Exploding Ovens and Lemon Cheesecake
My oven exploded this weekend. It wasn’t in use at the time and thankfully we weren’t even in the same room. Luckily, my husband was here to witness it as well. I can just imagine trying to prove my innocence on this one…the scene of the crime covered in my fingerprints, recent increase of baking activity, dirty apron found stuffed in a drawer. It wasn’t me, I tells ya! You got the wrong girl!!
RIP oven. You were taken from us far too soon and you will be missed dearly.
I was able to get two last baking projects out of her before she kicked the bucket – both with a lemon theme. Why? Because it’s been snowing for 6 weeks straight, and lemon makes me think of happy summer times, and its my blog and I can do what I want. The one I’ll be sharing with you today combines a lemon sauce with a vanilla cheesecake and a Girl Scout Cookie crust – how could you possibly go wrong! Also, it’s tiny!
Speaking of tiny, the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin are no joke. I saw two mini scouts trudging through snow and single digit weather peddling their goods door to door. But these people are like Inuits, winter weather doesn’t seem to phase them. Look out your window in the dead of winter and it might as well be a beautiful spring day; people jogging, walking dogs, pushing baby strollers. Meanwhile, I’m layered up and shivering inside! It’s just in their blood I suppose.
6-8 Lemonades Girl Scout cookies, crushed
4-5 tablespoons melted butter
Combine cookie crumbs and butter in a small mixing bowl. Press mixture into bottom of 12 paper liners. I used these baking cups from Paper Eskimo. They provide a perfectly circular, ridge free look to the cheesecakes. This may seem like a wasteful use of really cute baking cups but I’m just not a huge fan of the way cupcakes look in them. Refrigerate the crusts while you make the filling.
2 – 8 ounce packages of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and beat until incorporated. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for about 18 – 22 minutes or until firm but the centers of the cheesecakes still wobble a little. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
The lemon curd sauce
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in double boiler over medium heat. Whisk continuously until mixture thickens and can coat back of a spoon. This is kind of a slow process. You will be whisking for what seems like forever. Place in refrigerator to cool completely. Once cool, you can thin the curd to desired consistency by adding additional lemon juice and stirring. Transfer thinned mixture to squeeze bottle.
1 large organic lemon
1 cup of sugar plus extra for coating
Remove the peel of the lemon using a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler trying to avoid the white pith as much as possible. You can cut into small vertical strips or remove larger portion of peel to cut out shapes. Once you have your peel removed, using a sharp knife shave off as much pith as possible. Using mini cookie cutters or fondant cutters, cut out desired shape. It’s tough to push through the peel but you’ll get it.
Add the peel and 1 cup of cold water to saucepan. Bring to boil and allow to simmer for 30 seconds. Drain peels and repeat this process two more times then remove the peels from the pan and set aside.
Measure 1 cup of sugar into the pan and add 1/2 cup water, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Add the peels and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the peels are tender and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the peels and place on drying rack to cool.
Add some sugar (roughly 1/4 cup) to a bowl. You can add a drop of yellow food coloring to the sugar to make the color of the garnish more vibrant. Toss the candied lemon in the sugar and tap of the excess. Store in airtight container.
You can assemble this baby cake any way you want but here are a couple of options:
Squeeze some lemon sauce onto a plate in an esthetically pleasing way. Place cheesecake onto sauce and add candied lemon peel on top. Add a couple of sweet swirls of homemade whipped cream.
Or…swirl some whipped cream on top, drizzle the lemon sauce over and add the candied lemon peel garnish.
Just look at how teensy it is!
This would be a really cute dessert for a springtime luncheon, a baby shower or when you’re looking for a little pick me up in the dead of a seemingly never ending winter.