Friday, December 19, 2008

Lemon Cheesecake

I saw this lemon cheesecake on Taste and Tell quite a while ago and knew I had to make it. Unfortunately as with many yummy things I discover on blogs, it took me a while to get around to making it. One can only resist an animal cracker crusted lemon cheesecake topped with lemon curd for so long!

It was just as delicious, if not more, as I hoped it would be. I was excited that the crust was made with animal crackers, but it wasn't a noticeable flavour so I wouldn't worry about using this kind of cookie/cracker for the crust. The lemon curd by itself I found a bit metallic and sour (as I seem to with all lemon curds so there's nothing wrong with this one) but when combined with the cheesecake it was just dreamy. (I think that's the first time I've ever described a food as dreamy..) And the cheesecake part itself was so luscious and creamy. Now it's got me thinking what other curds or custards can I put on top of cheesecakes. Mmm.

One thing I learned from this whole experience was to remove the foil from around the springform pan immediately after taking the cheesecake out of the oven (and water bath), otherwise the water has a way of seeping in and making a mushy crust (that results in a cheesecake that can only really be eaten directly off the pan unless you want to lose all of the crust). How does the water get in there anyway? I thought the foil was supposed to keep it out. Making this cheesecake also reminded me of how easy cheesecakes are to make! I really must make them more often, though unless I can get to Costco cream cheese is so expensive. I made a yummy chocolate cheesecake shortly after this one so I'll be posting about that soon. Next cheesecake I'll make may be this apple cheesecake that has a bruleed top mmm.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Cheesecake Pops
Eggnog Bars
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Key Lime Pie

Lemon Cheesecake
Adapted from The New Best Recipe found on Taste and Tell

Makes a 9-inch cheesecake. I halved the recipe and made three 4.5 inch cheesecakes (cooked them for the same amount of time).

5 ounces Nabisco's Barnum's Animal Crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 oz.) sugar
1 tablespoon grated zest and 1/4 cup juice from 1-2 lemons
1 1/2 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
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Lemon Curd
1/3 cup juice (from about 2 lemons)
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

For the crust:
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 325F. In a food processor, process the animal crackers until you have fine crumbs. You should have about 1 cup. Add in the sugar and pulse. In a steady stream, add the butter while pulsing, about 10 1-second pulses. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until fragrant and golden brown. The instructions say 15 to 18 minutes, but mine was done at about 12 minutes, so keep an eye on it. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. When cool, wrap the pan with aluminum foil. Set the pan in a roasting pan.

For the filling:
Process 1/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon zest in a food processor until the zest is broken down and the sugar turns yellow. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in the rest of the sugar.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese to break it up and soften it slightly, about 5 seconds. With the machine is running, add the sugar mixture in a slow stream; increase the speed to medium and beat until combined, creamy and smooth - about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium low and add the eggs, 2 at a time. Beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl before each addition. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add the cream and mix until incorporated, about another 5 seconds. Give the bowl a final scrape and pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough water to make it about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, the sides start to puff, and the surface is no longer shiny, about 55 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven. Take the cheesecake out of the roasting pan and remove the foil. Place the cheesecake in the springform pan back in the oven, and prop the door of the oven open with a potholder or wooden spoon. Allow to cool in the oven for about an hour. Transfer the springform pan to a wire rack and run a small paring knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Let it sit to room temperature for 2 hours.

For the curd:
While the cheesecake is baking, heat the lemon juice in a small non-reactive pan on medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg/sugar mixture, then return the mixture to the saucepan and continue to heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 170 F and is thick enough to cling to the spoon, about 3 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add in the cold butter and mix until incorporated. Stir in the cream, vanilla and salt, then pour through a strainer into a small nonreactive bowl. Cover the surface of the curd and refrigerate.

To assemble:
When the cheesecake is cooked, 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.


Ricki said...

Animal Cracker crumbs! Cheesecake! Lemon Curd!! Really, that does it--gotta have some! It looks terrific. I've had the same problem with water seepage--I have no idea how it gets in there ;)

Bunny said...

This looks wonderful, i love anything lemon and add a cheesecake to it and this becomes irrisistible!

Steph said...

I tried the CI's light cheesecake (which was absolutely amazing!) using the animal cracker crust after I read about them in their key lime bars and actually missed the graham crackers.

Cheesecake is easy to make and you never have to worry about messing up the texture from storage or cooling in the pan! I have enough to worry about when I make cookies and white cakes!!

The curd looks really creamy.

Helene said...

I love the idea of having Animal Crackers in the crust. Lovely cake.

Vegetation said...

Mmmm cheesecake is one of my weaknesses for sure, and topped with lemon butter!??! YUM!

Rita said...

I got water in a cheesecake crust before, didn't know about the foil thing ,I'll pay morea attention in the future. Cream cheese is really not expensive here in Seattle. I lived in Vancouver foa a little while, and it's not cheap. But I remember that there was a Costco opening downtown, no?

Pearl said...

thanks for sharing that recipe! i've never used foil on that pan before, but then again, nor have i baked an actual cheesecake (only cheesecake bars) :)

isn't costco great, btw?

Holler said...

This sounds really good! I do like a lemon dessert. When I go out for a meal and if I have a dessert, I usually go for a fruit dessert over chocolate. It's just much more appealing to me.

Snooky doodle said...

yummy ! this looks so creamy delicious :) I ve never topped cheesecake with lemon curd . sounds good though. :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

This looks delicious. Perfect for breakfast this morning!

The Food Librarian said...

Your cheesecake looks great! I made this before and thought it was yummy. I don't know why your curd is metallic...perhaps it is the pan you are using to make it? I use stainless steel or my corningware glass pot.

kickpleat said...

it even looks dreamy! yum.

Joanna said...

animal crackers!!!! i love those things. my mom would always buy my sister and i the huge plastic container of them.

this looks awesome- pure lemony goodness.

Lisa said...

Animal Cracker crust? Fabulous. The very idea makes me smile. And the lemon flavor here sounds so refreshing after all of the heavy spices I have been baking with lately. Nice!

Sara said...

This looks amazing, my lemon tree is full of lemons this time of year, so I'll have to give this a try!

CookiePie said...

Beautiful!! And I absolutely LOVE the animal cracker crust and lemon curd on top. This is going on my to-bake list!

Anna said...

I can't believe I missed this Lemon Cheesecake the first time around. I am a devoted cheesecake fan and just can't get enough of them. Keep making cheesecakes!

Jessiker said...

I've been eyeing this for a while...and finally made it for Christmas day for both sides of my family. Everyone LOVED it!!! It was a hit!! I kept half of it in the kitchen so my immediate family could have most of it haha, but I just HAD to thank you!! You're right, the crust isn't a noticeable flavour, and the curd..was...delicious when combined with the cheesecake. Wow, i'm getting hungry just writing this :). I'm one of your fans from Jamaica, so be happy to know you have international "fans"!!

eatme_delicious said...

Jessiker: Aw thanks! I'm so happy everyone loved it!! I need to make this one again.