I figured you might be wanting a report back on the cheesecake from the other day. I know my kid is cute and all, but c’mon, this is a food-esque blog.
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, issue May & June 2003
Cookie Crumb Crust:
5 ounces fortune cookie rejects–or animal crackers, if you don’t have a fortune cookie bakery nearby
(New World Bakery–1713 10th Street, Sacramento–$1.25 per bag!)
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm
Preheat oven to 325* with the rack on the lower middle slot. In food processor, whiz cookies to even crumbs, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and pulse to combine. Add melted butter in a slow stream while pulsing the processor until it’s evenly moistened. Transfer to a 9-in. springform pan and press firmly to the bottom, using a measuring cup. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, wrap the springform in 2 layers of aluminum foil and set into a roasting pan.
8 oz. sugar, about 1 1/4 cup
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 lb. cream cheese–NOT LOW/NONFAT, room temperature
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
While crust is cooling, process 1/4 cup of the sugar with the lemon zest until sugar is yellow and the zest is broken down, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the remaining sugar.
In a Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on low to soften, about 5-10 seconds. With machine running, add sugar mixture in a slow stream, increase speed to medium and continue to beat until the mix is creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape bowl as needed. Reduce speed to med-low and add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix till incorporated, about 5 seconds. Add heavy cream and mix, about 5 seconds longer. Give batter a final scrape, stir with the rubber spatula, and pour into prepared springform pan. Place on oven rack. CAREFULLY pour hot water around the springform pan–it should reach about halfway up. This is called a bain-marie.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the center of the cake registers 150* on a food thermometer. It should jiggle slightly, and it will just slightly puff. Turn off oven and leave the door ajar and let cool as is for 1 hour. Transfer to rack and run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen. Let cake cool to room temperature, about another hour.
If you have an Auntie Anne that gives you Meyer lemon curd, GREAT. Use that.
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 eggs plus 1 yolk
3 1/2 oz sugar, about 1/2 cup
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ chunks and chilled
1 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla
While cheesecake bakes, heat lemon juice in a small stainless steel or enameled cast iron saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Whisk eggs and yolk in medium bowl and gradually whisk in sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot lemon juice into eggs, when return mix to saucepan and cook over med heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until mix is 170* on food thermometer and is thick enough to cling to spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the cold butter until incorporated. Stir in cream, vanilla and salt then pour curd through a fine mesh strainer into a small glass bowl. Cover surface of curd directly wit plastic wrap and refrigerate.
When cheesecake is cool, scrape lemon curd onto cheesecake still in springform pan. Use an offset spatula or the back of a soup spoon to spread the curd evenly over the cheesecake. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. To serve, remove springform sides and cut into wedges.