You never stood a chance.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself craving Lemon Meringue Pie. One of my first experiences baking with my blog was to make the freeform lemon tartlets from the Daring Bakers Challenge and I quickly and thoroughly fell head over peels. Um, heels. Love, people. That same love is shared with my own cheesecake recipe. I never alter it these days – it bakes perfectly, never cracks, always creamy and tangy and smooth and… I need to stop talking now.
So, after making the Lemon Meringue Pies, I had some of the uber delicious lemony filling left over. Why, that won’t DO! It MUST be used! And used it was. As were the first raspberries of the season that I picked from our berry batch.
Thus, the Lemon Meringue and Fresh Raspberry Cheesecake was born.
To make this taste of heaven, you’ll need to first make the lemon pie filling. I will provide you the full recipe here, based on Wanda Beaver’s Pie in the Sky recipe, so that you can make a few small freeform or regular lemon tarts if you like, just be sure to keep at least a cup of the filling for the top of the cheesecake. You could also halve the recipe, I suppose, but you still have the same amount of work, so why not just make it all?
So, you make the filling. Good. We can move on the the crust. This crust is phenomenal. I do not enjoy pie crust. Ever. But this one is fantastic. Dare I admit I even eat it without the filling? Okay, I do. Again, this recipe will be enough to make the crust for the cheesecake as well as a few little tartlets. Adjust your baking times for the tartlets – knock a couple of minutes off and watch them closely in the oven. Golden brown, not brown. Keep your eye on them.
Now you’ve made the filling, and the crust. All that’s left is the cheesecake and the meringue. You can be a normal person and pour the cheesecake batter into the crust if you like, just be sure you bake the crust in a springform pan and leave it in there until after you’ve baked the cheesecake, too. However, I did things a little differently. I baked my cheesecake in a regular cake pan that was only slightly smaller in size than the pie crust (Actually the same size because the cheesecake does draw up a bit) – and then when it was thoroughly chilled I plopped it out of the pan and into the pie crust. Sounds weird, I know – but it made a neat edge for me to pipe a pretty row of meringue onto. Do it however you like!
Now you are ready to get fancy. Place your raspberries evenly around the top of the cheesecake. Fill your piping bag with some of the lemon filling and start piping the lemon around in between those berries. be sure to save a little space for the meringue, too!
Make the meringue last. Meringue weeps, and I get grossed out about that. But, make it, then start piping it on to the top of the pie, as well as around the edges if you assembled it MY way. You then torch it after piping it on. You can’t slide this cake back under the broiler, as it will melt your prettily piped filling. So, you’ll need a torch. Sorry. If you don’t have one, you should. I’ll find one and give you a link at the end of the post. I use mine way more than I ever thought I would.
So, voila! beautiful and delicious and really not that much work. Okay, it’s work, but it’s so worth it! I used to think chocolate and cheesecake were the best combination – but this may be my new favorite! If you have any questions, I’m here…just yell!
Lemon Meringue and Fresh Raspberry Cheesecake
For the Crust: (enough for the cheesecake and a few small tartlets)
- 3/4 cup cold butter; cut into pieces
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup ice water
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon Cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
For the Filling: (enough for the cheesecake and a few small tartlets)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 5 egg yolks, beaten
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Meringue: (enough for the pie or tartlets AND the cheesecake)
- 5 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
To Make the Crust:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar, zest, spices and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to make a circle. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes. Once chilled, roll on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch (.3 cm). Press into springform pan or a pie plate (your choice, I chose springform). Save the extra crust for your tartlets. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350ºF .Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.
To Make the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated. Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.
To Make the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.
To Make the cheesecake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease or butter a 9-inch pan. Wrap the pan in heavy duty aluminum foil so that it is waterproof if you choose to use a springform pan. I opt to use a regular pan these days and find find it works great and the cheesecake always pops right out..
2. Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.
3. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of the sugar, then beat in the vanilla, salt, vanilla, sour cream and heavy cream. Blend in the eggs and the yolk, one at a time, beating the bating only until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the top is lightly browned, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool in the oven with the door propped open.
5. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from the pan.