I went to my sister's house the other night. She was going to run a marathon, her first, in the morning and I was going to help get her through it by running with her for the last 6 miles. We were sitting at the table eating dinner and her husband, Matt, started 'casually' telling me about a cheesecake idea he had. Matt has this thing for lemon desserts. It seems to have REALLY started about 6 or so years ago when Matt and Rachel's oldest son, Christopher, was born. I took them a meal to help them out after the birth and of course took a dessert. The dessert was Lemon Tarts. Matt hasn't been the same since. When they had their second child I was living in Ohio and Matt wanted to know how he was going to get his Lemon Tarts. I gave my mom the recipe... So his idea was, to combine the Lemon Tarts with cheesecake. We were both so excited that we almost weren't able to finish eating our dinner. This was going to be OUR treat (for ourselves) to celebrate Rachel finishing her marathon. I made a grocery list and Matt went to the store and got what I needed and we set to work. This was the result. The ultimate in creamy, lemony deliciousness. Make this. Now.
FOR THE CRUST
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1.5 cups Vanilla Wafers
- ½ cup toasted, chopped almonds (pecans are nice too)
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
FOR THE FILLING
- 2 pounds bar cream cheese, room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla (I used my homemade stuff of course and it was perfection!)
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ½ cup sour cream
- zest and juice from one lemon
FOR THE LEMON CURD
- 8 to 10 lemons
- 2 cups sugar
- 8 large egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- Preheat oven to 300º.
- Place a sheet of foil on the inside of the spring form pan. Press it in so it’s as smooth as you can get it.
- In a food processor, pulse vanilla wafers and almonds until fine crumbs form; add melted butter, sugar, and salt, and pulse to combine, don’t make it too moist or it will come out crunchy, it should still crumble when you pick it up, it shouldn’t be sticky. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of the spring form.
- Set a full kettle of water to boil.
- Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium-high until fluffy and smooth scraping down side of bowl, add vanilla. Beat in sour cream, egg yolks, lemon rind and juice
- Remove the batter from the mixer bowl and wash out the bowl (unless of course you have an extra mixer bowl). Put in the egg whites and beat on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture. Pour into the crust.
- Wrap outside of spring form pan in foil, use the large size not the small or the water will leak into your cheesecake. Pour in filling; place in a roasting pan. Pour in boiling water to come halfway up side of spring form. Bake until just set in center, about one and a quarter hours, the middle will still be jiggly but the top will be set. Leave in oven with the door closed to cool for about an hour then remove and let cool to room temp.
- While the cheesecake is cooling, make the lemon curd.
- First prepare an ice bath by placing ice cubes and water in a large bowl and then place a slightly smaller bowl inside, make sure the small bowl is large enough to put all the lemon curd into. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine one cup lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, whole eggs and butter. Whisk to combine and then continuously until it begins to boil, about 7 minutes.
- Once it boils, pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the smaller bowl in the ice bath. Stir it periodically until cooled to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill. About an hour in the fridge should do it.
- Cover the cheesecake and chill overnight.
- Before serving spread about half the lemon curd over the top of the cheesecake, slice and serve.