Meyer Lemon Cheesecake with Biscoff Crust

By • January 14, 2012 • 90 Comments



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 (90)

Comments (90) Questions (3)

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Rooney

about 1 month 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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2 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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2 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

2 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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3 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

3 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

3 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

3 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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3 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!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

3 months ago Lucy Mercer

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

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3 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.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

3 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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6 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

6 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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6 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

6 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

8 months ago Edy Anako

I'm going to make this for Christmas.

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8 months ago caroline0ne

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

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8 months ago NBG

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

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

8 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

8 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

8 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!

Christianlouboutin-pigalle-3091224_cm8d_1_1200x1200_1

8 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

9 months 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

8 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

about 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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about 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.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

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!

Minimallyinvasive

over 1 year ago Minimally Invasive

Hi Lucy, I'm so looking forward to making this tonight! One quick question, though: Should the cream cheese be at room temperature before beating or does it matter?

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Good catch - yes, the cream cheese should be at room temperature before beating. It may not make a huge difference, but I think it will make a smoother batter.

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over 1 year ago Virginia Luppescu

I am visiting a friend who has a Meyer lemon tree in her backyard. We made the cheesecake today using her lemons. It was delicious. We used both low-fat cream cheese and sour cream and the cake was plenty rich. We topped it with candied Meyer lemon slices so it was beautiful too. We bought the cookies at Cost Plus.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

So happy you liked the recipe!

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over 1 year ago caroline0ne

This was fabulous. Can't wait to make it again. I used Trader Joe's Gluten Free Gingersnaps for the cookie crumbs.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Mmmm, gingersnaps! So glad you liked the cheesecake!

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over 1 year ago LenaMattar

I'm sorry, but I did not undestand the mesure: "3 (8 oz.)
packages cream cheese (low-fat is ok, no-fat is not)" and "1 (16 oz.)
carton sour cream (low-fat is ok, no-fat is not)"...
Can you help me??

thanks

Mrs._larkin_370

over 1 year ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

use 24 ounces of cream cheese and 16 ounces of sour cream.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Thanks, mrslarkin! I used Neufchatel (1/3-less-fat) cream cheese and reduced fat sour cream. I'm sure full-fat products would work fine. I do not use non-fat products in baking.

Stringio

over 1 year ago hothead

Hi

Is the springform pan greased or ungreased

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

My springform pan is nonstick, so no need for greasing. I can't see the harm in greasing your springform pan.

Stringio

over 1 year ago hothead

Hi

According to Hilarybee comment about adding meyer lemon juice to the sour cream topping will it thin out the topping or will it be to much lemon flavor.

Hilary_sp1

over 1 year ago Hilarybee

Don't know, because I haven't tried it yet. I would lightly grease your springform pan sides after baking off the crust.

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over 1 year ago jennifer ott

How can that be just one T sour cream in photo?

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over 1 year ago jennifer ott

Oh sorry I see my mistake one carton!

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over 1 year ago PaigeP

Mel - Meyer Lemons seem to be available only a couple of months a year - January in KY at Sams this year. If you don't have meyer, I think you could get by with a naval orange and a regular lemon. These lemons are special.
I think I will try this with Limes too! And maybe a totally orange one - ooooh - how about a grapefruit one!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Grapefruit sounds fantastic! Let me know if you try it!

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over 1 year ago Mel Pierce

Will any lemon due? I've never heard of a Meyer lemon.

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over 1 year ago anne johnston

how much lemon juice? My lemons are quite large

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over 1 year ago MJprovence

Biscoff cookies are Speculoos and in France the best brand is Lotus. THIS SOUNDS absolutely delicious....meyer lemon and speculoos...how can it go wrong

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over 1 year ago MJprovence

Forgot to say that Costco now has the cookies....best packaged cookie ever.

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over 1 year ago olinka

I live in Italy - but go to NY twice a year. What are Biscoff cookies?

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Biscoff cookies: http://biscoff.com/biscoff.... They are sort of famous around these parts because Delta Airlines serves them. They're also found in supermarkets. More info on my original blog post: http://acookandherbooks...

Hilary_sp1

over 1 year ago Hilarybee

I used amaretti cookies and it turned out beautifully.

2010-09-15_14.22.07

over 1 year ago calendargirl

What a perfect combo! Thanks so much for the recipe, and for your blog, which I have been enjoying.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Thanks so much for checking out my blog, calendargirl! And after reading your profile, I am wondering at what occasion one would have the opportunity to eat woodchuck.

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over 1 year ago lynda.b.mahana

Congratulations! Can't wait to try it!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Thanks, Lynda! I'd love to know what you think of the cheesecake!

Linda_cooking

over 1 year ago Beautiful, Memorable Food

Wow, congrats, Lucy! I think I "need" this cheesecake, too (hint).

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Thanks, Linda! This totally makes my day!

Dscn2212

over 1 year ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Lovely idea for the crust. Warm congratulations.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Merci beaucoups!

Photo_(14)

over 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

Whoa - lemons AND Biscoff? This looks amazing.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Simple & simply delicious. Thanks for reading!

Hilary_sp1

over 1 year ago Hilarybee

I'm making this Sunday. Beautiful, so excited about it!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Thanks so much!

Hilary_sp1

over 1 year ago Hilarybee

I made it and it was beautiful. I did have to sub amaretti cookies for the Biscoff, but I really liked it! My only wish is that the sour cream topping had the meyer lemon juice in it to give it more flavor. I think I'm going to try it next with orange or maybe blood orange and try adding juice to the sour cream topping.

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over 1 year ago VickyD

What is the cream cheese measurement? 3, 8 oz packages?

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Yes, correct. 3 (8 oz.) packages.

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, what a cheesecake, it's beautiful. Congratulations on the wildcard, well deserved.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

Thanks so much!

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over 1 year ago cheryllk

Whoa, never mind. I just found one at Kitchen Kraft. What a boon! Thanks so much: a new recipe and a new tool. What could be better!

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over 1 year ago cheryllk

Wow! Thanks for the response. Where did you find a square springform pan? I would love to find one.

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

It's a Kaiser 9-inch nonstick square springform pan. Mine was a gift, but Google says it's carried at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It's a fantastic pan! (and you'll amaze your friends with square cheesecake) :)

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over 1 year ago cheryllk

Very cool, thanks! I'll go to BB&B instead of ordering it from KK, then, armed with one of their wonderful coupons that never expire. I'll look for a Kaiser. Thanks again!

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over 1 year ago cheryllk

Question: how do you get a square piece when the cheesecake is made in a (round) springform pan?

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 1 year ago Lucy Mercer

My springform pan is a 9 X 9 square pan.

Summer_2010_1048

over 2 years ago Midge

Love the biscoff crust. Yum!

Linda_cooking

over 2 years ago Beautiful, Memorable Food

Yay, Lucy!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 2 years ago Lucy Mercer

Spatulas & fingers crossed! This is just like the SKC!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 2 years ago Lucy Mercer

I've heard wonderful things about the Biscoff spread. Will try. Thanks for reading & commenting!

Girl_in_hat_crop_by_lucy_mercer

over 2 years ago Lucy Mercer

I've heard wonderful things about Biscoff spread. Will try. Thanks for reading & commenting!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

This sounds great! love love love biscoff cookies!! Have you tried the biscoff spread? Addictive.