Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake, Inspired...


I actually made this recipe quite awhile ago, but I was waiting for the right time to share it with you.  Um, wait.  That's actually a lie.  Two lies in fact.  

Lets start again: First, I didn't really make this recipe alone, in fact it wasn't even my idea.  This cheesecake is inspired by a version from Extraordinary Desserts, and the brilliant thought to recreate it at home came from my friend's boyfriend, Jeff.  So second, I wasn't really waiting for the right time to share this with you; I was merely holding out until I could pay my most favorite dessert restaurant another visit.  Which I just did, and I blogged about it, and seem to be continuing to shamelessly promote it.  It is my favorite place, can you blame me?    


So anyway, this cheesecake idea seems to have been born when dear Jeffery chose to have the lemon meringue cheesecake from Extraordinary Desserts.  The heavens opened, pure sugary sunshine shone down on him, and it was love at first sight (or bite, I suppose).  And although he didn't consciously realize it at the time, I believe the sneaky sweet spot in his brain started setting a plan in motion so he could enjoy it at home.      


Time went on, as time does, and Jeffrey pined away after his cheesecake.  But since he is a manly man, the pining really didn't last that long and he quickly took action.  One day, I got a phone call from my friend Jenn, saying, "Hey you should come over, Jeff wants to make this cheesecake.  He is really serious about it."  And let me tell you, she was not kidding.  After talking over this grand cheesecake venture with Jeff, I realized two things: he is really obsessed with cheesecake (I find this awesome), and he also painstakingly and strategically planned how he would create the perfect lemon meringue cheesecake.

       

Before even calling me, he had made at least two trial versions which were some mixture of success and failure; as a result, ingredients, measurements, and baking times were tweaked accordingly.  The cheesecake recipe itself is a family treasure from his aunt, and according to Jeff, "It is the shit."  (After tasting it, I have to agree with him.  It is the shit.)  He adapted the meringue from a Paula Deen version by upping the sugar a bit to balance the tartness of lemon in the cheesecake.  Then there was the question of baking temperature and timing to allow the cheesecake to be cooked through as well as the meringue to set... Eventually he finally settled on a recipe that he was convinced could rival even the one from Extraordinary desserts.  

I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed.  I previously thought it was mostly food bloggers and chefs who have the dedication (read obsession) with recipes and baking to endlessly pursue perfection in the guise of sugar and flour.  Clearly I was wrong, since both Jeff and Jenn have proved themselves to be bona fide foodies and wannabe chefs.   


I bet you are wondering, was the lemon meringue cheesecake project a success?  Hands-down, this dessert was knock-your-socks off good.  Everything about it was amazing!  The cheesecake was dense and creamy, the meringue had lift and the perfect pillowy texture, and the flavor was spot-on: Just sweet enough without being cloying, and the lemon flavor was prominent but not overpowering.  Extraordinary desserts watch out.  Here comes Jeff!   

So, who here thinks that I should make Jeff my go-to man for cheesecake recipes?  I do!  I am trying to talk him into doing a little guest post here, but he says he will only do it if I take the photos for him.  He recently made a banana cheesecake with chocolate ganache and peanut butter frosting.  I am drooling.  I think I will make a deal with him and pack my camera next time he bakes. 










Lemon Meringue Cheesecake, Inspired by Extraordinary Desserts
Adapted from a Jeff's recipe for Northwest Cheesecake Supreme and The Food Network


Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature


Filling:
2, 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, plus zest of 2 lemons


Meringue: 
3 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Crush graham cracker crumbs in a thick plastic bag, or use a food processor to grind them to a fine crumb.  Combine with sugar and unsalted butter to mix well, and press graham cracker crust onto the bottom of a 9" round springform pan.  Bake 10 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.  (Crust can be made ahead of time and cooled.)  Immediately reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  


Meanwhile, make cheesecake filling.  Combine cream cheese, sugar, and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat at medium speed until well mixed.  Add eggs, one at time, mixing well after each addition.  Blend in sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and pour entire mixture over cooled graham cracker crust.  Bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  During this baking time, make the meringue topping.  Whip the egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.  Add the sugar and beat again to peaks.  Set aside, in the refrigerator if possible.   


After the cheesecake has baked for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and you have made the meringue, remove the cheesecake from the oven and increase the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spread the meringue on top of the cheesecake,  all the way to the edges, and create a decorative swirl pattern or peaks.  Put the cheesecake back in the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes at 325 degrees.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack at room temperature.  Loosen cake from rim of pan, and then chill until serving.    

40 comments:

  1. What a great way for me to use all my lemons outside of making lemon iced cubes.

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  2. This is definitely and inspired dessert! Cheesecake is my favorite and normally I'm not a fan of anything on top of it... but THIS I could do.

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  3. What a clever idea! If someone served this to me, I'd be their friend forever.

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  4. Wow, that looks delicious! I think my husand would love this-I may have to try it!

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  5. Beautiful cheesecake! I love how determined your friend was to re-create it :)

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  6. That looks awesome! Lemon meringue pie is one of my favorites so lemon meringue cheesecake must be great.

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  7. OMG. The banana cheesecake with the ganache & pb frosting was TO DIE FOR. I'm not even crazy about banana desserts, and I could have eaten the entire cheesecake by myself. You definitely need to convince Jeff to make that again -- full size this time -- and invite me over to eat it. I especially stress that last part. ;)

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  8. Looks divine! Happy 4th this weekend. I am unable to find and email for you, mine is :
    jennifurlandindigo@gmail.com

    I would love to come to an SD meet-up!

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  9. You cut your slices awfully thin! My slice better be a smidge bigger! There aren't even word to describe how perfect it looks!

    My husband says he hates meringue, but I bet this would convert him! (He says that about a lot of things he eats--and enjoys--regularly! We just smile and nod!)

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  10. This is pretty fabulous. I would like a slice. Trying to swear off treats is next to impossible when things like this keep popping up!

    - Lauren, Lauren's Little Kitchen

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  11. Your post and photos of this fabulous cheesecake make me want to run out and get the ingredients to make it! I bet this is a great combination of flavors and textures.

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  12. I can definitely respect a man who researches cheesecake so thoroughly! It looks delicious :)

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  13. Yum this cheesecake looks fantastic, what a refreshing summer treat!

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  14. I love lemon meringue pie and I love cheesecake. This recipe combines both of them so it is going on my must try list. It looks delicious and I bet it tastes even better!

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  15. You've taken two favorites and combined them. I wager this creation is just delicious. It certainly looks wonderful. Blessings...Mary

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  16. yummmm just LOVE lemon pie and lemon cheesecake!

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  17. Awesome! I bet it tastes heavenly!

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  18. The different layers on the cheesecake make for a great presentation and I'm sure taste amazing too!

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  19. This looks so dreamy! I gave you the sunshine award and wrote a blurp on the blog about you and your blog. You always bring a ray of light! come on by the blog to pick it up!

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  20. Sounds amazing and looks even better:)

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  21. This sounds insanely delicious! And so does the banana one. I think Jeff should start his own cheesecake blog!

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  22. Oh wow. My two favourite desserts, combined into one amazing mega-dessert. Pure genius.
    I think I could even convince my other half to try cheesecake if I made this beauty, which is saying a lot, because he's convinced that he thoroughly despises cheesecake. Thanks to you and Jeff for this revelation. :)

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  23. I am in love with lemon. The more zing the better. This looks fantastic! (as does your blog) My step mom makes a similar recipe and it is perfect for summertime.

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  24. HAAA I have the same cutting board but it's a green pepper!! Great post!! Your photos are amazing!

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  25. I love anything that has to do with cheesecake and meringue! Thanks for sharing!

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  26. "After tasting it, I have to agree with him. It is the shit."

    Keepin it real. I love that. AND I love cheesecake. And I love your pictures, again and again.

    I think you should keep Jenn and Jeff around because his cheesecake obsession is a great thing!

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  27. Yep, this is a winner. It looks amazing delicious! You definitely need to have Jeff to a guest post; I can't wait to see what he does! Hope you had a great 4th!

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  28. It must've been that good at ED for Jeff to be so determined and his perseverance certainly paid off (and we all won) with his recipe. ;)

    Fun and nicely written post. Now I'm craving that beautiful lemon meringue cheesecake!

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  29. All I can say is "Wow!" This looks great! I love a good cheesecake but the addition of the meringue is just fabulous! :-)

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  30. This looks just heavenly... all good things mixed up with cheese. What more could you ask for?!

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  31. Congrats to Jeff. Looks like a home run.
    LL

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