This is unbelievably good. If you need a dessert for Easter festivities - make this!
I started off with Tyler Florence´s Ultimate Cheesecake. He adds a Warm Lemon Blueberry Topping, but of course I had to make changes.
2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
For the Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate. Using a spatula spread a layer of Warm Lemon Blueberry topping over the surface.
Slice the cheesecake with a thin, non-serrated knife that has been dipped in hot water. Wipe dry after each cut.
I used 2/3 crumbs from some cookies that are a staple over here for kids and breakfasts and 1/3 actual graham crackers which my dear friend W brought for me from Germany and omitted the cinnamon. I haven´t seen graham crackers around so I don´t know when I´ll have more. I also used a larger spring form pan, since my smaller one has the pin missing from the hinge.
Then, I miscalculated the amount of sour cream I had in the house. Who knew that a pint was actually 2 whole cups! I only had one, so I threw in some extra cream cheese and then remembered I´d bought whipping cream around Christmas time for possible use. It was a little past its expiration, but I bravely remixed the milk fats back in with the liquid and tasted it and it was fine.
I carefully wrapped 2 pieces of foil around the bottom and discovered that the pan wouldn´t fit into any of the roasting pans I had. So I used a pizza tin, which certainly didn´t come up halfway, but would have to serve for the bain marie.
The thing rose like a souffle. Having read the comments about under cooking on Tyler´s recipe, I turned off the oven after 50 minutes and just left it to cool for a couple of hours.
Turned out that the foil was full of water anyway, despite my efforts. The cheesecake receeded back to normal proportions and went into the refrigerator to cool.
Then I turned to the lemon curd. Where has lemon curd been all my life?? My word - this stuff is summer in a jar. It´s tangy, lemony, sweet and sour heaven!
After checking the usual cookbooks and online sources, I went with a recipe from Taste.com.au because the quantity was a little more manageable.
1 1/2 cups
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80g) chilled unsalted butter
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
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Whisk whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised jar. Lemon curd keeps, covered, in the fridge for 2 weeks.
It filled a quart jar about 3/4´s full and didn´t last the weekend let alone 2 weeks.
The comments on the cheesecake also include people saying it was too lemony, but I couldn´t detect much, if any, lemon at all. The curd is the perfect counterpoint to the rich sweetness of the cheesecake. A triumph.
I have resolved to plant lemon trees - lots of lemon trees at the ruin.