Monday, February 04, 2013

Southern Living: Lemon Bar Cheesecake

Your husband love lemon like my sister's husband?  This is your new favorite recipe.  I'm not lying.  This cheesecake packs the biggest lemon punch I've had in a while.  They aren't messing around when they say the thing is like lemon bars.  It's just this side of puckering your mouth.  In a good, sugary way of course.

It looks like a lot of steps, and honestly it kinda is, but it's really very much worth it.  Not only is the thing delicious, it's pretty much a show stopper.  It looks like you spent all weekend making it.  But you didn't.  Because you took the lazy way out and made the lemon curd in the microwave.  I won't tell, I promise.

Lemon Bar Cheesecake
From Southern Living magazine, February 2013

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1 to 2 tablespoons ice-cold water
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups Quick and Easy Lemon Curd, divided
Candied Lemon Slices (optional)

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 tablespoon 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 tablespoon remaining ice-cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary. Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 4 to 24 hours.

Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a lightly greased 9-inch dark springform 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. 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 pan.) Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.

Remove sides of pan, and transfer cheesecake to a serving platter. Spoon remaining 1 cup lemon curd over cheesecake, and, if desired, top with Candied Lemon Slices.

Quick and Easy Lemon Curd

6 lemons
½ cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs

Grate zest from lemons to equal 2 tablespoons. Cut lemons in half; squeeze juice into a measuring cup to equal 1 cup.

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-quart 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.  Stove-Top Method: Transfer mixture to a heavy 4-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 14 to 16 minutes.

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.

Candied Lemon Slices

2 small lemons
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ cup water

Cut lemons into -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 in a wax paper-lined jelly-roll pan, using tongs. Cool completely (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 2 hours to 2 days. Reserve syrup for another use.

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