Thursday, March 21

LUSCIOUS LEMON CHEESECAKE

BE STILL MY EVER LOVING LEMON HEART......      



This is it. I have found the one single thing I want to savor  as they yell, 'CLEAR!' and apply the defibrillator to my chest! This delightful and lush lemon cheesecake is heavenly. The presentation, excellent creamy texture and intense lemon flavor makes this lemon cheesecake a WINNER! I especially liked the shortbread-style crust. A graham cracker crust would be fine, but this reminded me of the crust you use when making lemon bars....which happen to be celebrities in our home. WE ARE THE LEMON LOVING FAMILY! 

....and can I just pause & sigh just a moment over the lemon curd? It's my new favorite recipe. I achieved a colossal success on the very first attempt! I'm not exactly sure why, but I chose to cook it on the stove top instead of the microwave and it was easy and absolutely perfect. If you choose to go this route, read the recipe and then read it again. Once it gets to going you don't want to take your eyes off your bubblin' pot. This recipe is most definitely a keeper. I did not top our cheesecake with the remaining lemon curd. I could not. My P's stood around eating it by the spoonfuls. Imagine how wonderful it would be served alongside the cheesecake with black, blue or rasp-berries! I'm thinking it would be DE-VINE. Next go around I will be making a double batch.  I have to stop and add my disclaimer on this part of the recipe.....I used less sugar. Maybe 1/3 of a cup less. I'm not a huge fan of overly sweet lemon curd. 

All I can say about the candied lemon slices is mmm...uummm, mmh. Think 'What About Bob?'.... "Oh, Fay, this is SO SCRUMPTIOUS. Is this hand-shucked?" - Bill Murray as Bob Wiley. 'nuff said.

This is a dream of a recipe, but be prepared, it is one of those 'MUST MAKE AHEAD' desserts. Definitely a two day creation, but if you've got the time your concerted efforts will NOT go unnoticed!       

LUSCIOUS LEMON CHEESECAKE, sweet & tart... just the way I like it ... yum! 




Cheesecake


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed 
  • egg yolks 
  • to 2 Tbsp. ice-cold water 
  • (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups Quick and Easy Lemon Curd, divided
  • Candied Lemon Slices, optional

WHAT TO DO
  • Pulse first 3 ingredients in a food processor 3 or 4 times or just until blended. Add butter, and pulse 5 or 6 times or until crumbly. Whisk together egg yolks and 1 Tbsp. ice-cold water in a small bowl; add to butter mixture, and process until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl, adding up to 1 Tbsp. remaining ice-cold water, 1 tsp. at a time, if necessary. Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 2 hours.
  • Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a lightly greased 9-inch spring-form pan, gently pressing on bottom and up sides of pan; trim and discard excess dough. Chill 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  • Pour two-thirds of cheesecake batter (about 4 cups) into prepared crust; dollop 1 cup lemon curd over batter in pan, and gently swirl with a knife. LICK KNIFE HERE. Spoon remaining batter into pan.
  • Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or just until center is set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with door closed, 15 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven, and gently run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from sides of pan. Do not remove sides of the pan. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
  • Run a knife around cheesecake again and gently remove sides of the pan. Carefully transfer cheesecake to a serving platter. Spoon remaining 1 cup lemon curd over cheesecake, and top with Candied Lemon Slices; not necessary but a great touch.


Quick and Easy Lemon Curd


The beauty of this lemon curd is you can cook it in the microwave as well as on the stove-top. Either way the results are a buttery rich and smooth as silk lemon curd that will become a huge hit in your circle of friends.


INGREDIENTS                                
  • lemons
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 4 eggs

WHAT TO DO
  • Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add lemon juice to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition; stir in zest. (Mixture will look curdled.) Transfer to a 3-qt. microwave-safe bowl.
  • Microwave at HIGH 5 minutes, stirring at 1-minute intervals. Microwave, stirring at 30-second intervals, 1 to 2 more minutes or until mixture thickens, coats the back of a spoon, and starts to mound slightly when stirred.
  • Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on warm curd (to prevent a film from forming), and chill 4 hours or until firm. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
  • Stove-Top Method: Prepare as directed through Step 2, transferring mixture to a heavy 4-qt. saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 14 to 16 minutes. Proceed as directed in Step 4.

    Candied Lemon Slices

    You can use these candied lemon slices to garnish cakes and other desserts, really cute fourth'd on top of cupcakes or summer drinks. They also make fantastic snacks, if you're a fellow lemon-lover!



    INGREDIENTS 
    • 2 small lemons
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 3/4 cup water


    WHAT TO DO

    • Cut lemons into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; discard seeds. 
    • Stir together sugar, lemon juice, and water in a large skillet over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. 
    • Add lemon slices, and simmer gently, keeping slices in a single layer and turning occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes or until slightly translucent and rinds are softened. 
    • Remove from heat. Place slices in a single layer on a wax paper lined jelly-roll pan. 
    • Cool completely, about 1 hour. 
    • Cover and chill 2 hours to 2 days. 
    • Reserve syrup for another use.

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