- 2 and 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (can substitute vanilla wafer crumbs if you prefer)
- 3 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
- 3 (8-ounce) packages (1 and 1/2 pounds) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (or 3 Tbsp all purpose flour)
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp finely grated Lemon zest
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 recipe of my Perfect Lemon Curd
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CRUST:
- Place the oven rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 325℉. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment rounds and grease the sides with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Transfer graham cracker crumbs to a medium bowl and mix in 3 tablespoons of sugar.
- Add the melted butter and use a fork to coat the crumbs completely until it begins to resemble wet sand. The mixture should be able to clump together when you squeeze it in your hands. If you find that the crumbs are not coming together, simply add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it holds together.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared springform pan and use the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Bake the crust until it is slightly darkened, 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 300℉ (150℃).
- Take 1 extra large piece of aluminum foil that’s bigger than your springform pan. Place springform pan in the centre and fold aluminum up to the sides to cover the outside of the pan. This ensures that no water seeps into the pan during the water bath. Alternatively, I placed my pan in a slightly larger pot to completely protect my crust from the water. Allow the crust to cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
FOR THE LEMON CHEESECAKE:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch OR flour on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add sour cream, lemon zest and lemon juice and continue beating until smooth.
- Add eggs and yolk one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined, do not overbeat. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.
- Pour the cheesecake into the cooled crust and place the springform pan into a larger pan. Bring a few cups of water to a boil, then carefully pour the boiling water into the larger pan until the water is a few inches up the bottom.
- Carefully place the cheesecake in the oven and bake at 300°F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the edges are set and the center jiggles just slightly.
- Turn off oven and leave the cheesecake to cool for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, crack the door open and continue cooling the cheesecake for another 30 minutes. This helps prevent cracking.
- After an hour, remove cheesecake from waterbath and aluminum foil. Run a knife around the edge of the pan so it’s not sticking to the sides and allow to cool completely on a rack.
- Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap, placing the plastic directly on top of the cheesecake so it doesn’t sweat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or preferably overnight. While cheesecake is cooling, make one recipe of my Perfect Lemon Curd and spread on top of the cheesecake, then return to the refrigerator to continue chilling.
FOR THE MERINGUE TOPPING:
- Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, turn heat to low so the water doesn’t begin to boil.
- Add egg whites and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large stainless steal or glass bowl. Place bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm (140℉). To test this without a thermometer: rub the mixture between two fingers. If it doesn’t feel grainy, the sugar is dissolved and can be removed from the heat. If you still feel grains, continue whisking and testing until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Move bowl to a stand mixer, or using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until frothy, about 1 minute.
- Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until the frosting is thick and glossy, 5-6 minutes.
- Add vanilla and mix until combined.
ASSEMBLY OF THE LEMON MERINGUE CHEESECAKE:
- Once the cheesecake is completely chilled, gently remove the springform pan ring. Spread chilled lemon curd on top of the cheesecake.
- Transfer meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe a large swirl, starting from the inside and working your way out to the edge. Pipe rosettes in the centre and around the edge of the swirl.
- Using a kitchen torch, lightly toast the meringue topping. Slice and serve!
- Cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.