HEAT oven to 300°F. CRUMB CRUST: MIX vanilla wafer crumbs and egg whites in medium bowl until evenly moistened. PRESS evenly and firmly against bottom and 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches up sides of greased 9-inch springform pan. REFRIGERATE.
COMBINE cream cheese, sugar, flour, lemon peel and vanilla in mixer bowl. BEAT on low speed until blended. BEAT on high speed until fluffy. ADD 5 eggs and 2 egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until blended. ADD cream; beat until blended. POUR into chilled crust.
BAKE in center of 300°F oven until wooden pick inserted midway between center and edge of cake comes out clean, about 1-1/2 hours. Center will still be soft but will firm up as cheesecake cools.
REMOVE from oven; CAREFULLY loosen edge of cake from pan with metal spatula or thin knife. COOL completely in pan on wire rack. REFRIGERATE, loosely covered, until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.
Top this classic dessert with fresh raspberries and kiwi slices or prepared cherry or blueberry pie filling.
Vanilla wafer crumbs: Process wafers in blender or food processor, or place in plastic bag, seal bag and crush with rolling pin or flat side of meat pounder.
Room temperature cheese: To avoid lumps in the batter, take cream cheese out of refrigerator ahead of time, allowing it time to come to room temperature. In a pinch you can soften in the microwave a few seconds, but don’t overheat.
Room temperature eggs: Using eggs that aren’t refrigerator-cold prevents the fat in the cream cheese from re-hardening and making the batter look curdled or lumpy.
Refrigerate any leftover cheesecake promptly.
This recipe is an excellent source of choline, protein and vitamin A.
To ensure food safety, eggs should be cooked until both the yolk and the white are firm. Consuming raw or undercooked eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially for those with certain medical conditions. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use either pasteurized shell eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella, or use pasteurized egg products.