General, Recipes

Lemon Bar Cheesecake

10.02.10 | Comment?

By popular request, I am posting the methods I used to make my dream a reality. Pictures soon. The lemon bar portion is Ina Garten’s recipe. I made the whole recipe, using half to make an 8×8 pan of lemon bars, and the other half for the cheesecake. If you only want to make the cheesecake and not the baked crack that are the lemon bars, then just halve the lemon bar recipe. You can follow Ina’s excellent and thorough instructions for making the lemon bars. The cheesecake filling is adapted from epicurious. One thing, probably the only thing, I will change next time is to make the cheesecake itself more tart. The lemon bars alone are supremely delicious and tart, but against the sweetness of the cheesecake they feel a bit less so. I’ve provided my future plans below.

A word of caution: the cheesecake must be given its time. Prepare yourself to wait overnight for it to chill. Your patience will be rewarded.

Set out your butter, eggs, and cream cheese and go do something else for an hour. (Or, for the impatient or forgetful like myself, “defrost” them in the microwave.) Preheat the oven to 350F. Then make the crust.

For the crust:
• 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 2 cups flour
• 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Put half of the dough into a greased/sprayed 10″ round cake pan (or springform pan, if you like to go to the trouble, but I do not) and press it evenly into the bottom and about a centimeter up the side.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on, but reduce heat to 300F.

For the cheesecake:
• 3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 3/4 cup sour cream (next time I’ll use 1/2 c heavy cream + 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla (next time I think I’ll use lemon extract or lemon oil)
• 1 tbsp lemon zest

Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in sour cream, extract, and lemon zest until combined.

Pour cream cheese filling into crust. Now I use a water bath. I place my 10″ pan inside a 12″ pan and pour boiled/warm water into the bigger pan, taking care not to flood the actual cheesecake. Bake cheesecake until set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center trembles when pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes. (Center of cake will appear very loose but will continue to set as it cools – I promise.)

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and transfer the pan to a rack. Turn the oven back up to 350F and let it preheat while you make the lemon bar filling.

For the filling (Recall that this is for a whole batch. For just the cheesecake, halve the recipe.):
• 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
• 3 cups granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
• 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice*
• 1 cup flour
• Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the top of the cheesecake and place the pan back in the water bath. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the water bath and place on a wire rack to cool. Run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen it and prevent cracking. Let cool to room temperature.

Cool completely, about 2 hours, then chill, uncovered, at least 4 hours (or overnight is best). Remove side of springform pan before serving, or if you used a regular pan like myself, flip it out to your hand on plastic wrap, then flip to a serving plate. Dust the top with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

*I cannot support the use of anything but fresh lemons for this. I’m not saying I’ll hunt you down and force you to squeeze lemons as punishment, but don’t complain to me that it doesn’t taste good if you don’t use real lemons. Because it won’t taste good. Been there.

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