Easter Part 1 – Marbled Lemon Cheesecake

DSC00784

Last Easter, for the first time, we met our distant cousins who’d recently moved to Boston. Since we grew up far away from extended family, it’s been delightful to have local cousins our age who we so enjoy spending time with. It also does not hurt one bit that are foodies as much as we are.

This year we introduced our cousins to part of my sister’s husband’s family. (I know, it’s getting a little confusing isn’t it?) My sister’s sister-in-law, husband and two children came for dinner, too. And we suddenly had a houseful of 15 people including 5 little kids. Quite different than we from a small family are used to. And it was so much fun.

M and C cooked the giant 19lb porchetta again. I only had to do dessert. Having spent so much of this winter indoors because of our epic snowfall, we were craving light, fresh flavors which immediately made me think of lemon. I was going to make the Tarte au Citron again, but then decided I should try something new. We all love cheesecake, and I found a recipe that married the best of the two. (And without requiring a pastry crust, which still intimidates me and may have been part of the reason I avoided making the Tarte au citron.)

Important things to know before making this:

The working prep time is fairly minimal. But some of it needs to be done in advance.

Making the Lemon Curd  (min. 4 hours to max. one week in advance) – I recommend making the lemon curd the day before. The curd is so easy to make, but it does require mixing hot liquid with eggs (aka tempering) and through experience I have learned that the odds of scrambling the eggs instead of tempering them increases proportionally to the  make the lemon curd  the day before. And HIDE it in the fridge. From yourself and everyone else. Because the temptation to grab a spoon and eat the whole bowl of this as if it were ice cream or Trader Joe’s cookie butter will be almost irresistible. The Epicurious recipe says you can make it a week in advance. So if you have the restraint to not eat it, have at it. Just make sure that you have it well covered and not stored near any strongly-flavored food or the lemon curd will absorb that flavor.

Making the crust – (min 1 hour to max 8 hours in advance) This also should be done in advance. A crispy crust highlights the spice of the cinnamon against the tart of the lemon curd. Letting the crust cook for the full 10 minutes and ensuring it’s fully cooled before putting the filling in will prevent it from being soggy and will take this cheesecake from delicious to spectacular.

DSC00800

Marbled Lemon Cheesecake (Adapted from Epicurious Lemon Curd Cheesecake)

Lemon Curd:

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

 

Crust:

1 1/3 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (5 oz)

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

Filling:

3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 7oz container Fage 2% Greek Yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Special equipment: a 9- to 91/2-inch (24-cm) springform pan

Accompaniment: blueberries Um, no. A) I’m allergic, and B) Why dump boring old blueberries on this when you can make…Red Wine Raspberry Sauce

Red Wine Raspberry Sauce

3 containers fresh raspberries – that’s 2 to use and one to throw out because it’ll be moldy

1/4 cup sugar

1 – 2 Tblsp red wine

1 Tblsp raspberry jam

Wash and dry the raspberries. Place raspberries, sugar, wine, and jam into a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until sugar and jam melt, stirring constantly to ensure that they don’t burn. Allow to reduce by 1/3. You may need to add a bit of extra sugar if the raspberries are too tart.

Strain the sauce through a mesh strainer to remove all of the pesky seeds. Let cool in fridge.

 

Make Lemon Curd – 

  1. Get a strainer. Place it near your work area.
  2. Break eggs into a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Whisk them together. – At this point, you may want to put the bowl onto a damp washcloth since you’ll need both hands to temper the eggs (step 5), leaving no hands free to hold the bowl still. (Alternatively, you can ask a significant other. Or just be stubborn like me. And do it yourself.)
  3. Stir together zest, juice, sugar in heavy saucepan.
  4. Add butter and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until butter melt
  5. When the mixture is melted, remove the pan from the heat, and slowly pour the warm mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly, to warm them but ensure they don’t scramble.
  6. Once full combined, pour the egg-lemon-butter mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and almost begins to bubble around the edges – This thickening will be palpable. You’ll see that it holds the marks of the whisk. You’ll feel it go from liquid to like loose pudding. Be patient. Don’t rush this, but don’t take it off too soon!
  7. Force lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide shallow dish, scraping bottom of sieve, then cover surface with wax paper.
  8. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes.

 

Make and bake crust: 

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Invert bottom of springform pan (to make it easier to slide cake off bottom), then lock on side.
  3. Stir together crust ingredients in a bowl, then press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. I use a flat bottomed glass to help press flatten it evenly.
  4. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan and bake 10 minutes
  5. Cool crust completely in springform pan on a rack.

 

Make filling and bake cheesecake:

  1. Decrease oven temp to 300°F
  2. Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated.
  4. Beat in yogurt and vanilla until combined.
  5. Pour two thirds of cream cheese filling into crust, then spoon half of lemon curd over filling and swirl curd into filling with a small knife. (Avoid touching crust with knife to prevent crumbs getting into filling.)
  6. Repeat with remaining filling and curd.

 

Baking – the baking time on this is a little tricky because it depends on your oven temp and will require some observation and judgement on your part.

  • The original recipe says to bake it for 45 minutes. My oven is so fussy that I have it in there for more like 60 – 70 minutes.
  • Ultimately you’ll know the cake is done when it is set about 1 1/2 inches from edge. (It should not be brown at the edges at all.) The center will appear loose-ish, but set compared to what it looked like raw. The cake will continue to set as it cools.
  • When cake is done,  transfer springform pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen.
  • Cool completely, about 2 hours, then chill, uncovered, at least 4 hours.
  • Remove side of springform pan before serving.
  • Cheesecake can be chilled, loosely covered, up to 2 days. Cheesecake must be completely chilled before covering to prevent condensation on its surface.
About Tiff719

Speak Your Mind