Monday, April 14, 2014

Lemon Cheesecake and Blackberry Dessert Sauce

"Some people think destiny is something you cannot escape, such as death or a curdled cheesecake, both of which always turn up sooner or later." - Lemony Snicket
I have to be honest, I was nervous to tackle a cheesecake.  With this recipe, some research on the the concept and I think a little beginner's luck, I had really good results. 

All this talk about a soggy crust.  I found pages and pages of threads discussing how to avoid soggy crusts.  It's a sensible question, we're literally putting a non-watertight pan into a water bath.  Cooking in the waterbath allows the cheesecake to heat evenly and more importantly to cool slowly which will help prevent cracking on the top of the cake.

Heavy duty aluminum foil seems to be the most commonly suggested method for keeping water out of the crust.  Because of the size of the springform, I needed extra-wide foil. 

The first time I made this recipe, I didn't have the extra-wide foil.  But I did have a large disposable foil pan.  After molding it carefully around the springform and making sure there were no cracks, I put it in the water bath and kept my fingers crossed.

I wish I had a photo of the whole cheesecake.  It came out beautifully.  There were no cracks on the top, the texture was smooth and creamy and the crust was moist.

Although this is titled lemon cheesecake, there is only a hint of lemon in the cake which I really enjoy.  This recipe is definitely a go-to.    

Lemon Cheesecake (from Tyler Florence)

2 cups graham crackers - finely ground
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter - melted
1 pound cream cheese - softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon - zested
1 dash vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine the crackers, cinnamon and butter with a fork until evenly moistened.  Pour the crumb mixture into the pan and, using the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined.  Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla.  The batter should be thoroughly mixed but not overbeaten.

Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it.  Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan.  Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake.  Bake for 1 hour.  The cheesecake will still jiggle slightly and will firm up further after chilling, so be careful not to overcook.  

Let cool in pan for 30 minutes.  Remove from water and chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours.  Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim.

This syrupy dessert sauce gets an extra little kick of flavor from the liqueur and lemon added at the end.  I made mine the night before, stored it in the fridge and brought it back to room temperature before serving it with the cheesecake.

I used a silicone basting brush to brush the sauce on the plates.

Blackberry Sauce
1.5 cups

1 pints fresh blackberries (reserve remaining blackberries for garnish)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries - thawed
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place blackberries, blueberries, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and cook until the berries are soft and the sugar has melted.  Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. 

Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in the liqueur and lemon juice.  Set aside until ready to use.

I served this dish with Megalomaniac riesling ice wine and blackberry ice cream 
as the last course of an eight course dinner at the Pasta, Passion and Pistols party.


  1. the cheesecake so very smooth. we loved the hint of lemon and of course, the berry sauce.

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