Summer is coming, which means citrus! If you like lemon desserts, this one is sublime. The flavor is delicate; not too sweet, not too tart. The cheesecake itself bakes in a bain-marie, or water bath, a trick for assuring it is evenly baked and doesn’t crack.
Candying lemon slices to use as decoration is optional, but if you decide to attempt it, they need to dry overnight, so plan accordingly.
Candied lemon slices
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup water
1 large lemon, sliced 1/4″ thick, seeds removed
In a skillet, bring water and confectioner’s sugar to a low simmer over medium heat. Do not let it boil and brown; you want to create a simple syrup, not a caramel.
Once the sugar water is simmering, submerge the lemon slices. Let the whole mixture simmer slowly for 20-25 minutes.
Remove lemons onto a candy or drying rack with parchment paper underneath to catch the drips. The lemon slices should be pliable, but still intact.
Leave the rack of lemon slices out on a counter for at least 12 hours to dry completely.
Tip: Don’t throw out the lemon-infused simple syrup that remains in the pan after you remove the lemon slices. It is especially delicious in tea.
Lemon cheesecake with a graham cracker crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
4-8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
Heat oven to 325°F
Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and butter. Press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan.
Beat cream cheese and remaining 1 cup of sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream, zest and juice; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low after each just until blended. Do not over mix. Pour mixture over crust.
Put the cheesecake pan in the center of a roasting pan and carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
Bake at 325°F for 40-50 minutes or until the center is almost set. It should have a slight jiggle to it.
Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before adding the mascarpone cream layer.
Mascarpone whipped cream
Original recipe: Stress Baking
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
Chill a large mixing bowl in the fridge.
In your chilled bowl, combine mascarpone cheese and sugar on a high speed until completely combined.
Add vanilla and heavy cream, and mix on a low setting until it is mostly combined. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form.
Spread all the whipped cream evenly over the top of the cooled cheesecake; place candied lemons on top for decoration. Return your beautiful dessert to the fridge to keep cool until serving.