Lemon Vanilla Cheesecake
June 15, 2015 • Washington Cookbook
Isn’t this cheesecake just gorgeous? I need to confess, I screwed up following the instructions from the chef which called for covering the cheesecake with foil while it bakes. If I would have done that, it would have resulted in a smooth, lemony-colored top. But when I was working on the book, my assistant that day thought it looked so pretty with this browned top, that we decided to feature it this way and to give you, the home cook recreating the recipe, the option. This is a classically rich cheesecake that’s perfect for a celebration – remember, Father’s Day is just around the corner!
- 1 cup ground toasted pecans
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
- 5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 vanilla beans
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 lemons, zested and juiced
- 4 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- For the crust:Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by completely wrapping it in 2 to 3 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil so that the springform pan is watertight, and then place the prepared pan in a roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Combine the pecans, brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter to make a crumbly texture. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing the crust ½ to 1 inch up the sides of the pan; set aside.
- For the filling: Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a food processor and process slightly. Add the sugar and pulse to combine until the mixture is creamy. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
- Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds of the vanilla beans into the cream cheese mixture. With the mixer running on low and using the paddle blade, add the cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix until smooth. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time and continue to mix on low just until incorporated. Do not over mix to avoid excess air in the batter.
- To assemble: Pour the filling into the prepared crust (the filling will reach very close to the top of the pan). Add hot water into the roasting pan around the springform pan to create a water bath. Place the entire roasting pan in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn off the oven, do not open the door, and allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove the cake from the oven and refrigerate until completely cold, 4 or more hours, before slicing and serving.