We’re in Montreal for a few days to see my new niece. We’ve been invited to a Christmas lunch at which I was asked to make a dessert featuring lemon curd. Tartlets or lemon bars would be the easy thing to make, but I decided on a cheesecake.
This Cook’s Illustrated recipe has three components: the crust, the filling, and the curd. To save time, I pressed the crust ingredients into a pan unbaked, and brought it with me to Montreal, where I baked and cooled it while making the filling.
Besides the standard cheesecake ingredients (cream cheese, sugar, eggs, some form of liquid dairy), this recipe adds both lemon juice and zest. It requires a water bath, and took just 55 minutes to achieve a nicely browned top, with minimal cracking. Then, with the door propped open, it gently cooled down, still in the water bath. At this point, I needed to go to bed, so I put the still warm cheesecake in the fridge.
While the cheesecake was baking, I made the lemon curd. It’s only used in a thin layer on the top of the cake, so it cooked very quickly. Somewhat daringly, the recipe calls for whole eggs, and direct heat, so the risk of scrambling is quite high. You need to always strain curd for this reason, so that it’s silky smooth.
This dessert was a hit. It didn’t feel heavy, and the tartness of the curd offset the inherent richness of the cheesecake. I would definitely make this again.