You can go as big and bold with the lemon as you like.
Feel free to use any kind of cookie for the crust. I love the idea that the crust is made of the same cookies that circle the cheesecake. But you can mix and match as well. I don't recommend cookies with filling. Instead, go for a crispy wafer cookie or shortbread.
If you're not a fan of lemon, replace the juice and zest with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla bean.
It's best served cold. And once you encircle the cake with cookies, they will start to get stale. So I recommend doing this at the last minute.
For a bit of a retro showstopper, you can glaze the top of the cake with your favorite jam (puréed until smooth) and then scatter the entire cake with sliced almonds. As you can see, the possibilities are endless. —Phyllis Grant
unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon (for greasing the pan)
cookies (lemon, shortbread, vanilla wafers, or your favorite cookie)
kosher salt, divided
cream cheese, room temperature
creamy fresh goat cheese, room temperature
eggs, room temperature
crème fraîche or sour cream
firmly packed lemon zest (not strips, make sure it's very finely zested)
cookies, enough to circle the cake (preferably the same kind you used for the crust)
of your favorite jam or honey (for gluing on cookies)
Heat oven to 350° F. Butter the interior of your springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan and press it into the pan. Butter the parchment. Set aside.
Place butter for the crust in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. The butter will melt, sizzle, and foam up. Once it smells nutty and the noise stops, watch closely. Turn off the heat once the brown bits drop down to the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Pulverize your cookies in the food processor. Pulse in the brown butter and a 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Press into the bottom and up about 1 inch of the greased spring form pan. Bake until just starting to brown (about 10 minutes). Remove from the oven to cool. Turn oven down to 300° F.
Place cream cheese and goat cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer, and beat until light and smooth (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the sides. Add the sugar and beat for another minute. Scrape down the sides. Add the eggs one at at a time, scraping down between each addition. Add the remaining salt, crème fraîche, and lemon juice and zest. Beat for another 30 seconds. If you see any lumps, beat for another 30 seconds or so.
Pour into the crust in the prepared springform pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Don't peek. Not even once. After 40 minutes, turn off the oven and open the door. Leave the cake to cool for an hour in the oven. After an hour, remove from the oven to cool completely. (Otherwise, the cake will sweat in the fridge.) Cover and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, place the bottom of the pan over a medium flame on the stove. Move it around for about 5 seconds over the flame. Use a warm paring knife (warmed under hot water or over the flame) to separate the cake from the side of the pan. Remove outer ring from the spring form pan. Don't stress if it looks like a mess because you will be covering the sides up with cookies. Try to slide the cake off of the bottom of the pan. If it won't budge, put it over the flame for a few more seconds and/or use a spatula to loosen things up. I've found that once the cake is off the base and on the plate, you can easily slide out the circle of parchment paper. Sometimes, the parchment will even stay behind on the pan.
Encircle the side with the same cookies you used for the crust. They will need a little help sticking; you can use any kind of jam or honey.
Eat immediately, or store in the fridge until serving -- though be warned, the cookies might get a big stale the longer it sits.
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur
Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella
. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015
. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table
. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control
, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.
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