9. Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
- 1 recipe lemon curd
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 16 oz full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups sour cream, room temperature
For the Meringue
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the lemon curd
- Zest of two lemons
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender (optional)
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 large eggs
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
Make the lemon curd
- In a saucepan, mix together lemon zest, lavender (if using), and granulated sugar together. Rub the zest and lavender into the sugar to help release the oils.
- Add the salt and lemon juice and turn on the heat to medium high. Stir well until the mixture is hot and simmering.
- In a separate bowl. Beat the eggs well.
- Slowly Add one third of the lemon mixture to the egg, beating the eggs well as you pour. Then transfer the egg mixture to the saucepan, beating the mixture in the saucepan as you pour. Continue to beat continuously until the mixture thickens.
- Test doneness by sticking a wooden spoon into the mixture and running your finger down the back of the spoon. When the line stays where you ran your finger, it is ready.
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter, mixing until completely combined.
- Strain to remove the zest, lavender, and any egg that may have cooked. Allow to cool completely and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Make the cheesecake
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cover the outside an 8″ springform pan with aluminum foil.
- Add the graham cracker crumbs to a food processor. Run the food processor and drizzle in the melted butter. It should come together like wet sand.
- Add the graham cracker crumbs to the springform pan. Use the bottom and sides of a glass to press the crumbs to the bottom and sides of the pan. Make sure it is well packed together. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.
- Add the cream cheese to a mixing bowl and beat with a paddle attachment until it is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed and as you add each next ingredient.
- Add the eggs in one at a time. Beat in each egg until adding another. Make sure each egg is completely combined with the cream cheese until you add in the next.
- Pour in the sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix until the mixture is smooth again.
- Slowly add in the sour cream one cup at a time until it is thoroughly mixed in. Do not overmix.
- Fold in ½ cup of the lemon curd into the batter. You can either leave swirls of the curd in the batter or completely combine the curd into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake for 45 minutes. The edges should look mostly set and the center will look jiggly still. Turn off the heat and keep the oven cracked with the cheesecake inside for an hour. This helps prevent cracking.
- Remove the cheesecake and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
- As the cheesecake is cooling, make the meringue. Clean a mixing bowl and whisk and thoroughly dry. Quickly rub down with lemon juice.
- Add the egg whites to the bowl and beat. While you are beating the whites, add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and heat without mixing until the sugar dissolves.
- Add cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites and once the egg whites are at soft peaks, turn up the speed of your mixer and drizzle in the sugar syrup between the bowl and the whisk. Continue to beat until the whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Beat in the vanilla.
- Once the cheesecake is fully cooled (I chilled mine in the refrigerator for 30 minutes once it was cooled). Top with more lemon curd. Fit a piping bag with a large tip and fill with the meringue (or use a spoon) and top the cheesecake with the meringue. Lightly torch using a kitchen torch.
- Serve immediately. If you are not serving immediately, save the meringue until you are ready to serve.