Thursday, July 09, 2015

Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

Lemon and raspberry were meant to live under one roof-- or in one dessert, as the case may be.  I made this as one of the Easter desserts over a year ago, and it was marvelous.  (Yes, I like lemony desserts for Easter, in case you noticed a theme here.)

Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

3 cups crushed graham crackers
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/3 cup butter, melted
Combine and mix well in a bowl, then press across the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes and then cool completely.

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted

2 tbsp. flour
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tsp. lemon extract
about 6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest (for batter)
an additional 1-2 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest set aside for garnish, if desired

Topping, if desired:
sour cream (an 8 oz. container is enough)
vanilla extract (start with 1/4 tsp.)
lemon extract (start with 1/4 tsp.)
granulated sugar 
1-2 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest, previously set aside, for garnish

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in butter and flour, and then add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined. Mix in both extracts, the lemon juice, and the zest.  *Don't overbeat the mixture once you've added the eggs. This beats air into the cheesecake batter, which will cause the cheesecake to fall and crack while baking.

Pour cheesecake batter into graham cracker crust and bake in a 350 degree oven for about one hour or until the center is almost set. (Sides should be puffed and set, and center will move slightly when shaken.) Cool in a cracked-open oven for ten minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust. Cool for one more hour and then refrigerate overnight to let the flavors ripen.

For topping, mix together sour cream, vanilla and lemon extracts, and granulated sugar, to taste, until the sugar dissolves.  Set aside with the reserved lemon zest.
After cheesecake has completely cooled, spread with the sour cream mixture and sprinkle with lemon zest.  Spoon raspberry sauce over individual slices.

Raspberry Sauce
1 bag frozen raspberries or several cups fresh raspberries 
sugar, to taste
about one tablespoon corn starch dissolved in a small amount of cold water.

Puree the berries (if using frozen, you can just smush with spoon), place in small saucepan, and add the sugar and corn starch. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens.

Note: If you want to be proper, the pureed or smushed berries should be strained to remove the seeds BEFORE you put them into the saucepan, but I've always just left them in. Cool and refrigerate.

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