Meyer Lemon Cheesecake with Biscoff Crust

By • January 14, 2012 • 91 Comments

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Author Notes: A friend needed a cheesecake, and so I made one. And not just a plain vanilla cheesecake, this one is flavored with the juice and zest of Meyer lemons. Have you found the Meyer lemons in your supermarket produce section? (I'm asking this question of my local friends, not my California friends, who all seem to have Meyer lemon trees, leaden with fruit, and the "problem" of too many Meyer lemons. )

This is the second year that I've found the lemons in my suburban Kroger, $1.99 a bag. What is the magic of a Meyer, you ask? Well, it's like a lemon, but not. It's like an orange, but not. It's somewhere in between - not quite as tart as the lemon, not quite as bold as the orange, but a pleasant in-between.

For my lemon cheesecake, I used Biscoff cookies for the crumb crust, instead of the usual graham crackers. Biscoff have a deeper, more molasses taste that suits the Meyer lemons well. Plus, they are just exotic enough to go with the slightly-left-of-center lift of the Meyers. If you fly Delta, save up your little packs, or just visit Kroger, like the rest of us.

This is the best cheesecake I've ever made. Astute recipe readers will note that it's a riff on the classic Three Cities of Spain cheesecake from Gourmet. That is the best basic cheesecake recipe in the world, and is very adaptable. I added the zest and juice of two Meyer lemons, for just the right amount of zip.
Lucy Mercer

Food52 Review: WHO: Lucy Mercer is a freelance writer who cooks, writes, and carpools.
WHAT: A creamy, lemony, celebratory cheesecake.
HOW: Blitz Biscoff cookies for the crust, bake it off, and then pour in a lemony, cream cheese-y filling. Bake, top with sour cream, and bake some more. Ogle at your creation.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love the combination of zest, juice and lemon extract, which packs a very lemony punch without too much acidity. The sour cream topping adds a great balance to the richness of the filling and looks lovely flecked with lemon zest. And Biscoff cookies as a crust? Sign us up.
Food52

Serves 10

Biscoff crust

  • 5 ounces Biscoff cookies, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  1. Heat oven to 350. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a food processor, blitz Biscoff cookies until finely ground. Add sugar and salt and continue to process. Slowly pour in melted butter and process again.
  3. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of springform pan. Bake in 350 oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let crust cool to room temperature.

Meyer lemon cheesecake filling

  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (low-fat is ok, no-fat is not)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 Meyer lemons, zest removed and juice reserved
  • 1 (16 oz.) carton sour cream (low-fat is ok, no-fat is not)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a mixing bowl, place cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sugar and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add 1/2 of the zest to the cheesecake batter, reserving the remainder. Add all of the juice and the extracts to the batter, and continue to mix. Pour batter into prepared crumb crust. Place pan on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cake is just set in center. Remove cake from oven but do not turn off oven.
  4. Whisk together sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and remaining lemon zest. Spoon mixture onto the cheesecake and spread with an offset spatula or knife. Return the cake to the oven and bake for 10 additional minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and let cool to room temperature. Store cheesecake, well-wrapped in refrigerator.
Jump to Comments (91)

Comments (91) Questions (4)

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Rooney

6 months ago Susan

Usually my husband makes this, but I made it for the first time last weekend. I was in a bit of a rush and forgot to add the vanilla and lemon extracts. It still came out wonderfully - just mildly lemony and more cheese-flavored. Lots of compliments!

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6 months ago Luvtocook

I've been making this recipe (minus lemons) since 1960. It's the best cheesecake I've ever tasted, too. One thing I usually do is put a pan of hot water on the bottom rack of my gas oven to prevent the cheesecake from cracking on top. Cracks are covered up by the sour cream layer, but I try to avoid getting them in the first place.

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6 months ago Lindsey

After eyeing this recipe for months, I finally got around to making it this weekend! It was AMAZING. I couldn't find Meyer lemons or Biscoff cookies, so I switched things up a little bit - subbing in limes and a graham cracker crust. Because I used limes, I naturally had to sneak a bit of coconut into the cake too (I put a little bit of coconut oil in with the butter for the crust - delish!). Lime and coconut are meant to be together.

Loved the creamy texture of the cheesecake and the sour cream topping was just the icing on the cake - literally. I was skeptical about the sour cream at first, but it really brought everything together and balanced the sweetness of the crust + cake. I did end up adding 2 tablespoons of sugar to the sour cream rather than one, as I added a rather large amount of lime zest to the topping, which upped the tang factor.

Topped off the cake with shredded coconut for the last five minutes of baking, and it toasted to near perfection. I think six minutes would have been the magic number.

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Lucy! I'll definitely be keeping it in my rotation. Looking forward to making it again when I can find Meyer lemons!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

6 months ago Lucy Mercer

Oh my, your lime and coconut cheesecake sounds divine! If there's a Best Cheesecake recipe contest here, definitely submit it!

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6 months ago salemao

made it today for my mum's birthday and it was delicious. The biscuit base was stuck to the bottom and had to be scraped off. The cheesecake was very soft and crumbly and broke easily when cutting. The cake itself did not crack in the oven, but the sour cream did. would love to make it again, but would hope for a better presentation; any suggestions for the crumbly texture and the stuck crust? Thanks! sarah

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

6 months ago Lucy Mercer

Well, let's see ~ did you use a different kind of cream cheese? I've tried this with full fat and 1/3 less fat, and both work fine, but I can imagine that non fat would affect the texture. Has the cream cheese ever been frozen? That tends to make things crumbly. Perhaps time and temperature in the oven? A coating of baking spray in the pan would take care of the stuck crust. Hoping for better results for you next time around.

Pa150460

7 months ago J.B.

Meyer Lemon recipes throw me a curve when it comes to how much juice two Meyer lemons might produce. My Meyer Lemons are quite large and very juicy whereas store-bought fruits are smaller than mine. Mine can be as large as an orange. Any suggestions for judging juice amounts? Thanks I love Meyer Lemon recipes, my tree is now setting fruit for an October/November harvest.
JB

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

6 months ago Lucy Mercer

Count on 2 to 3 tablespoons juice per lemon. The Meyer lemons seemed small this year, so if you like more lemon flavor, definitely use more lemons.

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7 months ago Caren

I made this recipe using fresh italian ricotta in place of the cream cheese- Worked wonderfully- I also added a raspberry sauce. The crust is the best, the lemons have such a unique flavor. Thanks for sharing this!

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6 months ago Lucy Mercer

So glad you made this cheesecake ~ I bet the ricotta was fantastic.

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7 months ago lunalovegood

I made this last year for Easter, and it was incredible... everything I had imagined it to be. I'm making it again now, in Germany... hopefully it will turn out the same. I used an orange and a normal lemon, since there are no Meyer lemons here, and substituted creme fraiche for the sour cream, since they don't really have that, either. I did find the right cookies, though, which I had to substitute with ginger snaps for last year.

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7 months ago Lucy Mercer

So happy that this recipe will be on your table again! I think the creme feaiche is a terrific substitute.

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10 months ago Robert

This cheesecake works out perfect every time. I must be blessed with a decent oven. I do use a water bath tray only because it is how I have always made cheesecake moist and prevents cracking. I also make a simple raspberry sauce or blood orange brandy sauce when plating this up. adds nice color and gives and amazing balance of flavor.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

10 months ago Lucy Mercer

So happy that you love this cheesecake! Raspberry sauce sounds fantastic and blood orange brandy, oh my, over the moon!

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10 months ago Mary Fleming

We made this for my step-daughter's birthday and it came out beautifully. I couldn't find the Biscoff cookies but I substituted gingersnaps. My husband and I both thought it could have used one more lemon to punch up the flavor, but it was pretty good as written. Our Meyer Lemon Tree pumps out more and more lemons every year, so we are thrilled to have another great recipe.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

10 months ago Lucy Mercer

I swear, if I had a Meyer lemon tree, I would bake this cheesecake every day! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

Stringio

11 months ago Edy Anako

I'm going to make this for Christmas.

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12 months ago caroline0ne

Cheesecakes keep very well, as long as they are refrigerated. Shouldn't be a problem.

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12 months ago NBG

Need to make this 2 days in advance of thanksgiving -- will it stay fresh in taste and texture? Thanks in advance.

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12 months ago Lucy Mercer

As carolineOne says, cheesecakes are good keepers. Wrap it up tight, put threatening sticky notes on top and place it in the back of the refrigerator for a few days until you plan to serve it.

Stringio

12 months ago Layla Corcoran

How much do I use if I want to substitute Greek yogurt? Any idea?

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

12 months ago Lucy Mercer

Are you substituting Greek yogurt for the sour cream in the topping? If so, I think I'd use 12 to 14 ounces and thin it with water or milk to the consistency of sour cream. Using Greek yogurt for all or part of the cream cheese would be interesting. I make a yogurt tart that is similar to cheesecake, although not nearly as rich. Let me know if you experiment!

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2 days ago Markella Balasis Vavaka

This cheesecake sounds delicious and I'm planning on making it for Thanksgiving. I live in Greece and although it's not a holiday here, I make it a point to keep the tradition. I cannot find sour cream here, but on all recipes that I've tried, especially the cheesecakes that call for sour cream, I substitute one part full fat Greek yogurt and one part heavy cream. It's as close to the texture and flavor of sour cream as I could get. The results of the desserts is exceptional; just like using sour cream. Of course if you want to cut calories you could always use low fat yogurt and half and half cream. Thanks for this great recipe.

Christianlouboutin-pigalle-3091224_cm8d_1_1200x1200_1

12 months ago Susan Maria

The problem most have with baking is that they have no idea that ovens vary and that you can't bake by time only - you have to bake until it's 'done' - judging by slightly moving the pan and looking for either a wave of motion (not done) or slight jiggle of softness in center (done). It comes with experience of baking, but you can't get there without jumping in.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Stephanie Woods

this recipe was amazing, the first cheesecake I've ever made. We have a Meyer lemon tree that finally produced several lemons and this was the perfect recipe to use them. I also used ginger snap cookies instead of biscoff cookies and it was amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

12 months ago Lucy Mercer

So glad you liked this recipe. Am completely envious of your Meyer lemon tree. Ginger snaps sound like a marvelous substitute.

Missfatscat

over 1 year ago missfats

This recipe was awesome! Followed the steps and it came out perfectly! (Also totally appreciate the fact that it works without the pesky water bath). I added a heaping pile of strawberries to the top to set it over the edge. For a full review and the topping recipe, see here:
http://missfats.wordpress...

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over 1 year ago Bohdanna

yes, this is almost identical to the Gourmet 3 Cities of Spain cheesecake (except that Biscoff was substituted for graham crackers and lemon zest was added) I have baked this cheese cake on my own for years to the rave reviews of my family and friends. Because it was almost an identical copy of the Gourmet recipe as to the base recipe, I never submitted my own almost identical recipe (which substitutes almond meal and chocolate for graham crackers) to FOOD 52. One of the best Gourmet cookbook recipes for sure!

Newliztoqueicon-2

over 1 year ago Lizthechef

How did I miss this?! It's going right into my Meyer lemon recipe collection. Got a bowl sitting right on the kitchen counter...

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over 1 year ago Karina Navarro

I usually beat cheese And sugar for a few minutes hégira adding each egg at a a time, but I noticed yo add eggs first and then sugar... Would the different orders change the final results?

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over 1 year ago bhivedesign

Ok I thought this looked beautiful! I've been missing baking like a lost boyfriend because the start of the year has been so busy. So I thought I'd whip this up yesterday and it was a total fail and I don't know why...except maybe my oven temp is off. I don't make too many cheesecakes, so assessing doneness is not a given like a flour-based cake. But at about 50 minutes @ 350 degrees it looked like it was beginning to brown around the edges, so I took it out of the oven, put the sour cream mixture on top and the middle caved in! I put the whole mess back in the oven and baked it for an addition 15 or 20 minutes, took it out and let it cool then covered and put it in the fridge. It's still in there. Like Frankenstein. I'm a little afraid. Any idea what went wrong?

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Hmmmm...maybe oven temp is to blame? Or a too-small pan? My cheescakes sometimes get a crack down the middle, which is why I like the sour cream topping - it helps hide that. Hope the cheesecake tasted ok. :)

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over 1 year ago bhivedesign

It wasn't eatable...a sad and sorry caved-in squishy mess. With a entirely separate second issue of the crust being so stuck to the bottom of the springform I couldn't get it to release for love or money. The whole pitiful thing went "down the hole" as we refer to our garbage disposal around here this morning. I did however first take a spoon and arrange a perfect bite to see if it was worth another attempt and WOW! So, there is another one in the oven at this very moment. And you are correct about the oven temp. I bought an oven thermometer when purchasing the second set of supplies and it is wildly off (if the thermometer is to be trusted) I'm suspicious of everything now. I made sure I buttered and floured the bottom of the pan copiously and buttered the sides of the ring. I also "googled" the correct side to put toward the cake on the pan. I'll let you know how the second attempt turns out. I simply won't be bested by a cake. NEVER GIVE UP!

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over 1 year ago bhivedesign

BTW the pan is 9" ... like the recipe called for.

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over 1 year ago bhivedesign

So happy to report that the temperature seemed to be the culprit. I used the oven thermometer to discern the oven was off by 70 degrees...OMG! I brought the finished product to my client meeting today and it was literally gone in about 20 minutes. Thank you, this was so worth the tenacious effort. Truly a special cheesecake.

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over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

I'm so glad the cheesecake worked out for you! (I need to get one of those oven thermometers, too.)

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over 1 year ago Chocolate Be

I have made this superb cheesecake three times now. The first two times I made it at about 200 ft above sea level; today I made it at about 7500 feet above sea level. My first two were perfect in every respect, but at high altitude, I had exactly the same experience and results as bhivedesign. Indeed, it rose higher in the oven than any soufflé I have ever made. Then the inevitable collapse.... But there were other variables as well: 1) The first two perfect batches were made with a Breville stand mixer. For the high-altitude cheesecake I used an Electrolux Assistent stand mixer, a mixer that is so good (major, major learning curve, though) that if a recipe calls for fluffy cream cheese, one has to take care that the cream cheese doesn't become so light and airy that it floats out of the mixer bowl like a cloud, all on its own. 2) I used homemade cream cheese, which has none of the gumminess of commercial cream cheese. I probably should have skipped the "fluffy" step. Despite today's disaster, I still judge this to be the best cheesecake recipe of all time. So thank you Lucy Mercer!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

So happy that you like the cheesecake! I appreciate the high altitude experimentation!