Carrie has a sweet tooth. You benefit.
In honor of my mother’s birthday, this month I bring you her favorite dessert. This recipe was given to her by a friend many years ago. It is originally from a magazine, although which one or when it was published are unknown. Regardless of it’s origin, it is a winner. Every time I serve this dessert, there are oohs and aahs, even from self-proclaimed cheesecake-haters! A light, refreshing dessert, this would make a wonderful addition to your Easter table.
2 cups crushed graham crackers (I use cinnamon)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix graham crackers and butter until well combined. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9” buttered springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.
3-8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat cream cheese until soft. Gradually blend in sugar. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Mix in lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla. Pour into prepared crust and bake until slightly puffed, approximately 40 minutes.
Blend all topping ingredients. Spread on hot filling and bake additional 15 minutes. Cool cake 30 minutes.
¾ cup water
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 egg yolk
½ cup sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons corn starch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons lemon peel
In a heavy saucepan, combine water, lemon juice and egg yolk. Stir in sugar and corn starch. Bring to a boil over low-medium heat, stirring constantly, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, butter, and lemon peel. Stir until butter melts. Cool for 20 minutes and then spread on cake. Place cheesecake in refrigerator and remove 20-30 minutes before serving. Best when made a day ahead.
The taste: Yum, yum, yum! This is a creamy, light, lemony filling topped with a rich sour cream topping and a tart glaze. The various textures layer together to make a winning combination. And, how can you go wrong placing all of that goodness in a simple cinnamon graham cracker crust?
The ease: I used to think this recipe was a real pain, but now that it’s a regular in my repertoire, I don’t think it’s so bad. The key is to squeeze the lemon juice and zest the peel for the filling and the glaze at the beginning. And, making this the day ahead is crucial. It allows the flavors to meld and the cake to get good and cold. Make this when you have plenty of time, and you’ll love it, too!
The fat-assness: OK…it’s cheesecake. Maybe we can make ourselves feel better by saying that we are getting our citrus and dairy in, but let’s be honest, this is not on anyone’s diet.
The clean up: 3 bowls, mixer, 1 pan, measuring cups and spoons and the springform pan. Somehow I always manage to make my kitchen look like a bomb went off when I make this cake, but I think this speaks more to how I cook than the recipe itself!
The verdict: The telltale sign of a favorite recipe in my collection is one with lots of crud splattered onto it. This one is nearly illegible at this point. It is an amazing, and yes, luscious, springtime treat! Enjoy!
The tip: Have you ever nearly blinded yourself when trying to juice a lemon? Before squeezing, poke the halved lemon with a knife. By making these little cuts in the lemon, you make it softer and easier to squeeze…no lemon juice in the eye!