Creamy and rich, this Lemon Cheesecake has a cookie crust and is topped with a tart lemon curd.
Originally posted January 18, 2008 – I have been dying to remake this cheesecake and rephotograph it for years now, and with springtime in full force, I thought this would be the perfect time. It’s just as perfect as I remember, and is in my top 3 favorite cheesecakes. It’s smooth and creamy and full of lemon flavor. It would make a great addition to your Easter table as well! The original post follows:
Don’t let this not so great photo turn you away – this was one of the best cheesecakes I have ever had!! Even looking at it right now is making my mouth water – remembering how good this cheesecake was.
The good thing about choosing cookbooks like The New Best Recipe as the cookbook of the month is that there are both sweet and savory recipes to choose from. And with 1000 recipes to choose from in this cookbook, I had to choose at least one sweet one. When I was browsing through after receiving this book, I came across this recipe for a lemon cheesecake. I couldn’t help but stop and read it – I absolutely adore cheesecake, and have eaten it many times, but I had never tried a lemon cheesecake. And I’ve been on a bit of a lemon kick lately – everything that has looked good to me this past month has been lemon flavored!!
This cheesecake does take a few hours, but the hands on time is quite minimal, and it was extremely easy. It consists of a crust made from animal crackers instead of traditional graham crackers. The crust is topped with a lemon flavored cream cheese mixture, and once it is baked and cooled, a lemon curd layer goes on top. And this was a very good lemon curd recipe – I’m surprised most of it made it on top of the cheesecake because I just wanted to eat it by the spoonful!
I wish I would have taken a picture before topping the cheesecake with the curd – I have never made such a perfect cheesecake without even a hint of a crack. I don’t know if it is the recipe, the method, or if I just had a lucky day in the kitchen, but I was so proud of it that I even made my husband come in the kitchen to admire it with me. He looked at me like I was crazy, but I had to share my moment with someone!!
Do make sure to chill this cheesecake completely. I made it the day before we ate it for dessert at my in-laws and the texture was great, but it was even better the next day. The crust did get a little soggier, but nothing that would turn me away from eating every crumb on my plate!
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- 5 ounces animal crackers
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm
- 1¼ cups (8¾ oz.) sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated zest and ¼ cup juice from 1-2 lemons
- 1½ pounds (3 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, cut into 1 inch chunks, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup juice (from about 2 lemons)
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- ½ cup (3½ oz.) sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Place the oven rack in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
- Place the animal crackers in a food processor and pulse until they are fine crumbs. Add in the sugar and pulse again. Add the butter in a steady stream and continue to pulse until the mixture starts to come together, about 10 1-second pulses.
- Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until it is golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, wrap the pan with 2 18-inch pieces of foil. Set in a roasting pan and set aside.
- To make the filling, place ¼ cup of the sugar and the lemon zest in a food processor and process until the sugar turns yellow and fragrant. Add in the remaining sugar and pulse a few times to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for about 5 seconds. With the mixer on low, add in the lemon sugar in a steady stream, then switch to medium and beat until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, 2 at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add in the cream and beat to combine, another 5 seconds. Scrape the bowl again to make sure everything has been incorporated and pour into the springform pan.
- Place the pan in the oven and carefully add enough water to the roasting pan to make it halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center is slightly giggly and the sides start to puff and the surface is no longer shiny, about 55 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a towel or wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from the roasting pan, remove the foil from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Run a small paring knife around the edges of the cake and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
- While the cheesecake is baking, make the lemon curd. Heat the lemon juice in a small pan over medium heat until it is hot, but not boiling. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Gradually whisk in the sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture, then pour the mixture back into the pan. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 170°F, or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until it is melted. Stir in the cream, vanilla and salt. (If you have lumps in the curd, pour through a fine mesh strainer to strain any lumps.) Pour the curd into a small nonreactive bowl. Cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
- When the cheesecake is cool, top it with the lemon curd while still in the springform pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, but 24 hours is better.
source: The New Best Recipe
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