Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tart, sweet, and creamy are three words that I can think of to describe this Lemon Cheesecake. I absolutely love all things lemon and this is another favorite from my trusty Philadelphia Cream Cheese Collection Cookbook. However, I did stray a little bit and I took the shortbread crust recipe from my Juniors Cheesecake cookbook. (In fact I have to say that the Juniors Cheesecake book is probably one of my top favorite cookbooks. If you like cheesecakes, then go buy this book. You can thank me later.) Anyway, this lemon cheesecake is way better than any lemon cheesecake in any store or restaurant. Pucker up for lemon goodness.
Click here for printable recipe.
The Ingredients:For the shortbread crust:
1 c flour
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 c sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the cheesecake:
3 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
3 Tbsp corn starch
zest of 1 lemon (just the yellow part)
juice of 1 lemon (no seeds please)
1/2 tsp vanilla
For the lemon curd (or just buy some at the store):
3/4 c sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 c water
1/4 c lemon juice
1 egg yolk, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter bottom and sides of spring form pan. (Line the bottom with parchment paper to make it easier to remove to another plate for presentation.) Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Mix in eggs yolks and vanilla. Mix in flour, corn starch, and salt until a dough forms. Work the dough together with your hands into a ball and chill for minimum 30 minutes. (It will be easier to handle later).
Lightly flour your hands and place dough in middle of spring form pan and start pressing the dough outward with the palm of your hand in a circular motion around the bottom of pan and up the sides. Prick the crust all over with a fork so as to prevent it from puffing up. OR if you don't want the crust going up the sides, then take about 2/3 the amount of the crust and just press it into the bottom of your pan. (You can eat the rest or bake it in a pie pan with some cinnamon sugar. Just a thought)Bake the crust until it's set and golden about 15 minutes. If it starts to puff up then take it out and press it back down with the back of a spoon. (Or maybe that's just my crust and my lack of crust skills. Hmmm) Remove from oven and let the crust rest in the pan while finishing up the cheesecake batter.
While the crust is baking, blend cream cheese, corn starch, and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Then beat in the eggs one at a time until well mixed and all is smooth.Pour batter into prepared crust and bake in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. (I wrap mine in foil just to prevents any leakage. I had brownie batter leak out once and it was a mess, so I always wrap my springform pans now)Take it out when the outside is set and the center is a slightly wiggly. If there are brown spots or cracks then it's technically overcooked, but don't worry. It won't affect the taste. In fact, no one will know because you're going to cover it up with a lemon sauce. If you look at mine, then you will see cracks. Even someone who's been making these for more than 10 years gets distracted and gets it out too late.Cool on cooling rack until ready to put in the refrigerator and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. After the cheesecake has cooled and is resting in the refrigerator, then start to make the lemon curd. (Or to save time, get some at the store!) Mix the sugar and corn starch in a non stick pan. Add the water and lemon juice and stir until dissolved. Turn stove on to a medium high heat and stir bringing it to a low boil. You'll need to keep stirring for about 5-7 minutes until slightly bubbly and thick.
Meanwhile, separate an egg and place the egg yolk in a separate bowl. When the sauce has thickened and starts to be bubbly, then turn down heat. Rapidly stir 2 -3 Tablespoons of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, one Tbsp at a time. Stir quickly so as to prevent the eggs from cooking in the hot liquid. (This is called tempering your eggs). Then when the egg mixture is mixed together add it back into the lemon sauce. Continue cooking for a couple more minutes stirring constantly. Cool it slightly (especially if you have the urge to stick a spoon in and eat some). Spoon the sauce over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (If you want to freeze this and make it ahead of time, then wait to make the sauce until the day you're going to serve it. Don't freeze with the lemon sauce on top). I promise you're going to love it, especially on a summer day.