Thursday, January 6, 2011

My First Cheesecake

When we moved into our house, we loved the fact that there was a lemon tree in the backyard.  We're always looking for ways to grow, use, value everything that we can.  Very little in this house gets tossed out without being used for two, three, four different purposes.  It gets used up before it gets thrown out.   

So I looked at that lemon tree and immediately my mind went to "How can I use that?  How can that benefit our family?"  It was only a few months ago that I came across this Meyer Lemon Cheesecake  and bookmarked in the Resources I'm Currently Lovin' section.

One problem: I've never baked a cheesecake before.

Cheesecake is hard to make.  Right?

Actually it turns out... it's not.

This was one of the easiest (honestly) project I've ever done.  Couple of things to note though:
*Make sure you factor in the time to create and cool your crust before baking the cheesecake.
*The flavor really comes out in this if it can sit overnight.  Factor in that time as well.
*I used regular lemons, but our lemons are slightly sweet.  I used the same measurements as for the Meyer lemons.
*Make sure you have friends around to enjoy this with you.  Or you'll end up eating it all yourself.
Meyer Lemon Cheesecake
(makes one 10-inch cheesecake)
From FoodBuzz  

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
7 tablespoons butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
2 1/2 pounds (1.14 kg) Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice*
About 1 cup lightly-sweetened whipped cream, optional for garnish
4 to 5 lemon slices, halved, optional for garnish

*If using regular lemons, reduce the zest to 2 tablespoons and the lemon juice to 1/3 cup.

Preheat oven to 375ºF and butter the bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.  Press into the spring form pan, going up the side of the pan only 1/4 inch.  Bake about 8 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool completely.

Decrease oven temperature to 325ºF

In a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese until it’s smooth.  Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix together.  Add the vanilla extract, cornstarch, and heavy cream and stir until combined.  Add the eggs and yolks one at a time; mix each in before adding the next.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Pour the cheesecake filling into the spring form pan on top of the cooled crust.  Bake in a water bath for 60-70 minutes.  The outer edges should be set and the center will still jiggle a little when you move it.  (The cake continues cooking after it’s removed from the oven.) 
 Cool for 15 minutes, then remove the spring form rim.  Cool completely, then place into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, overnight is best.  You can garnish with the whipped cream and lemon slice, if you like.  The cheesecake also goes very well with lemon granita.  Enjoy!
Update:  To ensure that no water leaks into the cheesecake while it's baking, wrap aluminum foil around the outside of the spring form pan.  Don't fill the water bath until you've already placed the cheesecake in the oven, and only fill it to halfway up the side of the spring form pan.
Hope you all enjoy it!  We made one over New Year's weekend and it was Wonderful!

Are you taking on any new challenges in the kitchen these days?


Amy said...

Oh that is so amazing.. Save this for next week for my Round Robin and come by and show off your wonderful cake.. I love Cheesecake and I have never made it either.. Have a great weekend.

jjschulz said...

My favorite cheesecake is a lemon one with raspberry topping. Mmmmm.... Maybe you could ship some of those lemons to me. ;)

Amy said...

I know I love to surprises too but the wait is no fun.. Be sure to stop by next week for a fun giveaway..

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