Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Something about lemon and cheesecake is so wonderfully delicious. This cheesecake is very rich and requires some time to make but the effort is worth the mouth watering results. Wow your guest with this show stopping dessert. Great to make a day ahead! 

Lemon Curd Cheesecake
 2 Graham cracker crumbs, I use Honey Maid
 1/4 cup brown sugar
 pinch of salt
 6 tablespoons butter, melted, I use Cabot butter

 4 packages cream cheese, room temperature, I use Philadelphia cream cheese
 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
 Pinch of salt
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 1 teaspoon lemon extract
 4 large eggs
 2/3 cup sour cream 
 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

 3 lemons
 1 1/2 cups sugar
 1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature, I use Cabot
 4 extra-large eggs
 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Candies Lemon Slices
 2 small lemons
 1 cup sugar
 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
 3/4 cup water

Special equipment needed

    9-inch, 2 3/4-inch high springform pan
    Heavy-duty, 18-inch wide aluminum foil
    A large, high-sided roasting pan

1. Preheat oven to 350°F, with rack in lower third of oven. Put graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Use wooden spoon or your hands to stir in the melted butter.

2. Put the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the springform pan. Gently press down on the crumbs using your fingers*, until the crumbs are a nice even layer at the bottom of the pan, with maybe just a slight rise along the inside edges of the pan. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

3.Prepare the springform pan so that no water leaks into it while cooking. Place a large 18-inch by 18-inch square of heavy duty aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the springform pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the sides of the foil around the pan. Make sure to do this gently so that you don't create any holes in the foil.

If there are any holes, water will get into the pan and ruin the crust.

4. Press the foil around the edges of the pan. Place a second large square of foil underneath the pan, and repeat, gently folding up the sides of the foil around the pan and pressing the foil against the pan. To be triply safe, repeat with a third layer of heavy duty foil. Gently crimp the top of the foil sheets around the top edge of the pan.

Make the filling

5.Cut the cream cheese into chunks and place in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes until smooth, soft and creamy. Add the sugar, beat for 4 minutes more.

Add the salt, vanilla and lemon,  beating after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the sour cream, beat until incorporated.

Add the heavy cream, beat no white streaks. Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and scrape up any thicker bits of cream cheese that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer that paddle attachment has failed to incorporate.

Cook the cheesecake

6. Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan. Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, over the graham cracker bottom layer. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Place the roasting pan with the springform pan in it, in the oven, on the lower rack. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan (without touching the hot oven), to create a water bath for the cheesecake, pouring until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan, about 1 1/4 inches. (Alternatively you can add the water before putting the pan in the oven, whichever is easier for you.) Cook at 325°F for 1 1/2 hours.

6 Turn off the heat of the oven. Crack open the oven door 1-inch, and let the cake cool in the oven for another hour. This gentle cooling will help prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking.

Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn't actually touch the cheesecake. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.

Prepare lemon curd topping

7. Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate. Can be made a day ahead.

 8. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Remove the foil from the sides of the pan, and place the cake on your cake serving dish. Run the side of a blunt knife between the edge of the cake and the pan. Open the springform latch and gently open the pan and lift up the sides.

Lemon Slices

9. Cut lemons into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; discard seeds. Stir together sugar, lemon juice, and water in a large skillet over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon slices, and simmer gently, keeping slices in a single layer and turning occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes or until slightly translucent and rinds are softened. Remove from heat. Place slices in a single layer in a wax paper-lined jelly-roll pan, using tongs. Cool completely (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 2 hours to 2 days.

10. Top cheese cake with lemon curd then decorate with lemon slices.
*I put my hand in a small plastic sandwich bag to press down to eliminate the crumbs from sticking to my fingers.


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