Cheesecake doesn’t need a whole lotta improvement, but even the very best gets an instant upgrade when combined with zesty lemon that makes for a fabulous combination of sweet and just a bit of sour.
For emon curd:
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup of strained lemon juice
5 tablespoons of sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
For cheese cake:
1 cup of sugar
2 cups (2 percent) of lowfat small curd cottage cheese, drained for a minimum of 30 minutes in a strainer set over a bowl in the refrigerator
8 ounces of Neufchatel Cream Cheese
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 to 4 tablespoons of graham cracker or other cookies such as Zwieback crumbs or crushed Chocolate Cookies or gingersnaps
8 -inch round pan with a solid bottom, at least 2 inches deep.
Oven proof baking dish or a skillet, a minimum of 11 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep.
8 -inch cardboard cake circle or pan bottom, optional
To prepare lemon curd: Using a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest, sugar and juice and bring it to a simmer. In a small bowl, beat egg until it becomes light. Beat some of hot lemon mixture into egg. Scrape egg mixture into saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, then reach all over bottom and sides of pan, until mixture barely begins to simmer around edges. Continue to cook, then stir for a total of 15 seconds. Pour mixture through a strainer set over a clean bowl, then stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
To prepare the cheesecake batter: Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Place round of parchment paper on the cake pan’s bottom, then spray sides with vegetable oil spray. Put the water kettle on to pan to boil for baking procedure.
Process cottage cheese in a food processor for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until it becomes silky smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice, then set aside.
Using a microwave safe bowl, soften Neufchatel cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds on a high heat. Stir until it is smooth. Scrape mixture into the processor. Add eggs and the remaining sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon juice. Pulse until it becomes fully incorporated and smooth. Be sure to not over process.
Scrape batter into a prepared pan. Distribute slightly rounded tablespoons of the lemon curd over the cheesecake batter. Use a table knife or a teaspoon to use circular strokes in order to marble batters until it is nicely but not completely mingled.
Slide oven rack, part way out. Place cheesecake pan into a baking dish or a skillet and set on the oven rack. Carefully pour the boiling water around pan to a depth of about 1-inch. Slide the oven rack in gently in order to avoid sloshing. Bake until the cheesecake has puffed and risen a bit and begins to shrink from the edges, which will take about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and allow to cool on a rack. Once completely cool, cover it and let it chill for a minimum of 12 hours or up to 2 days before serving.
To unmold and serve: Cover pan with tightly stretched plastic wrap, then place a flat dish on top of the plastic. Invert the pan and dish, then wrap the pan until the cheesecake is released from the pan. Remove the pan and peel the parchment liner from the bottom of cake. Place a cake circle or serving plate on the cake, then gently invert so the cake is right side up. Remove the plastic wrap. Press the crumbs around the sides of the cake. Cut it with a sharp thin knife. Dip knife into the hot water and wipe it dry between cuts.