Monday, August 16, 2010

Match Monday: Lemon Bar Cheesecake

In my own words: I'm smooth and sweet and pride myself on being classy.  I can also be quite bold.
For fun: Dinner parties.  For two.
Favorite things: Indulging your fantasies.

Today's Match Monday treat was suggested by Dr. Magoo.*  Dr. Magoo is a physician who also happens to be - you guessed it - a dead ringer for our favorite nearsighted cartoon character.

In saying he resembles Mr. Magoo, I don't mean to insult him (nor do I mean to compliment him, I suppose); it's merely an observation.

My keen observation skills have also led me to this conclusion: Subtlety is not one of Dr. Magoo's strong points.  To quote his email to me:

"I want you to make me a cheesecake."

Now, I do realize I set myself up to receive this kind of email.  My profile mentions my passion for baking and asks if guys have a favorite treat I should attempt.

But no other gentleman has been so upfront about it.  I mean, I haven't even winked at the guy.

Don't get me wrong - I do appreciate that Dr. Magoo knows what he wants.  I can even imagine that a guy so directly requesting my, um, services, could be kind of sexy...but before we've even met?


Okay.  Sorry.  I'll calm down now.  It's just online dating, afterall.  I don't have to write Dr. Magoo back, and I certainly don't have to make him a cheesecake just because he said he wants some...

...but that doesn't mean I can't make cheesecake for myself.

Man do I love cheesecake.

Everyone loves cheesecake, right? ;-)

*Nicknames are my own.  I will never reveal usernames or identifying information beyond what is already public on

Lemon Bar Cheesecake
From Fine Cooking, April/May 2010 via Butter Plus Cream
Makes 8 slices.

For the crust:

8 oz (2 cups) vanilla wafer crumbs
3 Tbs granulated sugar
7 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

3 8 oz packages cream cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tbs all purpose flour
pinch table salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbs finely grated lemon zest
1 Tb pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Lemon curd (homemade or store bought - homemade recipe below)

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

2. In a medium bowl, stir the cookie crumbs and sugar.  Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly.  Transfer the mixture to a 9 or 10 inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press use your fingers 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 300F.

3. Beat the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, flour, and salt with an electric mixer at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Make sure the cheese has no lumps.

4. Add the sugar and continue beating until smooth.

5. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat until blended, about 30 seconds.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended.  Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

6. Bake at 300F 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.

7. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.  The cake can be frozen for up to 1 month.  (Place cake in refrigerator overnight to defrost.)

8. To serve, unclasp and remove the sides of the springform pan and run a long thin spatula under the bottom crust.  Slide the cake onto a flat serving plate.  Spread the lemon curd over the top of the cake.

Light and Luscious Lemon Curd
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living via Butter Plus Cream

4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Put egg yolks into a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.

2. Whisk together lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and the lemon juice; whisk until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Cook 2 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low; gradually whisk one-third of the lemon mixture into the reserved egg yolks. Pour mixture into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 1/2 minutes.

4. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until firm and cold, at least 1 hour (up to 1 day).