Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
Because I love making cheesecake, even though I don’t really care to eat it. And because I had both cream cheese, raspberries and lemon juice, I felt the need to make lemon cheesecake. Josh was approving of my decision. He welcomes any day I choose to make some. I had never made this variety before but it sounded like a nice light and refreshing spring cheesecake. It turned out to be just that with a delightful lemon flavor.
Just as eating cheesecake isn’t for everyone, neither is making it. But if you’re up for trying and following my instructions, I promise you will end up with a wonderful end result. These suggestions apply to making any cheesecake.
Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
2 1/2 C graham crackers
3/4 C butter
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
16oz cream cheese
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C sour cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Raspberry Sauce Ingredients:
1 12oz bag of frozen raspberries
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350.
Using a food processor, chop up graham crackers into fine crumbs. *Tip: 2 1/2 C is roughly 2 of the 3 wrapped packages from a box of graham crackers. If you don't have a food processor, get one, but for right now toss your graham crackers in a gallon size bag and smash away. You can use a meat tenderizer with the flat side or a rolling pin. You won't get quite the same even result of crumbs but that's fine. Get the large chunks smashed down. Some small bits here and there isn't the end of the world.
Toss crumbs into a medium bowl. Add in butter and sugar. Mix well. If making mini cheesecakes, put 1/2 C of crust mixture into the bottom of your mini springform pans. If making a large cheesecake, toss all of your crust mixture into the bottom of your pan. Use a flat or rounded instrument to help press and smooth your crust. Some cheesecakes call for crust going part way up the side of your pan while others do not. You can do either with this. I chose to keep my crust flat without it going up the sides of my pan at all. I think it gives a nice finished look, especially to the mini variety. Bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Scrape away from the sides of your bowl. Add in sugar, mix until combined. Add sour cream, lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix well, remembering to scrape the sides of your bowl often. You may find that you need to help loosen any mixture from your beater occasionally. Add in eggs and mix well. Scrape one more time and do another quick mix.
Before adding filling to your pan or pans, wrap the bottom and sides tightly with foil. Use multiple pieces if necessary to get good coverage.
For one large cheesecake, transfer entire filling mixture to your pan. For mini cheesecakes, use a large cookie scoop to fill each pan. This method will help in making sure that you have the same amount of filling per pan. Never fill to the top edge of the pan, always leave a bit of breathing room.
Find a baking dish or roasting pan that is big enough for your cheesecake(s). It should be as high as your springform pan or taller and also big enough that you aren't crowding mini cheesecakes or causing springform pans to touch your exterior pan. Place filled and wrapped cheesecake(s) in your larger dish or pan.
Grab the largest glass measuring cup you have, or heat safe pouring container. Fill it up with hot water. Place your pan with cheesecake in the oven. Pour hot water carefully into the pan without getting it in the cheesecake. You want the water to be no more than half way up the side of your springform pan. This is called a water bath. The reason for this is to prevent cracks. Does it work? Yes! If you don't use this method, cheesecake cracks are almost a guarantee. If you are making a cheesecake that you will be topping with something like whipped cream, etc then you need not do the water bath. You may find your cooking time will change slightly but not by much.
For mini cheesecakes, cook for 35 minutes or until set but still wiggly. For one large cheesecake, cook for 70 minutes.
Carefully remove entire pan from the oven. You can remove the individual cheesecake(s) instead and leave the water bath in the oven but DO remember to remove it before you cook again. I forgot to take the water bath out once, went to cook the next day and got a horrible amount of steam shooting out at me as I opened the oven. Not fun. So do yourself a favor and either take it out with the cheesecakes and then remove them from the dish or write a note somewhere. Do not forget.
Let cheesecake cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing foil. Carefully remove foil at that point. Continue cooling cheesecake on the wire rack for an additional 20 minutes or more. Transfer to the fridge for 2-4 hours or overnight.
When it is time to eat. Run a knife around the edge of your cheesecake. Release your springform pan and force it to go larger. Then carefully remove the edge. To make clean slices, clean your knife after every slice. A warm knife may help as well.
Place entire bag of frozen raspberries in a large fine strainer, over a large bowl. Allow to thaw out. This may take several hours. When your raspberries are mostly thawed you can begin pushing down on the raspberries with a large spoon. Pushing and spreading out the raspberries will cause any juices to get sent through the strainer. You want any and all juices in the bowl and all seeds left in the strainer. The process seems frustrating and long but the final product is worth it. Let your raspberries sit for a while if you are having trouble getting more liquid out of the mixture. Eventually you will find they have strained themselves to an extent. When you are satisfied with how much liquid you have squished through your strainer. Discard seeds remaining.
Add sugar and lemon juice to raspberry purée. Mix well and top off desserts as desired. You can refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to a year, or so I read. If you are considering topping off a cheesecake with this raspberry sauce, reserve a cream cheese container. An 8oz container is the perfect size for storing this amount of raspberry sauce.