Recipe: Fresh Lemon Cheesecakes for Valentine’s Day
I made two super adorable treats for Valentine’s Day today. They came out so great, I am exercising some serious willpower right now in not devouring them all. Not only do they taste great, they’re also very cute.
First, I made my go-to mini cheesecakes. Except instead of doing the usual glazed fruit topping, I channeled some more of that indoor sunshine craving and made my own lemon curd. Yow, that stuff is good! I’ve only had lemon curd once or twice before, but I am pretty addicted now that I’ve tried homemade. The name doesn’t do the gooey, citrus creme justice – “curd” just doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as this stuff tastes!
Here’s the cheesecake recipe (it’s very simple and easy):
2 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese (you can use low-fat without losing much flavor)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
18 ‘Nilla Wafers
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners (recipe makes approx 18 cheesecakes, in my family we use the shiny silver liners to glam up this dessert). Place 1 vanilla wafer cookie in each lined cup.
Mix ingredients (cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and sugar) with an electric hand mixer until the batter is smooth. Fill each cup 2/3 full with filling. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool.
For topping the cooled cheesecakes, I usually use canned cherry pie filling. The glazed fruit looks pretty and fills the indentation that forms in the center of each cheesecake when they cool. However, I’m on a citrus kick and wanted to make a more seasonally appropriate dessert.
As a kid, there was a bakery in our town that made a delicious lemon cheesecake that my godmother would get for my brother’s birthday. It was a rich, dense cheesecake, frosted with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and each slice was garnished with a piped swirl of lemon curd. Yum – the bright citrus flavor zinged across the tongue, cutting the richness of the cheesecake and leaving you craving more!
This thought was swirling in my head the other day when I caught the tail end of a Barefoot Contessa episode in which Ina Garten was making lemon curd. It looked so simple! So fresh and bright and delicious! So perfect for my citrus kick.
Ina Garten’s Lemon Curd
1 – 1/2 cups sugar (I used superfine, because I knew I was going to have to make up for not having a food processor)
1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 – 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon salt