When Your Neighbor Gives You Lemons, Make... A Lemon Cheesecake!
I have always heard from older people than I, that the older they got, the more sweet-toothed they became. I'm not sure if it has something to do with age, but for the last few months/weeks, I am regularly craving for some chocolate desserts. So far I have indulged in those cravings by baking different type of chocolaty confections. These included some simple chocolate mousses, tarts, flans and cheesecakes. I can say that they always pleased my, as well as my wife and daughter's, palate.
A few days ago however, a neighbor gave us some lemons from her farm. Those were not the typical 2-3 inches yellow ones we're used to, but rather 4-5 inches large. At first I thought they were pomelos. I'm sorry but I completely failed to take a picture before squeezing them for the juice.
Anyways, I thought that for a change, I would use them to bake a lemon dessert.
I asked my wife what she's was in a mood for and she suggested a lemon cheesecake. I looked up a few recipes and decided to make my own by getting inspiration from some of them.
So here it goes...!
- 2-3 cups of crushed Graham crackers
- 3 tbsp of butter
- 2 x packs of cream cheese (8oz or 226g each)
- 1 can condensed milk (300ml)
- 2 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- lemon zest (I used one regular lemon for that)
- 100ml Lemon Juice
The first thing I did was to crush the graham crackers using a marble pestle. Actually, let me correct that! I got my daughter to do that for me while I prepared the rest of the recipe. I could have saved her time and effort as I realized once she was done that we had a bag of ready crushed graham crackers in the cupboard. Oh well, it'll be for the next cheesecake.
The next step was to melt the butter and mix it with the graham powder so as to make it a bit more solid and easier to spread and compact in the baking pan. Most recipes recommend to then put the pan in the oven for a few minutes, but I couldn't be bothered. It might have made the cake's crust a bit more firm and less likely to crumble. I guess next time I'll make the effort and see if it makes a difference.
Right, so that's the crust done. Moving on to the main filling...
In my bowl, I mixed the cream cheese, the condensed milk, the eggs, the vanilla extract, the lemon zest and the lemon juice together until everything was well blended and the texture was smooth.
In most of my baking recipes, I only put a little amount of sugar. To be honest, most recipes online could have their sugar quantities divided by 2 or even 4 and the result would still be pretty sweet or just right. I am a sweet-toothed person but I don't need to eat the sugar by the spoon.
For this cheesecake, I decided to not put any and instead only rely on the sweetness of the condensed milk.
Once the mix was ready, I simply poured it over the graham crust and then put the baking pan in the oven for 25 minutes at 180°C (350°F).
At the end of the timer, I took it out and made sure that the center was still a bit wobbly. I left it in the oven for another 10 minutes with the door slightly ajar. Then it was just a matter of cooling it down for a few hours before putting the whole cake in the fridge. Wait until it gets really cold before consumption, it will only taste better.
This is a very easy recipe and for what it's worth, the family really enjoyed it. It does have that cheese taste on the first bite but then the lemon flavor takes over and that's all you will taste until your last spoon. I was expecting a usual heavy dessert but I suppose the condensed milk made it a bit more fluffy and so it had a slight mousse-like texture in the mouth.
As you can see on the pictures it is not a professional looking cake. It is not what I was trying to achieve, I only wanted to make a cake we would enjoy.