I don’t know about you, but I love to watch cooking shows. I am totally obsessed with Food Network and I think I have seen every episode of the Barefoot Contessa. Right now my favorite show is MasterChef. It is basically a cooking contest with non professional (ie: home) cooks. I would never try out for a show like that because even though I love to cook, there are so many things I have never made! Last season I cooked one or two things I saw on the show but this season I thought I would take one dish from every episode and try to cook it each week. This week they had a cheesecake run-off. I have never made cheesecake so I decided to try it! I googled a few recipes and decided to go with a lemon cheesecake (here) because it got 5 stars out of 506 reviews! I just switched lemon wafer cookies for the graham crackers and topped the cake with strawberries instead of blueberries. The whole thing was ah-mazing.
Lemon Cookie Crust:
I started by grinding up 1 box of lemon wafer cookies I purchased at Trader Joes in my food processor. It came out to 2 cups of crumbs. I also preheated the oven to 325F.
To the crumbs I added 1 stick of melted butter.
I mixed the butter into the crumbs until everything was nice and moistened.
Then I poured the wet crumbs into my springform pan and patted them down, bringing up the sides about 1 inch. Then I put it in the fridge while I made the filling.
Lemon Cheesecake Filling:
For the filling I followed the recipe exactly. I started by creaming the softened cream cheese in my mixer.
While the mixer was still going I slowly added 3 eggs. After scraping down the sides I started the machine back up on low speed and slowly added the sugar. Then I finished by pouring in the sour cream, the lemon zest and the vanilla extract.
I poured the mixture into my springform pan on top of the cookie crust. Then I placed the pan on a sheet of tinfoil and brought the edges up to protect the sides of the pan. The entire thing was placed in a roasting dish and then filled with hot water to about 1/2 way up the sides of the cake pan. Then the whole thing was placed in the oven for 55 minutes. The recipe says 45 minutes but I read through most of the 500 comments and the general consensus was it needed a little more time. Also don’t substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream because it wont set up properly. Per the comments, once the 55 minutes were up I left the oven door open and turned the oven off to cool for 30 minutes. I don’t know if this helped at all, but my cake didn’t fall and was perfectly cooked.
After the cake cooled in the oven I loosely placed some plastic over the top and chilled it overnight. That is the best thing about cheesecake- you have to make it ahead of time! The next day I sliced up some strawberries and sprinkled them with a little sugar and squeezed over some lemon juice. I let that sit for a few hours then using a slotted spoon I covered the top of the cake with the fruit.
I spooned a few more strawberries on top of each slice and then ate it! The flavor of the cheesecake is a lusciously light lemon flavor with a hint of vanilla. But my favorite part was the lemon cookie crust- so buttery and lemony at the same time, and not too sweet! The strawberries cut through the richness of the cake and add a fruity tartness to the sweetness of the dessert. It was decadent and delicious and I would definitely make it again.
Here is the recipe:
Lemon Cookie Crust:
1 box of lemon wafers
1 stick of melted butter
Crumble the wafers in a food processor until you have 2 cups of crumbs. Mix with the melted butter. Then spread on bottom of springform pan and bring up the sides about 1 inch. Let it sit in the fridge while you make the filling.
Lemon Cheesecake Filling:
2 oz blocks of cream cheese softened (full fat)
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream (full fat)
1 lemon zested
1 dash vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate. Using a spatula spread a layer of Warm Lemon Blueberry topping over the surface.
Slice the cheesecake with a thin, non-serrated knife that has been dipped in hot water. Wipe dry after each cut.
**Stay tuned for next week when I attempt eggs Benedict for the first time! I have never poached an egg in my life!