One of the best cheesecakes I ever tasted was a plain-looking one that had a light, slightly cake-like texture. Despite it being served to me more than thirty years ago, I remember its gentle (as opposed to sharp) lemony flavor to this day. The baker was an early culinary influence who had saved the recipe from a Family Circle magazine. It was originally from John Clancy's Baking Book and is adapted here.
For this, as well as most cheesecakes, both texture and taste seem to be at their best after a day or two of ďaging.Ē Dairy foods play a key role in the recipe, so make them organic and all that pure, real-milk flavor and nutrition will radiate through. Serve this with lightly sweetened fresh berries or bottled lemon curd, available in jars from grocery and specialty food stores. (Itís also wonderful on its own.)
A tip: Separate the eggs while they are cold (itís easier to do then). For maximum volume, allow the whites to come to room temperature before whipping them in a clean, dry bowl.
1. To make crust: Grease a 9-inch springform pan that is 3 inches deep; place it on a large square of aluminum foil and fold foil up around sides of pan. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter in bowl; mix well. Press 3/4 of the mixture into bottom and up the sides of the pan (Reserve the remaining crumb mixture.) Chill crust while making filling.
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. To make filling: Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric beaters at medium speed until very soft, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in 1 1/4 cups sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Mix in sour cream, flour, vanilla, grated lemon rind, and lemon juice at low speed.
3. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a clean bowl at medium speed until they hold stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped whites into cheese mixture until barely blended. Pour into prepared pan.
4. Bake until top is golden and cheesecake is set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off oven and let cheesecake cool in oven for one hour. Then remove it to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top.
5. Chill the cheesecake thoroughly (preferably overnight) before serving. Serve plain, or with sliced, sugared berries or lemon curd.
Copyright by Terese Allen