RASPBERRY LEMON MERINGUE CHEESECAKE
This month’s #baketogether challenge is cheesecake, I couldn’t resist! Cheesecake was my Mom’s signature dessert, and her friends still talk about the many wonderful cheesecakes she would bring to school for special occasions (she was a special education teacher.) Abby provided a great basic recipe for vanilla cheesecake with a cookie crust. We were to take this recipe and run with it. I had more fun than a gal alone in the kitchen should have… and just in time for the Academy Awards! #WhyI’mNotOnTheRedCarpet
Mis en place includes: Fieldstone Farm fresh eggs (thank you girls… I’m getting lots of gorgeous eggs!) & frozen Fieldstone Farm rasperries from last Fall.
I made my cookie crust with Girl Scout shortbread Trefoils, which I had on hand thanks to my beautiful, community-minded Granddaughters Nina & Lexi! With cinnamon & butter from Abby’s original recipe, I added about 1T lemon zest for some extra lemon flavor.
My cheesecake followed Abby’s basic recipe, but I added the zest from 5 (CA organic) lemons. They were small. It added a load of lemon flavor… yes, I licked the paddle!
It baked up nicely, with no cracking (altho I missed popping a few small bubbles.)
I made raspberry sauce with about a pint of frozen berries, adding 1/4c sugar, 2T lemon juice, and 1T cornstarch dissolved in 1/2c cold water.
I strained the seeds out, then added a little lemon juice for more fresh lemon flavor.
It covered the cheesecake nicely and covered minor imperfections.
For the meringue, I put the eggs in hot water for about 10 minutes so that when I separated the whites they would be nice & warm. They whip up much better when warm.
I read several meringue recipes, but ended up with my own “tweak”. For my 9″ cheesecake I used 2/3c eggs whites, 1/4c turbinado sugar, 1tsp vanilla & a pinch of salt.
I whisked the already warm mixture while it was placed on a bowl of hot water to help keep it warm, until soft peaks formed.
I know from making many angel food cakes that you don’t want to overbeat those egg whites. Stop when the peaks will stand up on their own.
I plopped the meringe onto the cheescake, that was fun & easy! But, would it hold up??
I baked it for 5 min. @200 degrees to set it a bit, then put it under the broiler and watched it with an EAGLE EYE.
About 2 min. under the broiler was perfect! Whew!
This actually turned out pretty much as I had imagined it in my head… I love when that happens! It’s packed with fresh lemon flavor but has a nice raspberry note. The meringue added a pleasant “mellow” to the rich cheesecake. It also stayed creamy & moist, and held up well in the fridge.Can’t wait to see what #baketogether is doing in March! And I will never look at professional food photos again without appreciation. Memo to self: work on photo composition and skills!
I’m ready to watch the Academy Awards tonight. Cheesecake… it’s not just for breakfast anymore!
Following is Abby Dodge’s recipe for classic vanilla bean cheesecake. I based my raspberry lemon meringue cheesecake on this recipe, with the exceptions/additions noted above in my post. This is a great basic cheesecake! For further information, visit www.abbydodge.com
Classic Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Makes 12 to 14 servings.
For the crust:
• 2 cups (9 ounces) finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
▪ 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
▪ 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
▪ Good pinch of table salt
▪ 1 1/3 cups (9 3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
▪ 3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
▪ Seeds scraped from 3 large vanilla beans or 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or paste
▪ 4 large eggs, at room temperature
To make the crust:
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a piece of aluminum foil and clasp the outer ring over the foil so the edges hang outside the ring. In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Drizzle with the melted butter and mix until well blended.
2. Dump the crumbs into the springform pan and cover with large piece of plastic wrap. Place your hands on the plastic wrap and press the crumbs about 2 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan.(The plastic wrap will keep the crumbs from sticking to your hands.) With the plastic wrap still in place, redistribute the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and firmly press down to make a compact layer. I like to use a metal measuring cup with straight sides and a flat bottom for this task.. Bake until the crumbs are fragrant, about 12 minutes and set on a rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
To make the filling:
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, flour and salt until very smooth and no lumps remain. It’s very important for the cream cheese to be lump free at this point so stop and scrape the beater and sides of the bowl frequently. Add the sugar, sour cream and vanilla seeds or extract and beat until well blended and smooth, stopping to scrape beater and bowl several times. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just blended, stopping to scrape beater and bowl before each addition. (Don’t over beat the filling once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much.) Tap the bowl several times on the counter to release some of the air bubbles. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Using the tip of a small knife or a toothpick, pop any air bubbles on the surface.
2. Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like jello when nudged, 63 to 68 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight or up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen up to 1 month.
Have a flat serving plate ready and close by. Unclasp the pan’s ring, remove it, and using the excess foil, gently nudge and lift the cake to be sure it’s released. Using the foil, carefully lift the cheesecake and slide it onto the serving plate and center it.. Tear off one side of the foil close to the cheese cake. On the opposite side of the cake, gently pull the remaining foil out from the cheesecake. (If you are topping the cake with something yummy, do so now.) Run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.