Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

10-20-08 1093 copy

A little while back I made gingersnap cookies that went a bit south for me. They were BEYOND crunchy. And I don’t know which side of the cookie camp you reside on, but I firmly reside in the chewy camp about 90% of the time. BUT they were tasty. I believed that they had another purpose, other than to satisfy my cookie cravings. Cus clearly that wasn’t happening.

And then came my thought of genius: gingersnap cookie crust!! But what to fill it with?? I had to find something that would compliment the gingersnap crust but not overpower it. Something bright and creamy but not too heavy. I was hoping to think outside of the ‘chocolate’ box and then it hit me ‘LEMONS!’ And so the seed of a lemon cheesecake was planted into my brain. To taunt and berate me for the next week.

I (in true Jeannette fashion) didn’t have said lemon glory on hand so I waited, in agony, until I found some delicious lemons worthy of my cheesecake masterpiece!

10-20-08 1107 copy

The crust couldn’t be ANY simpler! I did make a few changes to the cheesecake: I skipped the water bath. The last time I gave my cheesecake a bath, water seeped into my TRIPLE foil lined springform pan to make a soggy mess of my beautiful cheesecake. I didn’t want the headache this time and I decided that I could live with a crack in my cheesecake. I also subbed the marscapone cheese for regular ole cream cheese. I also used the zest of one LARGE lemon, I didn’t measure it but it looked to be more than called for in the recipe. And I’m ok with that.

The cheesecake is creamy, dreamy and perfect (aside from the fact that it sunk in the middle, but I’m ok with that too. It was THAT good!) The crust is lightly sweet and gingery. Overall, a grand success!

10-20-08 1112 copy

Gingersnap Crust:
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
1 ¾ cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the Lemon Cheesecake
Adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
2 pounds (4 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
1 cup mascarpone cheese (I subbed equal amount of cream cheese)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (I used the zest of one large lemon)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Before You Start
Position the rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

IF YOU ARE USING THE WATER BATH: Turn a 9-inchspringform pan upside down and cover the bottom and sides with aluminum foil. The foil should come up at least halfway on all sides, so that the water from the water bath will not leak through. Line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment cut to fit exactly. Using nonstick vegetable cooking spray, spray the inside papered bottom and sides of the pan.

*IF YOU ARE NOT USING THE WATER BATH: Follow all the directions minus wrapping the springform pan in foil and filling a roasting pan with water to place the cheesecake inside of. Simply place your cheesecake in the center of your preheated oven and follow the rest of the instructions.


For the crust:
Use a 9-inch spring form pan with 2 ¾ inch sides. Butter the pan and wrap the bottom with a layer of foil.

Stir the cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt together. Add the melted butter over top and stir together until moist and crumbly.

Pour the crumb mixture into the springform pan, and spread out the crumbs with your fingers along the bottom and half way up the sides.

Pop the crust into the freezer for 10 minutes.

Put the springform pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a cooling rack while you make the filling. (Leave the foil on the pan if you are using the water bath, you will want this on for the whole baking process)

To Make The Cheesecake
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar until smooth.

Scrape down the bowl and the paddle. Add the eggs and mix to combine. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust and spin gently to level the batter.

*Place the springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the center is just set. Remove the pan from the water bath and remove the aluminum foil on top. Using a sharp knife, loosen the edges of the cheesecake from the pan. Let cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bottom foil liner and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours to overnight.

Once the cheesecake is chilled, release the springform ring from around it. To remove the bottom, slide two offset spatulas under the cake and transfer it to a serving plate. Enjoy!


SMS – Toasted Almond Lemon Bars

10-20-08 225 copy

When life gives you lemons, make lemon bars!
I vote that this be the credo of all bakers across the globe, who’s with me?!

Lemon bars are a perfect treat if you covet one that doesn’t taste fussy and interfere with its true star: the lemons (of course).

10-20-08 216 copy

Sometimes a simple treat with only one true star to steal the show is refreshing. You don’t have any diva’s trying to get into the mix and steal the spotlight from all the other unsuspecting stars. Because then they break out into a fight and you have a spurt of this here and some of that there and the next thing you know, your tongue is throwing in the towel and you have a headache.

Who needs THAT?

10-20-08 209 copy

Although the lemons are the star of the show, the crust is delicious. It is crumbly and simply delightful, a perfect base for these bars. I had a few problems with the process of these bars. The dough was fuuuuuuussy. It came together quickly and easily but it was so soft that it was impossible for me to press it into the pan without my hands getting covered in the dough. Then when I DID finally get it into the pan, I removed the foil and pie weights (read: rice) and baked some more to brown it and managed to create cracks in my dough. Melissa says ‘NO CRACKS’ so I admit that I panicked a little. But forged ahead. I filled the cracked crust with super runny filling, said a prayer to the baking gods and placed my lucky rabbits foot on top of the oven.

10-20-08 213 copy

And boy, oh boy. Was I rewarded. That’s not a question… that is a blunt in yo face statement that should make you RUN, not walk to your nearest kitchen and get to squeezin those lemons that life gave you!!

10-20-08 224 copy

A giiiiiant thank you to Rebecca of Indecisive Baker for choosing these bars and pulling me out of my fear of conquering lemon squares! Head on over to her blog for the recipe.

10-20-08 218 copy

I semi-apologize for the picture heavy post. It’s a rarity that I can’t decide between a few pictures. These bars were beautiful to photograph, so I thought I’d share that with you! I hope you enjoy 🙂

Up next week: Chocolate Peppermint Meringues