Today's recipe is for Berry Lemon Cheesecake. It's one of those desserts that looks fancy and difficult to make, but it truly couldn't be any easier. Wait, I suppose that's not entirely true. You could go and BUY a cheesecake already made and ready to eat... THAT might be easier, but then it wouldn't be YOUR cheesecake. When all of your dinner guests are "oooing" and "ahhing" over the creamy wonderfulness of this dessert, I want YOU to be the one they give credit to! So put your apron on, wash your hands, and let's get started!
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about cheesecake is that if you don't bake it JUST RIGHT, it'll crack and look awful. I'm here to tell you that cheesecake is just like real life... It's NEVER perfect, and there's always a wonderful way to make the little messes that are made a whole lot prettier! Truth be told, my cheesecake looked FAR from perfect when it came out of the oven. There were a few ridges along the top and spots where the cake stuck to the pan a little bit, causing it to get a little too brown (in my opinion). But when I covered it with my homemade 5-minute microwave lemon curd and some fresh fruit, it became a beautiful dessert that I'm quite proud of!
One of the things that's really great about desserts like cheesecake is that you can top them with just about any fruit or puree and they compliment each other perfectly. Same goes for confections. There's nothing finer than a wonderful blanket of chocolate ganache or salted caramel drizzled over the top of a decadent slice of creamy, cold cheesecake. It's so YUMMILICIOUS! I used fresh fruit on the top of mine because I had just gone to the farmer's market and I had some gorgeous strawberries and Michigan blueberries to use.
I pulled the lemon curd I had made earlier out of the fridge, washed and sliced the berries and I was ready to go! I really hope you'll give this dessert a try. Oh, and one more thing. I baked it in a Pampered Chef springform pan. It's got a glass bottom so you can see how your crust is coming along AND it makes the perfect serving platter once you remove the form from the sides. It's a quality piece of bakeware! If you have a shipping address in the United States, shoot me an email and I'll connect you with a fabulous Pampered Chef consultant!
- 7 ounces (14 full sheets) graham cracker crumbs
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 16 oz (2 packages) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest (approx. 2 lemons)
- 3 whole large eggs
- 2 whole egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
- 1 pint assorted berries (I used blueberries and sliced strawberries)
- Place one oven rack in the top third of oven and another rack in the bottom third of oven.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 F. if using a convection oven).
- Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and press into bottom of a 9” springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes; Remove pan from oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crust.
- Place the springform pan onto the rack in the top third of oven. Place 2 cups of water into an oven proof pan or saucepan, and place it onto the rack in the bottom third of oven. That will allow steam to rise up and help the cheesecake bake gently.
- Turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes. Check the cake after 40 minutes to be sure that it’s not cracking on top. If it is, remove it from the oven immediately.
- Transfer the pan onto a cooling rack and place the pan of hot water from the oven underneath it. Cool for 30 minutes, then transfer the springform pan to the refrigerator and allow the cake to chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving.
- Garnish top of cake with a thin layer of lemon curd and assorted berries.