Heavenly Lemon Cheesecake

READY IN: 2hrs 15mins
Recipe by mom2alexjake

This recipe came from Cook's Illustrated. They have tried many versions of this recipe and concluded with this delicious recipe. I made it for Easter this year and it got rave reviews. I changed the crust from animal crackers (which they thought worked best) to a shortbread crust. The homemade lemon curd is optional, but well worth the effort and very tasty! Do not let the lengthy directions scare you off. I PROMISE it is well worth the effort!! Had I not made this myself, I would have sworn it was purchased- it was THAT good!!

Top Review by groovychick

It was the lemon curd that really elevated this to something special. I had never made it before and didn't have a thermometer so I just eyeballed it and it worked fine. I made these in "mini" form- dropped a vanilla wafer into the bottom of a cupcake liner and poured the filling over it. Baked them for aobut 18 minutes. (tip- the silver liners stand up on their own and don't need a muffin tin, plus they look nice). Topped the curd with a bit of whipped cream and stuck a small lemon cookie into the top. They looked very pretty and tasted amazing.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Press the crumbs firmly and evenly into the pan bottom, keeping the sides as clean as possible.
  3. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  5. When cool, wrap the outside of the pan with two 18-inch-square pieces of heavy-duty foil; set the springform pan in a roasting pan.
  6. For the filling: While the crust is cooling, process ¼ cup sugar and lemon zest in a food processor until the sugar is yellow and the zest is broken down, about 15 seconds.
  7. Transfer the lemon sugar to a small bowl; add the remaining 1 cup sugar.
  8. In a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on low to soften slightly, about 5 seconds.
  9. With the machine running, add the sugar mixture in a slow steady stream; increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until the mixture is creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  10. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  11. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time; beat until incorporated-about 30 seconds.
  12. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well after each addition as needed.
  13. Add lemon juice, vanilla, and salt.
  14. Mix until just incorporated, about 5 seconds; add the heavy cream and mix until just incorporated, about 5 seconds longer.
  15. Give the batter a final scrape, stir with a rubber spatula, and pour into the prepared springform pan; fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to fill halfway up the sides of springform pan.
  16. Bake 55 to 60 minutes and until the center jiggles slightly, the sides just start to puff, and the surface is no longer shiny.
  17. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the cake should register 150 degrees.
  18. Turn off the oven and prop open the oven door with a potholder; allow the cake to cool in the water bath in the oven for 1 hour.
  19. Remove foil and the transfer the cake pan to a wire rack; run a small paring knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen, and cool the cake to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  20. For the lemon curd: While the cheesecake bakes, heat the lemon juice in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
  21. Whisk the eggs and yolk in a medium nonreactive bowl; gradually whisk in the sugar.
  22. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the eggs, then return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and is thick enough to cling to a spoon, about 3 minutes.
  23. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cold butter until incorporated; stir in the cream, vanilla, and salt, then pour the curd through a fine-mesh strainer into a small nonreactive bowl.
  24. Cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap (not just the bowl- to avoid forming a"skin") refrigerate until needed.
  25. To finish the cake: When cheesecake is cool, spread the lemon curd onto the cheesecake using an offset spatula.
  26. Spread the curd evenly over the top of the cheesecake.
  27. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  28. To serve, remove the sides of the springform pan and cut into wedges.
  29. This is a wonderful but RICH cheesecake, so keep the portions small!

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