LEMON MERINGUE CHEESECAKE

This recipe combines two very delicious desserts, lemon meringue pie and New York cheesecake to make a very impressive looking, even more delicious dessert! This was one of the first times I had made Italian meringue too and I was surprised that it wasn’t too difficult. This is quite a fiddly dessert as it has lots of components and needs to be made the night before really, but believe me, the end result is totally worth it.

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Ingredients – Serves 10

For the lemon curd:

4 unwaxed lemons, zest and juice
200g/7oz unrefined caster sugar
100g/3½oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 free-range eggs, plus 1 free-range egg yolk

For the crumb base: 

300g pack digestive biscuits
100g butter

For the cheesecake:

3 x 280g tubs full-fat cream cheese
300g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest 3 lemons, juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk (save the white)
300ml soured cream

For the meringue:

4 large egg whites (from above)
300g caster sugar
1 tbsp liquid glucose

 

Method

  1. First make a lemon curd by putting the lemon zest and juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl. Sit the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture every now and again until all of the butter has melted.
  2. Lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolk and stir them into the lemon mixture. Whisk until all of the ingredients are well combined, then leave to cook for 10-13 minutes, stirring every now and again, until the mixture is creamy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove the lemon curd from the heat and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally as it cools. Leave it to cool.  You will probably have some left over but as it keeps you can use the remainder to spread on your morning toast! Just spoon the lemon curd into sterilised jars and seal. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease a 25cm loose-bottomed or springform round tin with a little oil, and line the base and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.
  5. Blitz the digestive biscuits in a food processor. Melt the butter over a low heat until completely melted and then mix the biscuit crumbs into the melted butter.  Press the biscuit mix into the bottom of the tin. Bake for 10 mins.
  6. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese for 1-2 mins with an electric hand whisk in your largest mixing bowl until creamy. Add the sugar, flour, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Finally, whisk in the eggs and soured cream until blended. Pour the filling into the tin and tap a few times sharply on the counter to get rid of any bubbles. Bake for about 40-60 mins until firm at the edges but still a bit wobbly in the middle. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in until it is cold, then chill for at least 2 hrs or overnight.
  7. Spread the lemon curd over the top over the cheesecake until you have a thick layer and it completely covers the top.
  8. A few hours before you want to serve, make the meringue. Put the egg whites in a big mixing bowl and put the sugar in a small saucepan with 100ml water and the liquid glucose. Place over a low-medium heat until the sugar has melted, then increase the heat and boil with a sugar thermometer in the pan.
  9. When the thermometer reaches 100C, beat the whites with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Keep boiling the sugar syrup until it reaches soft-ball stage – 113C on the thermometer.
  10. Remove from the heat and, while beating the whites, pour in the syrup in a slow, steady stream – avoid hitting the whisk blades. Keep beating until the meringue is stiff.
  11. Use a large spoon to pile on top of the cheesecake and create peaks, or put the meringue in a piping bag and pipe on top. Use a blowtorch to caramelise the meringue or put under the grill for 5 mins or so. Chill until ready to serve.

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