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Tart Lemon Cheesecake

Judy Rosenberg of Rosie's Bakery

The concept of a lemon cheesecake was one that came to me recently. I had always added an accent of lemon to my cheesecakes, but this version screams out lemon and it is heavenly in flavor. Feel no guilt about buying a good lemon curd at the market or at your favorite specialty store if you don’t have time to make your own - I have tried it both ways and was equally happy with each version. For best results, I suggest baking the cheesecake the day before serving; for some reason the texture seems to settle overnight and become even more creamy!

 

Food Editor’s Note: I helped Judy test out this recipe to get the best proportions of all the ingredients. I made the cheesecake twice and, believe me, it was well worth it. Everyone on our staff adored it! The lemon taste is pronounced and tart, just the way we like it, but the texture is pure, creamy cheesecake. What a wonderful combination!
 
Ingredients

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (40-45 cookies)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the cake:
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature or warmed slightly in the microwave
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 whole large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons (packed) freshly grated lemon zest (2-3 lemons)
About 1 1/4 cups Lemon Curd

Instructions
 
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. For the crust, place the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl and toss them lightly with a fork until they are well blended.

3. Press this mixture firmly over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake it on the bottom oven rack until golden, 10-12 minutes.

4. Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees and place a roasting pan or baking dish filled with hot water on the bottom rack of the oven to create moisture.

5. Prepare the cake filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the temperature of the cream cheese. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat 45 seconds more.

6. Lightly whisk the whole eggs and the egg yolk together and add them to the cream cheese mixture with the lemon juice and zest. Mix on low speed until they are incorporated and the batter is velvety, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl with a spatula, then mix at medium-high speed for 10 seconds more.

7. Pour the filling over the crust. Using 9 tablespoons of the lemon curd, drop 9 dollops of the curd over the top of the batter with a spoon so that they are evenly distributed. Gently run a chopstick or thin knife back and forth through the batter and then do the same in the other direction so as to marble the lemon curd into the cake. Be sure not to disturb the crust. Set the remaining curd aside.

8. Bake the cheesecake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. Lower the temperature to 285 degrees and continue baking until the cake is set, another 60 to 75 minutes (1 3/4-2 hours total). The center will be slightly lower than the sides and might feel a tiny bit less firm, but it should not be giggly. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack.

9. Using a whisk, stir the remaining lemon curd until pourable or heat in microwave to loosen. Pour the curd over the surface of the cheesecake and tilt the pan back and forth so that it evenly covers the cake. Place in refrigerator and chill for several hours or overnight. The cheescake can be garnished with a few raspberries or blueberries to ad color to the top.

Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Judy Rosenberg opened the first Rosie’s Bakery in Cambridge, and now has additional stores in Chestnut Hill and Boston’s South Station. Rosie’s Bakery has won so many Boston Magazine Best of Boston citations that it is now enshrined in their Hall of Fame. Judy is also the author of Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book, winner of an IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award, and Rosie’s Bakery Chocolate-Packed, Jam-Filled, Butter-Rich, No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book.

Tart Lemon Cheesecake
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