When I think about my dream job, I can’t help but consider the dream of blogging full-time. One thing I never get sick of is food and writing…and you! However, that dream job wouldn’t pay the bills.
So instead I go to a job (that luckily, I do enjoy!) and take parts of my blogging with me…in the form of food.
On Tuesday, I had the rare opportunity to be home from work by 3pm and had nothing better to do than stall from doing something productive like cleaning, or grading, or working out.
Unless juicing a lot of lemons is a workout, I failed (somewhat kidding – I did manage a sad and pathetic workout on my injured ankle before calling it quits for a few days). You give me a few spare hours and I manage to create a mess of my kitchen and a cheesecake I could hardly withstand waiting to set.
I thought I had heard once upon a time, in some place I can’t seem to recall, that making cheesecake was simple? If this recipe is any parallel framework for cheesecake recipes, I can officially say they are time-consuming…but worth every second of effort and patience. The effort came much more easily than the patience…trust me.
So this cheesecake was ready yesterday morning. Finally. And I just had a feeling that it couldn’t stick around my house for any length of time. In other words, this thing had to go before it was gone.
But I certainly couldn’t serve something to my coworkers that I hadn’t yet tried. (Or photographed. Hello, early morning hour blog photograph!)
We’ve all heard that saying…do as I say, not as I do, right?
Well, do that. Because this cheesecake was breakfast. Oooops.
I had just a sliver. And it was just as delicious at 6:30am as it could’ve been at any other time.
I cut another piece and wrapped it up for Mr. Prevention. The man loves lemon, despite his claims to not like cheesecake. (It likely goes without saying that he loved this).
Me and my cheesecake headed to the clinic and lunch at my clinic was probably the highlight of my coworker’s days. I have to assume my co-worker’s raves weren’t a stretch. It’s hard to combine butter, sugar, animal crackers, cream cheese, and Meyer lemons and come up with anything less than stellar.
Employee of the day award goes to…the cheesecake (which was left at work for OTHERS to enjoy!).
Reduced Fat Meyer Lemon Cheesecake lightened up just a bit from Carnal Dish
5 oz animal crackers
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and kept warm
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp grated meyer lemon zest
1/4 cup meyer lemon juice
1 1/2 lb reduced fat cream cheese (three 8-oz packages), at room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
Meyer Lemon Curd*:
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
1 Tbsp whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch table salt
To make the crust, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 F. In food processor, process cookies to fine, even crumbs. Add sugar and pulse to incorporate. Add warm melted butter in slow, steady stream while pulsing; pulse until mixture is evenly moistened and resembles wet sand. Transfer mixture to 9-inch springform pan; using bottom of ramekin or dry measuring cup, press firmly and evenly into pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes. When cool, wrap outside of pan with two 18-inch square pieces heavy-duty foil; set springform pan in roasting pan.
While crust is cooling, make the filling. Process 1/4 cup sugar and meyer lemon zest in food processor until sugar is yellow and zest is broken down, scraping down bowl if necessary. Transfer lemon sugar to small bowl; stir in remaining 1 cup sugar.
In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on low to break up and soften. With machine running, add sugar mixture in slow steady stream; increase speed to medium and continue to beat until mixture is creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs 2 at a time; beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping sides and bottom of bowl well after each addition. Add meyer lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and mix until just incorporated, about 5 seconds; add heavy cream and mix until just incorporated, about 5 seconds longer. Give batter final scrape, stir with rubber spatula, and pour into prepared springform pan; fill roasting pan with enough hot tap water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until center jiggles slightly, sides just start to puff, surface is no longer shiny, 55 to 65 minutes. Turn off oven and prop open oven door with potholder or wooden spoon handle; allow cake to cool in water bath in oven for 1 hour. Transfer springform pan without foil to wire rack; run small paring knife around inside edge of pan to loosen sides of cake and cool cake to room temperature, about 2 hours.
While cheesecake bakes, heat meyer lemon juice in small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Whisk eggs and yolk in medium nonreactive bowl; gradually whisk in sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot meyer lemon juice into eggs, then return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until mixture registers 170 degrees on instant-read thermometer and is thick enough to cling to spoon, about 3 minutes. Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in cold butter until incorporated; stir in cream, vanilla, and salt, then pour curd through fine-mesh strainer into small nonreactive bowl. Cover surface of curd directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until needed.
When cheesecake is cool, scrape lemon curd onto cheesecake still in springform pan, spread curd evenly over top of cheesecake. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, remove sides of springform pan and cut cake into wedges.
Yield: 14 slices.
*I used 1/2 the curd that this recipe makes. Nutrition Information accounts for this change.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 343 calories; 19.8 g. fat; 120 mg. cholesterol; 306 mg. sodium; 33.9 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 6.4 g. protein
Result: Tart, sweet, and light…believe it or not! This wasn’t a quick dessert to make, but it’s nothing difficult, either. It does require some kitchen gadgets — mixer, stand mixer, and a springform pan. The middle was a little soft — I baked it for 55 minutes and I think an additional 5-10 minutes would’ve helped (noted above). I also used reduced-fat cream cheese would also cause the slightly softer texture. All-in-all, a killer cheesecake and that meyer lemon flavor…heavenly!
I’m off for a healthy breakfast , teaching, hair cut, and then workout (pain-free, let’s hope!).
Is this week FLYING by for anyone else? Insanity.