From the Chef: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Single_Serving

By Mark Marques

Here is a dessert I created for the one year anniversary of The Las Vegas Informer.  It is a sweet taste of summer and a twist on an old classic. This tasty Cheesecake is refreshing and absolutely delicious. It is fairly easy to prepare and your friends and family will be impressed with the outcome!

(As with all recipes, read it completely first, assemble all ingredients before starting. This recipe can be served without the meringue top if you would like. Replace with whipped cream instead.)

Crust

  • ½ Package Mother’s Iced Lemonade Cookies crushed
  • ½ Stick Butter melted

Filling

  • 4 Packages Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • ½ Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks (reserve egg whites for Meringue Top)
  • Zest of Two Lemons
  • Juice of Two Lemons
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt

Meringue Topping

  • 2 Egg Whites (Must have no yolk in them) 
  • ½ Cup Sugar 
  • ¼ Tsp. Cream of Tartar
     

Lemon Glaze

  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Water
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Corn Starch mixed with ¼ Cup Water
     

Meringue_Top

Instructions
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In an oven-proof bowl or stainless steel bowl, fill it with water and place in the back of the oven.

Crust:

In a food processor or in a mixing bowl, finely crush Cookies. Once the Cookies have been finely crushed, add ½ stick melted butter and evenly press into the bottom of spring-form pan. I like using the bottom of a plastic measuring cup, starting at the middle and working my way to the outside edge. Set aside.

Filling:

In a large bowl and your electric mixer or Kitchen Aid mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, scrapping the side occasionally. Add Sugar, then add 4 eggs one at a time. Then add sour cream, vanilla, and salt, mixing until completely smooth and slightly airy. Pour cheesecake batter onto crust. Place a sheet of foil under the cheesecake and bake for 65 to75 minutes until center is mostly set. Keeping the cheesecake in the oven, turn off the heat and crack open the oven, using a dish towel to keep it open and leave set in oven for one hour. Remove from oven and cool completely or even overnight.

Lemon Glaze:

In a small pan over medium heat, stir together water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add Lemon Juice and bring to a boil. Once it is at a boil add cornstarch mixture and boil until very thick. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl carefully and put into an ice bath (Ice cubes and water around the bowl of lemon glaze in another bowl or pan. Pour the cooled glaze onto the top of the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Meringue Topping

Using a clean bowl and a hand mixer or a Stand Mixer with a whisk attachment, slowly start mixing egg whites. Add cream of tartar to eggs. Slowly increase speed and slowly add in sugar. Bring egg whites to a stiff peak, but do not over beat.

To assemble the Cheesecake, pour meringue on top of lemon glazed cheesecake, but just on top. Using a fork, create peaks on top of meringue all over. The more peaks, the prettier it will be. Place in a 400 degree oven 5-10 minutes until peaks are browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. 

Serve with coffee or iced tea. This is a refreshing dessert on a warm summer’s day.

Mark Marques is a graduate of the New York Restaurant School in New York City. He graduated with Top Honors. Mark has several years of experience in the Restaurant industry starting when he was kid working at his parent’s Italian Restaurant, Ducci’s, in Colorado. After serving in the US Navy, Mark attended culinary school and went onto work in some of the busiest eateries in the New York City, including in the Lincoln Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square,  the South Street Seaport and Pier 17. Mark has also run restaurants for Club Med as well in his current city of Las Vegas.  Please feel free to contact Mark at this newspaper with any questions concerning food, liquor, beer, wines, and cooking tips.

 

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