Note: You'll need a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
• 9 large graham crackers (1 pkg.)
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 6 tbsp. butter, melted
• 5 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
• 13/4 c. sugar
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 5 eggs, room temperature
• 16 oz. sour cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray springform pan with cooking spray, coating sides well.
Place graham crackers in a large sealable plastic bag. Crush with a rolling pin until fine. Pour into small bowl and mix well with 2 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Pour into springform pan and, using the bottom of a juice glass, press to make an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
Let cream cheese come to room temperature by leaving it on the counter for an hour. (Or place the unwrapped packages on a plate and place in a microwave oven for 30 to 45 seconds until just beginning to soften.)
Beat cream cheese with 13/4 cup sugar at mixer's lowest speed, scraping bowl and beater frequently, until the cheese is smooth and the sugar incorporated. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Still at low speed, beat in eggs one at a time until each is fully incorporated. (Tip: Crack each egg into a small bowl before adding; this keeps any eggshell from accidentally falling into the batter. If it did, you'd never find it.)
Beat in sour cream until no streaks remain.
Pour over crust in the springform pan. Place pan on a large sheet of aluminum foil (or two placed crosswise), then bring the foil up the sides. Place pan in a larger pan, then pour in very hot water to a depth of about an inch along the sides of the springform pan (this is called a water bath, or bain-marie).
Place in oven and bake for 75 minutes, or until the center just barely wobbles when gently shaken (time will vary depending on your oven and the size pan you're using).
Cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or, ideally, overnight.