Much like my love for ice cream, my love for cheesecake is a little snobbish. I don’t discriminate against flavors, it can be plain, chocolatey or fruity. The kicker is, it MUST be thick and dense. No pansy flimsy thin crumbly curdy cheesecake. Then there’s my husband, the crust connoisseur, who insists the crust must be thick, but not crumbly. This means, between the 2 of us, our tastes require a super thick buttery crust and a super thick dense filling. Double whammy awesomeness is what that equals.
I like swirls, and ripples, and spirals in my food. It’s pretty. It’s like art. Sure, I probably could have just mixed the lemon curd into the cheesecake… meh, boooorrring. So, I dolloped it on top, then swirled. Much prettier. I thought about adding a meringue topping, but I really like the haphazard blurry blobs of lemon curd. No need to hide them.
You could use store bought lemon curd, but why? Lemon curd takes just a few simple ingredients and only a few minutes to make. Don’t throw away the yolks when you make an egg white omelet, the yolks are pure gold! Mayo, ice cream, and lemon curd! There’s tons of other uses too, but those are the main 3 ways I use egg yolks. Spread leftover lemon curd on sourdough toast, scoop it into plain yogurt with raspberries on top, or just eat it straight out of the jar by the spoonful. Which you will, we all do, it’s too good not too.
Cheesecake MUST chill in the fridge for at LEAST 6 hours before serving. It’s worth the wait.
You can freeze your baked cheesecake, or eat some, and freeze some for later. Just thaw it in the fridge for a day before serving.
Low fat ingredients work well in this too: cream cheese, sour cream (or even greek yogurt) and graham crackers.
Lemon curd can be made days ahead of time. This recipe will give you leftovers, which you’ll be happy to have.
- 6 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (chilled and cut into cubes)
- For the crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (13 crackers)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- For the filling:
- 2 pounds (4 blocks) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 lemon, zested (optional)
- 1 cup lemon curd
To make the Lemon Curd:
In a small saucepan, combine egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Turn heat to medium, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir and scrape the sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon (about 5 to 7 minutes).
Turn off heat and stir in butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the curd into a jar or bowl. let it cool at room temperature for about an hour, then put a lid on and refrigerate until completely cool and firm. Store in the fridge up to 1 week.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the bottom of a springform pan in tin foil, then latch the sides on.
*Wrapping the bottom of the pan in tin foil will help remove it later.
Pulse the graham crackers and sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Stream in melted butter. Pulse until it’s all combined. Dump into the lined pan and press into bottom and up sides about 1 inch. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
Turn up oven to 425 degrees.
Clean out the food processor.
Add the cream cheese and sugar to the processor and pulse a few times. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and process until smooth. Add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest and pulse until combined.
Pour into the cooled pan. Dollop with the lemon curd and swirl the lemon curd with a knife.
Bake cheesecake for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 325 degrees. DON’T OPEN THE OVEN. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat, open oven door and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and let it cool. Once it’s completely cool, chill the cheesecake in the fridge overnight.
Run a warm knife around the edge of the pan, remove the springform sides. Invert the cheesecake onto a plate, peel off tin foil, then turn the cheesecake back over onto your serving dish.
Slice and serve.