I gave up sweets for the Lenten season. It was harder than I imagined.
That also gave me plenty of time to think about/crave/dream about what dessert I was going to make for Easter dinner. It had to be perfect.
This cheesecake won. It is better than I dreamed. It has an animal cracker crust, perfectly sweet and a little tart filling, and a delicious topping of a smooth lemon curd. The lemon curd is perfect for a zillion reasons. It is a beautiful color, tastes amazing, and hides any possible cracks.
Everyone that tried this cheesecake RAVED about it. I am not even a little bit sad that we had a few leftover slices. I can’t wait to make this again.
- 1¼ cup of Sugar
- 1 tablespoon of Lemon Zest, grated
- ¼ cup of Lemon Juice
- 24 oz. of Cream Cheese, room temperature
- 4 Eggs, large, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
- ¼ teaspoon of Salt
- ½ cup of Heavy Cream
- For the Animal Cracker Crust:
- 5 oz. of Animal Crackers
- 3 tablespoons of Sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon of Salt
- 4 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, melted
- For the Lemon Curd:
- ⅓ cup of Lemon Juice
- 2 Eggs, large
- 1 Egg Yolk, large
- ½ cup of Sugar
- 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, cubed
- 1 tablespoon of Heavy Cream
- ¼ teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- Pinch of Salt
- First, in your food processor, combine ¼ cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. Pulse for about 15 seconds, until the sugar is yellow. Remove to a medium bowl and stir in remaining 1 cup of sugar to combine. Set aside for the filling.
- Now to make the crust. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, position the wire rack to the lower middle. In your same food processor bowl (no need to rinse), pulse crackers for about 30 seconds, until fine crumbs. Add the sugar and salt, pulse 2-3 times. Pour in butter and pulse 10 more times until it is the consistency of wet sand. Pour mixture into a 9-inch springform pan. Press crumbs evenly into the bottom with clean hands. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, ~15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
- For the filling, beat the cream cheese on low for about 5 seconds to break it up. Add lemon sugar in a slow stream, increase speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes, until smooth. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporating, scraping the bowl if necessary. Add lemon juice, vanilla, and salt, beat until just combined,a few seconds. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula and pour on top of baked crust.
- Bake until the center jiggles slightly, the sides start to puff, and the surface is no longer shiny. The center of the cake should be 155 degrees internally, about 60-70 minutes. Turn the oven off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon, let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack, slide knife around the edges of the pan. Let the cake cool to room temperature, another hour.
- To make the lemon curd, place a small metal bowl on top of a saucepan with one inch of water in it to create a double-boiler. Place the lemon juice in the bowl to heat, but not boiling. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, gradually add in sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly stream the lemon juice into the eggs. Return mixture to the double-boiler. Stir constantly, with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is thick (sticking to the back of the spatual) and is 170 degrees, ~5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and stir in cold butter, when incorporated, add the cream, vanilla, and salt. Stir until combined. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a nonreactive bowl. Refrigerate lemon curd with plastic wrap touching it until needed.
- When cheesecake has completely cooled, spread the lemon curd over the top. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Remove sides of the springform cake and cut into wedges.
Happy Cooking, The Barbee Housewife