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LEMON CHEESE CAKE TEST KITCHEN

Lemon Cheesecake
Serves 12 to 16
While this recipe takes several hours from start to finish, the actual preparation is simple, and baking and cooling proceed practically unattended. The finished cheesecake should be chilled for at least 4 hours before being sliced, and it can be made up to a day in advance. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, although the crust will become soggy.

Crust
5 ounces Nabisco’s Barnum’s Animals Crackers or Social Tea Biscuits
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

Filling
1 ¼ cups (8 ¾ ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon grated zest plus ¼ cup juice from 1 or 2 lemons
1 ½ pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, cut into rough 1-inch chunks and left to stand at room temperature 30 to 45 minutes
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup heavy cream

Lemon curd
1/3 cup juice from 2 lemons
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
1 tablespoon heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

1. For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, process the cookies to fine, even crumbs, about 30 seconds (you should have about 1 cup). Add the sugar and pulse 2 or 3 times to incorporate. Add the warm melted butter in a slow, steady stream while pulsing; pulse until the mixture is evenly moistened and resembles wet sand, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to 9-inch springform pan; using the bottom of a ramekin or a dry measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly and evenly into the pan bottom, keeping the sides as clean as possible. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes. When cool, wrap the outside of the pan with two 18-inch-square pieces of heavy-duty foil; set the springform pan in a roasting pan.

2. For the filling: While the crust is cooling, process ¼ cup sugar and lemon zest in a food processor until the sugar is yellow and the zest is broken down, about 15 seconds, scraping down the bowl if necessary. Transfer the lemon sugar to a small bowl; stir in the remaining 1 cup sugar.

3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on low to break up and soften slightly, about 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the sugar mixture in a slow steady stream; increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until the mixture is creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs two at a time; beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl well after each addition. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and mix until just incorporated, about 5 seconds; add the heavy cream and mix until just incorporated, about 5 seconds longer. Give the batter a final scrape, stir with a rubber spatula, and pour into the prepared springform pan; fill the roasting pan with enough hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, the sides just start to puff, the surface is no longer shiny, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the cake registers 150 degrees, 55 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and prop open the oven door with a potholder or wooden spoon handle; allow the cake to cool in the water bath in the oven for 1 hour. Transfer the springform pan without the foil to a wire rack; run a small paring knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the sides of the cake, and cool the cake to room temperature, about 2 hours.

4. For the lemon curd: While the cheesecake bakes, heat the lemon juice in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Whisk the eggs and yolk in a medium nonreactive bowl; gradually w

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