Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake

This is another typical case of trying to use up the almost expiring stuff. This time, the items include 3 blocks of cream cheese and half a tub of sour cream. After some research, and some mental struggling of whether to make something new or follow a T&T recipe, I decided to try the Lemon Curd Marble Cheesecake, featured on Gourmet magazine.

There were mixed reviews on this recipe. But I decided to bake it anyway, since Gourmet has never disappointed me before. 2 of the common complaints were cracks on top of the cheesecake and the wobbly center when the cheesecakes were pulled out from the oven. Crack, is something I am familiar with. I am famous for forgeting how long the cake has been baking. So mine always come out a tad too dry, with cracks on top. They were still delicious (most of the time), but never presentable. So, crack is not an issue for me. Since overbake is my specialty, I don't see why my cheesecake will have the wobbly center, as some encountered. In fact, it will be a challenge for me to remember when to pull the cheesecake out when the center is still wobbly....

Anyhow, I proceeded to make the lemon curd, which proved to be very time consuming. Because I only have a tiny sieve. It took forever to force the residue-less curd through the sieve. After that was done, I took out a pack of graham cracker, and carefully crushed them into crumbs. Did I tell you that I get the lemon zest for the curd by first peeling the skin, and then cut them into tiny bits? Yes, everything here is pretty primitive and hence time consuming. But I believe once upon a time, this was how our ancestor did it. I should be thankful that I have a kitchen-aid blender to do all the mixing and beating.

After all these work were done, making cheesecake was a breeze. I baked mine for 1 hour, as suggested by others, and it was a bit wobbly in the center. And yes! I remembered the time! The cheesecake firmed up just as the recipe described. I am also thrilled that there's no crack for the first time! ( ok, there were some small cracks initially, but they somehow patched back as the cake firmed up.)

OCT brought a big piece for his collaborator who is leaving St Louis on Friday. It would be nice if we had time to dress the cake up a bit or wrote something meaning on the cake. But I guess, it's the thought that counts? Nevermind that he didn't contribute any effort in making the cheesecake.

I had a piece with OCT and another piece later for morning snack. They were delicious! I probably didn't add enough lemon curd to the batter. Because I didn't see the distinct line formed as described in the magazine. No matter, they still taste yummy. And I really like the tangy lemon curd in the cheesecake. I guess I like everything with lemon. Now, I must think of a way to use up the rest of the lemon curd...

Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake
(adapted from Gourmet July 2006)

For lemon curd
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For crust
1 1/3 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (5 oz)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Special equipment: a 9- to 91/2-inch (24-cm) springform pan
Accompaniment: blueberries

Make lemon curd: Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Add butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubbles appear on surface, about 6 minutes.

Force lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide shallow dish, scraping bottom of sieve, then cover surface with wax paper. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Make and bake crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Invert bottom of springform pan (to make it easier to slide cake off bottom), then lock on side. 3Stir together crust ingredients in a bowl, then press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan and bake 10 minutes, then cool crust completely in springform pan on a rack.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in sour cream and vanilla until combined.

Pour two thirds of cream cheese filling into crust, then spoon half of lemon curd over filling and swirl curd into filling with a small knife. (Avoid touching crust with knife to prevent crumbs getting into filling.) Repeat with remaining filling and curd.

Bake cheesecake until set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center trembles when pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes. (Center of cake will appear very loose but will continue to set as it cools.) Transfer springform pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen. Cool completely, about 2 hours, then chill, uncovered, at least 4 hours. Remove side of springform pan before serving.

Cooks' Notes:
• Lemon curd can be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered.
• Crust (without filling) can be made 1 day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.
• Cheesecake can be chilled, loosely covered, up to 2 days. Cheesecake must be completely chilled before covering to prevent condensation on its surface.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I have a post on all the wonderful ways to use lemon curd.

Google "stephmodo" "lemon curd" ;)

Love this cheesecake.

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