I feel like I owe any readers of this blog an apology, it’s been about three or four weeks since I posted my last recipe. I’d like to say that I have some great excuse for not updating more frequently, but I really don’t.
In addition, a second apology may be necessary because today’s post shares my lemon curd cheesecake recipe, and it most certainly is not going to fall within too many “healthy” dietary guidelines. It’s not Paleo, not low fat, not carb free or gluten free, and it’s certainly not dairy free.
But it’s pretty darn tasty, and holding true to the roots of this blog, as a holding spot for any and all my recipes that my children may want access to some day, I thought I would go ahead and include it here alongside my other recipes.
Besides, my children tell me that making cheesecake counts as thoughtful cooking, at least as far as they are concerned!
Normally, in this section, I try to work my way through each ingredient in my recipe, and make sure that I am using the best and healthiest option available, considering both the health of my family, as well as my budget. But today, I am making an exception.
Sometimes it’s important not to make a big stink about everything that I eat, part of the “do well most of the time” philosophy that I find serves me well. Also, as I might have mentioned in My 5 Rules, I don’t want to be “That Guy” that always makes parties and family get-togethers more complicated with a huge litany of food restrictions.
So in this instance, as I prepared to make a lemon curd cheesecake from Cook’s Illustrated for a family party, I decided to leave the food stress behind and simply make a delicious dessert that I knew everyone would enjoy. And I vowed to eat only a little bitty piece. Yeah, right.
7 oz graham crackers
3 tablespoons cane sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/4 cups cane sugar
grated lemon zest from 2 lemons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Lemon Curd Topping
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cold
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
pinch of salt
- pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, with rack on one of the lower levels
- add your three crust ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until butter and sugar are well incorporated into the ground graham crackers, don’t leave big chunks of cracker
- pour graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan
- use a glass or other flat bottom device and gently smooth out crackers on bottom of pan
- bake the crust in pre-heated oven for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until it looks nicely browned and smells nice
- remove from oven and let cool
- wrap bottom and sides with aluminum foil, to make the pan waterproof
- While crust is cooling, get all of your ingredients for the filling measured out and ready to go
- Using a heavy duty stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is broken apart and becomes smooth
- With mixer still on medium low, slowly add sugar to cream cheese in bowl and beat another few minutes
- Slowly add eggs and continue to beat until fully combined
- Add lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla paste, salt and heavy cream and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary
- Pour thoroughly combined filling into springform pan, and place aluminum foil wrapped pan into a large baking dish or roasting pan filled with warm water halfway up the springform pan’s sides
- Place cheesecake and water bath into the oven for about an hour, or until the center of the cake is 150 degrees, the sides should be pretty firmly set and the center should still be a bit jiggly
- Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open using a wood spoon for another hour
- Remove cheesecake from oven, remove the aluminum foil, and run a paring knife around the edge to loosen the sides
- Let cool on a wire rack for another two hours
- While the cheesecake is baking, prep all of your ingredients for the lemon curd topping
- Heat lemon juice in a small non-reactive pan until hot, but not boiling
- While lemon juice is heating up, in a glass bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar together until smooth and well combined
- Once lemon juice is hot, slowly pour into egg mixture while whisking
- Then return the entire lemon juice-egg-sugar mixture to the pan and slowly heat on stove stirring constantly
- In a few minutes, the mixture will start to thicken quickly, easily coating the back of a spoon, around 170 degrees
- Remove from stove and add in cold butter, cream, salt and vanilla paste
- Once butter is melted in and mixture is smooth, pour through a fine mesh strainer into a clean glass bowl
- Cover curd with plastic wrap while waiting to assemble finished cheesecake, making sure to place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon curd
Finishing The Lemon Curd Cheesecake
- Once cheesecake has reached room temperature, use an offset spatula to spread the lemon curd evenly over the top of the cake
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours and up to a day before serving
- Cut into small wedges and chow down!