Instead of cake for his birthday, my husband asked me to make him a cheesecake with a tart lemon topping similar to the Lemon Cream Cheese pie they serve at Marie Callender’s. My wonderful son gave me a mini cheesecake pan for Christmas, so this was the perfect opportunity to give it it’s maiden voyage.
Jenny at Picky Palate is always creating fabulous desserts with her mini cheesecake pan. So I adapted her Shortbread Cookie Crusted Peanut Butter Mini Cheesecakes with Chocolate Ganache to create luscious lemon mini birthday cheesecakes. These little beauties were a wonderful combination of sweet and tart, creamy and crunchy. I bet you can’t eat just one!
1 cup graham cracker crumbs, (1 package)
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
½ Cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons sour cream
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, (2 lemons)
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 300º. In a medium bowl, combined graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Spoon a heaping Tablespoon of crust into each mini cheesecake pan or mini muffin tin. With fingers or round end of a wooden spoon, press crust down evenly.
In a stand or electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Add in eggs one at a time following with the vanilla, sour cream, pinch of salt. Mix until just combined.
Fill each crust filled cup ¾ way full of cheesecake batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Remove from oven and let sit in pan at room temperature for 30 minutes before removing. Transfer mini cheesecakes to a cooling rack to cool completely, another 30 minutes or so.
Refrigerate until serving. To serve spoon lemon curd over each cheesecake.
Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth.
Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 2 days.
If you want to bake a bigger version of this cheesecake in a springform pan, I loved Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake I made last year for the Daring Bakers challenge and then top it with the lemon curd recipe.
Lemon Curd MarthaStewart.com Makes 1 1/2 cups