Lemon curd cheesecake

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I used to work as a freelancer on various food magazines – when I was allowed to write something, I loved it. But most of the time I did sub-editing and proofreading of recipes and supplement sections – it could be the most toe-curlingly-dull work ever. Not least because everyone typically ignores the freelancer, stuck at the crappy corner desk, as though they are some kind of alien species. But one benefit of my time on these magazines was that it made me super-anal about recipe quantities. I get so irate when cookbooks and mags don’t get their quantities right. It’s easily done, though – we’re all human.

I often find that Nigel Slater’s recipes in the Observer have mistakes in them. I know too well how that must happen – the recipes get sub-edited down to death to fit a tiny space. Many was the time I was driven around the bend by the same problem – trying to make 250 words fit a 50 word space – argh! I probably did exactly the same thing 1000 times over during my years at Delicious or Waitrose Food Illustrated magazines. And probably do it all the time on this blog. Oh well!

Anyway, since the news is unrelentingly depressing at the moment, I thought I’d put up a nice cheesecake recipe to cheer everyone up. I love cheesecake, and recently have been craving lemony tangy flavours. This one is based on two recipes by Nigel Slater, which I’ve tweaked around a bit. It’s a bit bloody good.

Serves 8 – 10 people who don’t count calories

You will need:

Lemon curd topping

Zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons
150g sugar
100g butter cut into cubes
3 organic eggs and 1 egg yolk

Cheesecake

Biscuit base:
90g butter
350g digestive biscuits (or a mixture of 200g shortbread and 150g oatcakes)

Filling:
1 x 284g tub double Jersey cream
100g sugar
500g full fat cream cheese (eg Philadelphia)
Scant capful of vanilla extract (use cap from bottle)

First make the lemon curd. Put the lemon zest, juice, butter and sugar into a heatproof bowl set over a simmering pan of water – make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir from time to time until everything is melted. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and egg yolk with a fork, then stir into the lemon mixture. Let the mixture cook over the simmering water, using a whisk to stir regularly, for between 10 and 15 minutes, until it thickens up like custard. Take off the heat and let cool down. As it cools, give it an occasional stir with the whisk. (If you can wait that long, it will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge)

 

Your lovely lemon curd:

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Now make your cheesecake base.  Line the base of a 23-cm springform tin with a disk of greaseproof paper. Blitz the biscuits to fine sandy crumbs in a food processor, then melt the butter and mix everything together in a bowl. Press the buttery biscuit crumbs into the base of the tin with your fingers, pressing hard to compact the crumbs together. Put the tin in the fridge to let the base harden for about 30 minutes.

To make the cheesecake mixture, whip the cream and sugar together until just stiff – it will take mere seconds if you use an electric whisk. Then using a spatula  (not the whisk) mix in the cream cheese and vanilla extract. Then take your cooled lemon curd and fold two thirds of it into the cheesecake mix – try not to mix it in totally as it’s nice to get a ‘ripple’ effect. Tip the mixture into the cake tin and spread flat with a spatula. Then spread the remaining lemon curd on top of the cheesecake – you want to get a nice even spread of lemony goodness. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving with a dollop of lemon curd on the side if you have any left…

A deliciously untidy slice of lemony heaven:

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11 comments

  1. I love your specific serving instructions – 8-10 people who don't count calories!I love Nigel Slater's recipes. Love that you have combined two – that makes it a good recipe in my book!

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  2. Cream cheese and double cream that is my kind of cheese cake. I have been craving tart tangy tastes recently – think I might rustle up one of these bad boys at the weekend.

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  3. Love that plate BTW…

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  4. Hi PDNFTA (great name) – yes, I am not interested in calorie counting whatsoever, it is a pointless and joyless exercise! Hungry Horse – I totally recommend that you do, this cheesecake will rock your world, it's tang-tastic. Thank you for appreciating my taste in crockery!

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  5. I would love to make this but have absolutely no idea what—or where to find, for that matter—double jersey cream is. Is there a way to make it or any kind of substitute?

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  6. Hi Chris – I just bought a tub of double cream available in Sainsbury's and it happened to be Jersey cream. Use any double cream (or thicker pouring cream) that you can lay your hands on!

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  7. Sorry, should've said, I'm in the US. No Sainsbury's here, or double cream apparently :-(Doing some research it seems like double cream is not sold over here for some reason. Our heaviest cream is apparently 35-40 percent butterfat whereas double cream is around 48 percent.I've found some suggestions for substitutions, but it looks like they might change the flavour of the cream.I think I might just try it with regular heavy cream and hope for the best.

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  8. Hi Chris, Sorry, I should have remembered that not everybody reading this is based in one country! I think that any kind of heavy cream that you can find sounds good enough – perhaps use the same type that would be common in a US cheesecake recipe? I think that anything with a high fat content sounds pretty good. Good luck – let me know how you get on!

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  9. Heavy cream it is.I may try it this weekend; work schedule's changed so possibly next. Either way I'll let you know 🙂

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  10. I finally made this. Using heavy cream it came out fine, IMO. I wonder how different double cream would've made it but heavy cream worked. It was delicious but the lemon curd was too tart for me so I'm going to add more sugar next time I do it. Also, while it seemed to go well I couldn't help but think my curd was too runny? Never having made a custard before I couldn't really judge the thickness.Also, I noticed that I had lots of cream cheese lumps in the cake, despite vigorously trying to mix the two together with a spatula. Any hints on how to incorporate them better next time? Overall, it was quite a success. Thanks for the recipe!

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  11. Hi Chris, Glad you got to try this one out, and that it was a success! To avoid lumps happening when you mix the cream cheese, I use a balloon whisk. And I guess my lemon curd is a little on the tart side as I like things really tangy, and find that the sweetness of the cheesecake underneath makes up for it, but yes, always add more sugar if you find it too tangy…

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