Serves 6 to 8
Lemon cheesecake has become my trademark pudding. I’ve never been keen on overly rich or overly sweet puddings so I love the sharp fresh flavours of a fruit cheesecake, particularly one flavoured with citrus. This lemon cheesecake can be made in advance and seems to have universal appeal but if you like, you can substitute the lemons in this recipe for one large orange, which makes a lovely orange cheesecake. I made this particular one as the final course for my first dinner party, which I hosted to celebrate my twenty first birthday. The evening went without a hitch and everyone commented on how lovely the food was
110g or 4 oz digestive biscuits, crushed to fine crumbs
50g or 2 oz unsalted butter
700g or 24 oz full fat cream cheese
2 lemons, zested and juiced
50g or 2 oz caster sugar
Slowly melt the butter over a low heat and once melted pour over the crushed biscuits. Thoroughly mix and press firmly into 20cm or 8 inch spring form circular cake tin. Leave to cool in the fridge
Mix the cream cheese with a spoon or spatula to break it up and soften it. Add the lemon zest, making sure you have only grated the yellow zest rather than the bitter white lemon pith. Add the lemon juice and sugar in stages, stirring in between. This ensures the juice gets mixed into the cream cheese whilst still maintaining the luxurious thickness of the cream cheese. Keep tasting the cream cheese and feel free to add a little more lemon juice or a little more sugar if you fancy. If the cream cheese still tastes a little bland once you have added all the lemon zest, juice and sugar, add a little more sugar, which strangely brings out the sourness and freshness of the lemon. There’s no definite amount of lemon and sugar to add every time, as sometimes the lemons are juicier, or sourer, or sweeter so the recipe always needs some slight adjustment.
Once you are happy with the lemon flavour of the cream cheese, pour over the cooled buttery biscuit base and smooth over. Leave to cool for as long as you can, but I’d recommend at least four hours. If you want to use lower fat cream cheese then substitute some of that in but bear in mind the cheesecake will need more time to set. I’ve found that using mostly light cream cheese, together with some full fat works well but probably needs about eight hours to set. Using all low fat cream cheese for the cheesecake means it will take at least a day to set.
To make things easier for myself, I always serve the cheesecake on the base of the spring form tin, after removing the sides of the tin. To do this easily, simply run a knife around the edge and then simply lift off the sides of the tin.