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A Naturally Tart, Sunny Lemon Cheesecake

A Naturally Tart, Sunny Lemon Cheesecake

This highly requested Lemon Cheesecake uses homemade lemon curd for a bright and sunny flavor. My recipe is simple and uses NO water bath with beautiful, smooth results.

For Curd
½ cup lemon juice (fresh-squeezed is best!) (118ml)
3 large egg yolks (discard egg whites or save for meringues)
¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
¼ teaspoon table salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces (57g)
For Crust
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (170g)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar, firmly packed
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For Cheesecake
24 oz cream cheese, softened (use brick-style, full-fat cream cheese) (680g)
¾ cup granulated sugar (150g)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ batch homemade whipped cream, for topping (optional)

00:00 Introduction
00:24 Prepare curd first so it has time to cool. In a small saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, 3 egg yolks, ¼ cup (50g) sugar, and salt until combined.
01:51 Add butter and transfer saucepan to stovetop over medium-low heat. Stir or whisk constantly until butter is completely melted.
02:09 Once butter is melted, continue to stir constantly and watch the mixture until it thickens slightly and becomes more opaque. The mixture will also likely begin to simmer just below the surface once ready. Remove from heat and immediately pour curd through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl.
02:55 Allow curd to cool completely before adding to cheesecake batter (detailed below). To speed up the process, you can place a piece of wax paper against the surface of the curd (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate, this typically takes about 30 minutes to cool. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325F (160C) and prepare crust.
03:15 In a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and brown sugar.
03:32 Add melted butter and use your fork to toss everything together until all the crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan (as high as you can, this crust should reach at least ⅔ way up the sides of the pan). I like to use a measuring cup or clean glass to press the crumbs into the pan. Set aside and prepare cheesecake filling.
Cheesecake batter
05:01 (Note that your oven should be preheating to 325F/160C at this point) In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), combine softened cream cheese and ¾ cup (150g) sugar and beat until creamy and smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
05:43 With mixer on low-speed, gradually drizzle in lemon curd and stir until completely combined.
06:17 Add eggs, one at a time, stirring until just-combined after each addition.
06:54 Scrape sides and bottom of bowl again and stir until batter is uniform and smooth and pour cheesecake batter into prepared crust.
07:27 Transfer to center rack of 325F/165C preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The center of the cheesecake should be almost set but will still slightly jiggle in the center when jostled once the cheesecake is finished baking.
07:49 Allow to cool to room temperature for 30-60 minutes then transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 5-6 hours before serving (I do not remove the collar from the springform pan until I am ready to serve).
08:02 Serve topped with homemade whipped cream, if desired. I made a half batch of my homemade whipped cream and used an Ateco 848 piping tip to pipe around the edge of the lemon cheesecake.

Substituting store bought curd
I don’t really recommend substituting store bought lemon curd as it may contain different ingredients or more sugar and the taste and outcome may not be quite the same. However, if you are determined to try you will need about ½ cup of curd.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I store my cheesecake in the springform pan it was baked in and cover with foil or plastic wrap.