Happy belated Easter! I was really hoping to get this recipe shared earlier, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it happen being that it’s the middle of yet another midterm season. Nonetheless, this is a great recipe to have on hand for the rest of spring and summer. It features a buttery crust and sweet lemon filling, topped off with a tangy curd. It’s a rather involved recipe, so I would recommend reading through it before starting to avoid any mistakes. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups crumbled cookies*
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 8 oz. packages of low fat creamcheese
3/4 cup aquafaba (about the amount found in one can of garbanzo beans)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbs. corn starch
Pour the cookie crumbs in a bowl and slowly add melted butter until the crumbs are able to stick together. (It may not be necessary to use the whole 1/4 cup.)
Grease a 9 inch spring form pan and press the cookie crumbs in the bottom. It is not necessary to build them up on the sides of the pan. Set the pan on a cookie sheet lined with foil (to catch any leaks) and preheat the oven to 325°F
In a food processor, mix 1/4 cup sugar with the lemon zest. After a few seconds, add the rest of the sugar and pulse for a few seconds more.
Cut the cream cheese into one inch pieces and using a hand or stand mixer, beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and clean off the beaters as necessary. Slow the mixer and pour in the sugar before returning to a medium speed. Once the sugar is incorporated, slow the mixer again to add the aquafaba in two parts. While continuing to mix, add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Finally, incorporate the cream separately.
Pour the filling into the spring-form pan and smooth out the top. Place the pan and cookie sheet on the top oven rack and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. When the time is up, let the cake rest in the hot oven for another hour. During this entire time, it is essential that the oven is not opened as it can cause the cheesecake to crack or cave in. After resting in the oven, the cheesecake can come out and cool at room temperature for another two hours before going in the refrigerator to set up for a few hours more.
After it is out of the oven to cool, start the lemon curd. In a small saucepan, heat the cream, lemon juice, sugar, butter, water, and sea salt on medium heat. Whisk frequently. After about 2-3 minutes, add the cornstarch and whisk continuously until it thickens. You will know the curd is thick enough when it has a custard-like consistency and the whisk leaves a mark in it. Allow to cool slightly before spreading over the cheesecake, but do not wait for it to set up completely, as it would be hard to spread. Any leftover curd can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks.
After the whole cheesecake has chilled in the refrigerator for at least three hours, the pan can be released and the the cake is ready to be served. I also piped some lemon buttercream around the border just to give it a cleaner look around the edges. Enjoy!
*For the crust, I used the cookie recipe linked above. However, I chose to omit the chocolate chips to avoid introducing too many flavors to the cheesecake. Run the cookies through a food processor for about a minute or until you have small crumbs.