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.
Test Kitchen Notes
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
Biscoff cookies, crumbled
unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Meyer lemon cheesecake filling
8-oz. packages cream cheese (low-fat is ok, no-fat is not)
Meyer lemons, zest removed and juice reserved
16 oz. carton sour cream (low-fat is ok, no-fat is not)
In This Recipe
Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan.
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.
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
Preheat oven to 350°F.
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.
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 to 55 minutes or until cake is just set in center. Remove cake from oven but do not turn off oven.
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 to 15 additional minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and let cool to room temperature. Store cheesecake, well-wrapped in refrigerator.