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Lemon Bar Cheesecake


Serves 10-12

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 104

This cheesecake gets a double-dose of citrus from the lemon zest stirred into the filling and a layer of tangy lemon curd spread on top. Create your own customized cheesecake recipe with our Recipe Maker.

For the crust:
  • 8 oz. vanilla wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
  • 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
For the garnish:
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  • Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Make the crust:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap or a flat-bottom measuring cup). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

Fill and bake the cheesecake:

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the lemon zest and vanilla, and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month (see make-ahead tip, below).

Garnish and serve:

Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate.

Spread lemon curd evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Sift confectioners' sugar evenly over the cake and serve immediately. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

Make Ahead Tips

To freeze, put the unmolded, cooled cake on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm; then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Photo: Thomas Allen

I made this cake with Meyer Lemons, reducing the sugar by 1/4, doubling the lemon zest and adding lemon juice as well. Since my husband doesn't like lemon curd, my cake went without. We really liked it, and I will make it again.

Wonderful cheesecake recipe with just enough delicate lemon flavor and rich texture. Two words of advice: grind the vanilla wafers in a food processor to ensure a fine, even grind. And secondly, butter your springform pan and then line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Magnificent spring dessert!

Delicious! Made it for Easter and it was a huge hit. I used a combination of ginger snap & graham cracker crumbs for the crust and made the lemon curd from a previous FC recipe. A definite keeper!

"Best cheesecake I've ever had" was the review from my husband who tries cheesecake everywhere we go. Delicious texture, light, creamy and a flavor to die for! Also made my own lemon curd. Have frozen 1/2 of the cake and hope it will be as good thawed...a winner

Hillmill!!! Help...LOL...did you use your turkey roaster to cook the lemon bar cheesecake in?? You said "roaster" and I think that's a fabulous idea!! I hope you get this message in the next few days...I see it's been about 2 yrs since you posted...Thanks!

This was delicious. Everyone raved about it. I'm not even a cheesecake lover and I loved it. Very easy to make.

Fantastic. Will definetly make again. Everyone loved it. It was the first dessert to go and everyone was asking for the recipe. I had never used store-bought lemon curd before. It made a great topping for the cheesecake. I did skip the powdered sugar.

This recipe was a hit for Easter Sunday; the flavour and texture was very good. I made the mistake of adding chilled lemon curd prior to serving, E.D.Smith's, and found the icing sugar disappeared when I sprinkled it as directed. I wanted to avoid the curd skimming over. Next time I will do this step beforehand and hope that it "lightly" skims over to feature the icing sugar.

Easy delicious cheesecake and a big hit for Easter dinner. The Lemon Curd for Scottish Shortbread-also from Fine Cooking is perfect to top it with-and equally easy to do.

Best. Cheesecake. Ever. Light and fluffy, the lemon was so refreshing and not overly citrus-y. I didn't have lemon curd either, but made a compote out of the mulberries that grow in my backyard and it was delish. Not really rich and heavy like some cheesecakes can be. I will try the lemon curd next time!

Great recipe. Usually make my own lemon curd, but used store bought. I made sure the lemon curd was at room temperature and whipped it with a whisk for easy spreading. My guests gave many compliments. Fool proof recipe.

Best cheese cake recipe I have ever tried, hands down. There was something about the cheesecake filling mixture with the ricotta etc. than just turned out perfectly. I absolutely can't stand when people rate recipes after altering them, but to be honest, I could not find prepared lemon curd when I needed it (and didn't have time to do my own), so I did end up getting some seedless berry preserves to spread over the top instead, and then dusted with confectioners' sugar. Huge hit at Easter. Will be making this again very soon, possibly with some Limoncello whipped cream. :)

I served this lemon cheesecake to twelve guests. It got rave reviews from eveyone present. I used meyer lemons in both the cake and the curd, and an excellent madagscar vanilla. I sealed the springfoam pan with heavy tin foil to completely seal the pan and cooked the cake in my roaster in a water bath. There was nothing heavy about this cheesecake

Made this for Easter - excellent taste and very easy!

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