Creamy Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
Well hello there creamy lemon meringue cheesecake.
So actually, if I'm being totally honest, cheesecake isn't really my thing. Not a huge fan. Especially of the rich and heavy ones. Those I simply can't do. Give me a regular cake over a cheesecake any day.
But since I shared a cheesecake recipe? Yes, it's been an entire year. Over a year. A year and a month.
The last cheesecake recipe I posted was my perfect go-to lemon cheesecake. That cheesecake is one of the only cheesecakes I really, truly enjoy consuming. It's light, it's tart, it's delicious, and it's a family staple.
Now, you may be thinking, "lemon cheesecake? AGAIN??"
But understand this. The other lemon cheesecake, the one I posted a year plus one month ago, isn't really a lemon cheesecake. It's a regular/vanilla/plain cheesecake. That has just a hint of lemon in it. Like I said in that post, "...the lemon flavor is quite subtle and really just works to enhances the cheesecake overall rather than impart a bold new flavor."
But this lemon meringue cheesecake? BOY OH BOY is it a lemon cheesecake. I mean full on lemon. So bold. So pronounced. So good.
Here are a few things that stand out about this cheesecake:
1 - it's incredibly creamy. Not heavy and dense. But creamy. Not light either. But creamy.
2- it's tart. Really tart. Don't expect to take a bite and get hit with a cloyingly sweet mouthful. Nooooooo. This here lemon meringue cheesecake is lemony. And tangy. And lemony. But also just the right amount of sweet. And lemony.
3- the meringue. The meringue stands out. Because it's meringue. On top of a cheesecake. Not fruit. Not caramel. Not melted chocolate. Meringue. When was the last time you had meringue on top of your cheesecake? Me? Never. Until I had this one.
Those green things are (semi) crushed pistachios, by the way.
Oh, and that crust. I was gonna go with the classic graham cracker crust. But then I came to my senses. Because cookie crust > graham cracker crust. ANY DAY.
Just take a bag of your favorite vanilla cookies. Or sugar cookies. Any non-chocolate cookies will do, really. But come to think of it, why not chocolate cookies? Chocolate and lemon can't be bad.
So, take any cookies. They can be store-bought. Or they can be the ones that have been sitting in your cookie jar for the past few days and are about to go stale. Grind them up in your food processor. Add a couple tablespoons of confectioner's sugar to make the crust that much more crumbly and tender. Add a stick of melted butter to make your crust that much more buttery and soft and amazing. Blend everything together. And voila - cookie crust!
As for the tart, creamy lemon filling. No need to take out your huge stand mixer for this one. Just blend the filling together in the food processor you used to make the crust. Clean it out a little before. If you want. If not, you may have some cookie crumbs scattered across your filling. Ugly? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely.
And the meringue. Yeah, sorry, you're gonna need your stand mixer for this part. Or an electric hand beater.
Now, if the thought of making meringue frightens you, take a few deep breaths. In and out. Just like that. Very good. Now click here. I've got a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make meringues just for you. Oh, you want a video tutorial too? Not a problem- click here.
Last thing - this lemon meringue cheesecake has vodka in it. Yep, it's spiked. It's a drunken cheesecake. Yes, I know, you are welcome.
creamy lemon meringue cheesecake
Yield: 10" cheesecake
2 cups vanilla or sugar cookie crumbs (measure crumbs, not whole cookies)
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 stick butter, melted
32 oz. cream cheese (4 blocks), softened
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vodka
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Double wrap foil tightly around the outside of a 10" springform pan (to prevent leaking from water bath). Grease springform pan.
Crust: In a food processor, blend cookies till they turn to crumbs, then measure out two cups. Pulse together the crumbs, confectioner's sugar and melted butter till mixture resembling wet sand forms.
Pour crust into greased pan, pressing it firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Let cool a little before filling.
Reduce oven temperature to 300 F. Prepare a water bath by placing a large tray into oven and then filling tray with boiling water (to prevent cheesecake from cracking).
Filling: Clean out food processor a bit and then blend cream cheese and greek yogurt. Add in the rest of the filling ingredients and blend till smooth.
Pour filling into prepared crust, tap against the counter a few times, and then gently place into water bath. Bake for 80-90 minutes, or until set. Turn oven off and let cheesecake cool in the oven for a couple hours. Then, allow cheesecake to cool in fridge for at least six hours before topping.
Meringue: Place the egg whites, sugar, and salt into the clean, dry bowl of your electric stand mixer (or any metal bowl) and place over a pot of simmering water, creating a double boiler. (For a tutorial on making meringues, click here.)
Whisk mixture constantly over a low flame for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (110 F).
Transfer bowl to machine fitted with a wire whip attachment and whip, starting on low speed first for a couple minutes and then working up to the highest speed for about 6-10 minutes, or until you have a glossy meringue with stiff peaks.
Spread meringue onto cheesecake with spatula or pipe as desired. I used a star tip and plain tip and piped "kisses" by squeezing for a second, stopping to squeeze, and lifting up my hand quickly to create a peak.
Use a kitchen torch to brown meringue or place cheesecake in broiler for about a minute.
Cheesecake keeps for a few days covered loosely in the fridge, but you may want to scrape off the meringue after the second day, as it will start to go bad.
Filling Adapted from Food Fanatic