Friday, January 27, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Easy Lemon Cheesecake with Berry Topping

From Paris Pastry

This recipe is based upon the Nigella Lawson recipe for No-Fuss Fruit Tart.  I increased the butter slightly because I thought the crumbs were too loose with only six tablespoons, and I substituted mascarpone cheese for half of the cream cheese because I happened to have it on hand.  Try to find a really good quality bottled lemon curd without food coloring added (that artificial color is just too bright!).  You can serve this with fresh berries as pictured, but I decided to try a cooked berry sauce since it is winter and good fresh berries are not always available.  I did not drain the liquid off of the thawed berries because I wanted the extra flavor, but be aware that this will greatly increase the cooking time as you will need to boil off a lot of the water to get the right consistency.  If you prefer, leave the cornstarch out of the berry topping and serve it as a sauce on the side rather than as a topping.  This recipe is absolutely delicious!  I am not much of a cheesecake fan because most of them have so much cream cheese that they are too dense and heavy, but this one is light and tasty, with just enough tartness from the berries and lemon to balance out its sweetness.  It is also perfect for entertaining, and will easily serve dinner party guests with enough left over for those who want seconds!

Easy Lemon Cheesecake with Berry Topping

3 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
8 oz. lemon curd
8 oz. currant or other fruit jelly
3 C. frozen mixed berries, thawed
1 tsp. cornstarch

Combine the crumbs and butter.  Press into the sides and bottom of a 10-inch fluted tart pan.  Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.  Combine the cheeses and lemon curd until smooth.  Pour into the crumb crust and refrigerate at least four hours until firm and set.  Melt half of the jelly in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat.  Stir in the berries and their juice, increase the heat, and cook at a gentle boil for about 15 minutes.  Add the rest of the jelly and continue cooking for another 20 minutes.  Make a paste of the cornstarch with a little water and add to the berries.  Cook until thickened.  Cool, then spread the topping over the cheesecake.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.  Serves 8-10.

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