thick and rise up the sides of the pan almost to the top, at least 3 inches high. Place the pan on the grill grates, close the lid, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the crust and set aside to cool slightly.
- Make the batter. Reduce the heat on the grill to 325 degrees F and prepare the cheesecake batter. In a mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Continue beating until there are no lumps in the batter at all. Add the eggs to the batter one at a time, waiting for the previous egg to incorporate before adding the next. Then, add the flour. Once the batter is completely smooth, pour the batter into the prebaked crust.
- Prepare your springform pan. Lay down two vertical pieces of foil then place two additional pieces of foil horizontally across the center of the vertical pieces. Put the cheesecake in the center of the foil and wrap the ends of the foil pieces tightly around the pan. The idea is to keep water out, so you want to make it seamless.
- Make a water bath. Put a casserole dish or roasting pan on the grill to use as a water bath, place the cheesecake in the center, and then add enough boiling water to come halfway up your springform pan- DO NOT SKIP!! This is how you create the perfect texture and keep the top of the cheesecake from cracking.
- Smoke. Close the lid on the grill and bake for 50 minutes, the cheesecake should have a SLIGHT jiggle, but be set in the center. If it is not, add 5 minutes at a time until done. You're looking for a target temperature of 145 degrees F.
- Chill. Remove the cheesecake from the grill and let it cool on the counter for 40 minutes, then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight.
- Prep the peaches. Before serving your cheesecake, prepare the brandied peaches. Combine sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the peaches and boil for about a minute to loosen the skin. Put the peaches in an ice bath and then peel the skin. Using a paring knife, quarter the peaches to remove the pit, then cut into eighths.
- Cook the peaches. Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat, place 2 Tablespoons of butter and the peach sections followed by the brown sugar and ¼ cup of the poaching liquid in the pan and cook over direct heat until the peaches soften, about 6 minutes.
- Add the liquor. Remove the pan from the fire and add the liquor, carefully tip it towards the fire while you place it back on the grill to flambe, if you need to put the fire out, place a lid on top of the pan. Once the liquor has cooked off remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla, butter, and cinnamon.
- Serve and enjoy. Spoon the brandied peaches over your finished cheesecake and enjoy!
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