I distinctly remember my mom making this cheesecake when I was a kid. Iit was gorgeous, and I remember thinking that lemon desserts were better than chocolate. I still prefer lemony deliciousness over just about anything else. This recipe is from the May 1989 issue of Bon Appétit magazine (which you can purchase online for “only” $14.95). Thankfully, my mom keeps everything – especially stuff that has amazing recipes within. I went to visit her a while back, found the magazine in one of her many shelves of cookbooks and copied down the recipe. Now that I’ve made it myself, I have no idea how my mom did it. She had 5 kids! Where did she find the time or energy for this? Making this recipe completely destroyed my kitchen. However, recreating something with such a strong childhood link was totally worth it to me.
I would suggest making this recipe over the course of two days. Unless you have a solid two hours to devote to it. Make the lemon curd the first day and the rest of the cheesecake the next day. I actually decided to make this today because I had some lemon curd leftover from tea and didn’t want to waste it. For the curd, I used my own recipe. Below is the full recipe from the magazine.
1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon lemon peel, grated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
20 vanilla wafer cookies
10 gingersnap cookies
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon peel, grated
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (1/2 stick)
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin + 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 lemons, the peel only (removed with a vegetable peeler)
fresh ginger, peeled (1 1-inch piece)
3/4 cup sugar + 2 T sugar
salt, generous pinch
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup milk (do not use lowfat or nonfat)
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled
fresh mint, sprigs (garnish)
If you’ve never purchased fresh ginger before, this is what you’re looking for.
Ginger is generally found near the hot peppers and loose green beans in your produce section. You peel off the brown part and cut yourself a 1 inch chunk.
Total Time: 6 hours (includes 4 hours chilling)
LEMON CURD (makes about 1 cup).
In small cup, sprinkle gelatin over water. Allow to soften 10 minutes.
In processor, mince lemon peel with sugar until lemon peel is as fine as sugar. Transfer to heavy small saucepan.
Add in lemon juice and yolks, then butter; mix. Stir over medium heat until very thick, about 5 minutes; do not boil.
Transfer to bowl. Add gelatin and stir to dissolve. Cool completely, covered with plastic wrap pressed onto surface, about 1 hour.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees farenheit. Lightly oil 9-inch-diameter springform pan.
Add vanilla wafers and gingersnaps with sugar and lemon peel to food processor and finely grind. Add butter and blend well.
Make bottom crust by sprinkling crumbs over the bottom of pan and pressing down.
Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool.
In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; allow to stand 10 minutes to soften.
In processor, mince lemon peel and ginger with sugar and salt until lemon peel and ginger are the consistency of sugar. Add yolks and blend until light and fluffy.
In heavy medium saucepan, scald milk (over high heat bring it to just boiling quickly, stirring constantly)
With processor running, add milk through feed tube and blend well.
Return mixture to saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 12 minutes; mixture should leave path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across; do not boil.
Add gelatin mixture to custard and stir until dissolved. Gelatin will be spongy and a solid mass at this point.
Strain into bowl, pressing on solids with back of spoon.
Refrigerate until thickened but not set, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
Add cream cheese and lemon juice to processor and blend until smooth. Add custard and blend until smooth. Transfer to large bowl.
In medium bowl, whip cream until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold into filling (see note*).
Pour half of filling over crust. Using a tablespoonfuls, spoon half of curd over filling. Swirl mixtures together using tip of knife. Pour remaining filling over.
Using tablespoonfuls, spoon remaining curd over. Swirl mixtures together using tip of knife. (see second note**)
Refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours or overnight.
After running a knife around sides of cake, release pan sides.
* You want to fold it in because you don’t want to push out any of the air. What you do is you cut down the center with a large rubber scraper and you pull from the bottom. You take from the bottom and pull it over the top, cut through the center, you turn your bowl as you’re doing this and you bring it up from the bottom and just sort of spread it over the top. Continue this until you see that the mixture is uniform and you don’t see any lumps of the whipped cream. You can scrape along the sides occasionally, but you want to be very careful not to stir it, all you’re doing is pulling it from the bottom and spreading it over the top until you don’t see any lumps of whipped cream. It will flatten the air a little bit but you don’t want to push out all the air.
**Plop tablespoons of lemon curd spaced apart across the cheesecake filling.
Then, drag a knife from one side of the pan to the other, thru the lemon curd. Wipe knife clean before dragging across again. Go both directions of the pan in long swipes thru the curd until you have a pattern you like, cleaning the knife each time.
3 thoughts on “Lemon Cheesecake”
What a clever little tip for making the top all pretty.
SO grateful to find this! I used to make this cheesecake fairly often, especially for catered events, but I can’t put my hands on the recipe right now and I want to make one for an auction winner. Thank you!!