I honestly ask you - is there anything richer, more decadent, more roll-your-eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head delicious than cheesecake?
This lemon cheesecake is AMAZING. It melds the richness of the cheese with the tartness of lemons into something better than wonderful, and is now, officially, my favourite cheesecake EVER. Add the sugared lemon zest garnish, and you've created something that not only tastes incredible, but looks incredible, too. You could leave out the glaze and the sugared lemon zest, but it won't be as cool. Trust me, none of your friends will believe that you made this!
Like most cheesecakes, this is a make ahead recipe, especially because it takes several hours for the cheesecake to chill and deepen in flavour, and for the zest to dry out before sugaring. But it's worth it - and it's even worth working out for a whole week to burn off the calories!
NOTE: The sugared lemon zest is adapted from Anna Olson's Sugar and the crust, cheesecake filling and glaze are adapted from this recipe.
The lemon zest, candied and drying:
"Sugaring" the zest:
A closer look:
Sugared Lemon Zest
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup water
1. Slice off the top and tail of the lemons. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest of the lemons into thin strips.
2. Julienne (slice thinly lengthwise) the peel segments.
3. Blanch the peel in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes and drain (this will cook out the bitterness).
4. Return zest to pot with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup boiling water and simmer until zest appears translucent, about 15 minutes.
5. Drain well (reserve the syrup for the glaze) and spread zest onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing to dry for 4 - 6 hours.
6. Toss zest with remaining 1/4 cup sugar to coat. Zest will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
7. Decorate glazed cheesecake with candied lemon zest.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsps. sugar
3 tbsps. melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and butter.
3. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9" springform pan.
4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
3 packages of cream cheese (8 oz. each), room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tbsps. flour
2 tbsps. lemon juice (1 medium-sized lemon will suffice for the juice and rind)
1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg white
1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Combine cheese, sugar, flour, lemon juice, rind and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix at medium speed until well blended.
3. Add the whole eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Beat in the egg white.
5. Pour the mixture over the baked crust.
6. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 250F and bake for 30 minutes.
7. Remove the cake, allow it to cool for about an hour, then remove the springform portion and chill the cake for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsps. reserved syrup from the candied lemon zest - feel free to add more to sweeten further
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the lemon juice and cornstarch together.
2. Cook for 2 - 5 minutes, until mixture thickens somewhat.
3. Remove pan from heat and stir in the reserved syrup.
4. Allow the glaze to cool, and when lukewarm, brush over the top and sides of the chilled cheesecake with a pastry brush.