Is there anything better than home-made lemon curd? I'm hard-pressed to think of anything, so when I found this recipe for lemon curd cheesecake, I knew it was something I had to spend half a day making. I realize the photo here isn't very appetizing—between the bad color and angle and general lack of presentation, this look more like a block of crusty grits than a delectable cheesecake, but believe me, it's wonderful. And this looks so much nicer than it did later when I dropped the thing on the floor—Splat! the whole cake slid off and landed on the kitchen tile. Don't worry, though. I salvaged it, just not for company.
I confirmed something while making this cheesecake. I had suspected that it's possible for graham crackers crumbs, or even whole graham crackers, to go rancid like oil but needed a chance to test my theory. Well, when I got to the crust portion of this recipe, I discovered I was out of crumbs. I found an unopened box of graham crackers, though, and decided to grind them in a food processor. I thought to taste one first, though, because I was pretty sure the box was left over from last fall when we made s'mores at the lake house. I'm telling you, the taste of rancid graham crackers is like drinking a jug of motor oil. Not that I have ever drunk a jug of motor oil, but you can't even swallow the crumbs of an old cracker, it's so foul. And ridding your mouth of the taste takes some doing–a considerable amount of sticking your mouth directly under the faucet and spitting and sputtering. Gack! Pleasant image, I know.
So, I made a cookie crust for this cheesecake instead of a graham crust, and it worked just fine.
Here's the recipe
Lemon Curd Cheesecake
For lemon curd:
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/3 cups finely ground (fresh) graham cracker crumbs (5 oz)
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Special equipment: a 9- to 91/2-inch (24-cm) springform pan
Make lemon curd:
Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Add butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubbles appear on surface, about 6 minutes.
Force lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide shallow dish, scraping bottom of sieve, then cover surface with wax paper. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Make and bake crust:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Invert bottom of springform pan (to make it easier to slide cake off bottom), then lock on side. 3Stir together crust ingredients in a bowl, then press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan and bake 10 minutes, then cool crust completely in springform pan on a rack.
Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
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 and vanilla until combined.
Pour two thirds of cream cheese filling into crust, then spoon half of lemon curd over filling and swirl curd into filling with a small knife. (Avoid touching crust with knife to prevent crumbs getting into filling.) Repeat with remaining filling and curd.
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.) Transfer springform pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen. Cool completely, about 2 hours, then chill, uncovered, at least 4 hours. Remove side of springform pan before serving.