Adapted from Southern Living Vol. 48 No.2
Doesn’t it look amazing? It is amazing and so much more. The shortbread crust with the creamy cheesecake filling and the gooey lemon curd…the perfect blend of sweetness and tartness. I made this cake for my mom’s birthday last year because 1) it looks amazing, and 2) she loves lemony things. Note: you have to start one day in advance.
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup cold butter, cubed
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 to 2 tbsp ice-cold water
- Pulse the first 3 ingredients in a food processor 3 or 4 times until just blended.
- Add the butter and pulse about 6 more times until crumbly.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of the ice water in a small bowl. Add it to the butter mixture and process until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add up to 1 tablespoon of the remaining ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary.
- Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill 4 to 24 hours.
- Roll out the chilled dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit the dough into a greased 9-inch dark springform pan, gently pressing on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim and discard the excess dough. Chill for 30 minutes.
The Cheesecake Filling
- 4 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer for 3 minutes or until smooth.
- Gradually add the sugar, beating until blended.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
The Lemon Curd
(very easy and cooked in the microwave!)
- 6 lemons
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- Grate the zest from the lemons to equal 2 tablespoons. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup to equal 1 cup.
- Beat the butter and the sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add the lemon juice to the butter mixture, beating at low speed until just blended after each addition. Stir in the zest. Transfer the mixture to a 3-quart microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave at high for 5 minutes, stirring at 1-minute intervals. Microwave, stirring at 30-second intervals, 1 to 2 more minutes or until the mixture thickens, coats the back of a spoon and starts to mound slightly when stirred.
- Place plastic wrap directly on the warm curd to prevent a film from forming. Chill for 4 hours or until firm. Stir in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Assembling the Cheesecake
- Crust (recipe above)
- Cheesecake filling (recipe above)
- Lemon curd (recipe above)
- Preheat the oven to 325F (163C).
- Pour two-thirds of the cheesecake filling (about 4 cups) into the prepared crust. Dollop 1 cup of the lemon curd (about half) over the cheesecake filling in the pan and gently swirl with a knife. Spoon the remaining cheesecake filling into the pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes until the center is just set. Turn the oven off. Let the cheesecake stand in the oven, with the door closed, for 15 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and gently run a knife around the outer edge of the cheesecake to loosen from the sides of the pan. Do not remove the sides of the pan yet. Let it cool completely in the pan (about 1 hour). Cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours.
- Remove the sides of the pan and transfer the cheesecake to a serving platter. Spoon the remaining cup of lemon curd over the cheesecake and top, if desired with candied lemon slices (recipe below)
Candied Lemon Slices
- 2 small lemons
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup water
- Cut the lemons into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Discard the seeds.
- Stir together the sugar, lemon juice and water in a large skillet over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon slices and simmer gently for 14 to 16 minutes until slightly translucent and rinds are softened. Keep the slices in a single layer and turn them occasionally.
- Remove from heat and, using tongs, place the slices in a single layer in a wax paper-lined jellyroll pan. Cool completely (about 1 hour).
- Cover and chill for 2 hours to 2 days.
Comments: My mom was extremely happy with her birthday cake. When our extended family saw the pictures, they were all very jealous. It is the perfect combination of lemon bars and cheesecake in one. The lemon curd, usually a long process, is very easy to make and completely foolproof. I made the cheesecake the day before and just topped it with the remaining lemon curd before serving. Indulge!