This Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is made with a rich and creamy lemon cheesecake base topped with a tart lemon curd and fluffy meringue. If you’re looking for the ultimate lemon dessert, look no further!
Post Updated: 08/15/19
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Note: Today is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, so I’ve decided to update some of my Lemon Meringue recipes, starting with this beautiful Lemon Meringue Cheesecake!!!
It’s Lemon Meringue week here at Queenslee Appétit! A few days ago I shared my Lemon Meringue Sugar Cookie Sandwiches recipe, which were so AMAZING it made me fall completely in love with lemon meringue desserts! This recipe has all the best parts of a classic lemon meringue pie and the creamy richness of a cheesecake. Win-Win!
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
This cheesecake is heaven for a lemon meringue lover! A perfect, buttery graham cracker crust, a thick and creamy cheesecake filling loaded with lemon flavour, the best lemon curd and a super fluffy toasted meringue topping! I so wish I still had some leftover — I’m drooling just thinking about it!
Man, oh man, this cheesecake. Did you know this was the first cheesecake recipe I had ever developed? I was so nervous back then, I was sure it was gonna fail miserably. Soggy crust, cracked, dry cheesecake, soupy meringue, I expected everything to go wrong.
But then I bit the bullet and just made it, using every single cheesecake tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout my years of amateur baking and I SUCCEEDED! The cheesecake turned out amazing, both in taste and appearance. And that’s when I realized that cheesecake is a billion times easier to make than I thought it was.
So although making cheesecake for the first time may seem intimidating, it’s actually one of the easiest desserts you can make! It doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or preparation, although it does take a long time to bake and an even longer time to chill. Ugh. But once you get that first bite of silky cheesecake bliss, it’ll be totally worth it!
Graham Cracker Crust or Vanilla Wafer Crust?
Ok so let’s get into this crazy delicious cheesecake! Starting with the crust, when I initially made this cheesecake 2 years ago, I made an all vanilla wafer crust. I totally would’ve used Vanilla Wafers again, but I was far too lazy to travel across the city to buy some, especially since I already had graham crackers at home.
But if you can, go ahead and use vanilla wafers in the crust. Those cookies are super addictive, and I could finish an entire box on my own, so just imagine how incredible they would taste at the bottom of a decadent cheesecake?!
Don’t get me wrong, though, I love the graham cracker crust too! And since lemon meringue pies usually have a graham cracker crust, I think it’s necessary to use graham crackers. Though if you wanna kick things up a notch, you can use half graham crackers and half vanilla wafers for the ultimate crust! Oooh Lala!
When adding the crust to the pan, you’ll need to use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to press it into the bottom. This will flatten the bottom and push all the excess crumbs to the sides. Use the sides of the glass or measuring cup to create a wall of crust around the sides. The top edges of the crust will be crumbly, so make sure you use your fingers to lightly flatten it down.
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
The texture of the cheesecake is incredibly velvety! You’ll need to use full-fat cream cheese, no healthier substitutions over here, sorry not sorry. I also used sour cream to add a ton of flavour and extra creaminess to the cheesecake.
We also need to add some cornstarch, which is a key ingredient that should prevent the cheesecake from cracking. Spoiler alert: my cheesecake cracked, but for an entirely different reason I’ll explain soon.
To add the lemon flavour to this lemon cheesecake, I added some lemon zest and lemon juice. Make sure you use fresh lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest. The zest should be fine enough to melt in your mouth, you don’t wanna be spitting out chunks of lemon peel after each bite.
Woo hoo, crust done, filling done, now it’s time to bake the cheesecake in a waterbath! Everyone loves this part, right? I sure didn’t when I first made this cheesecake, because, as I mentioned in the original post, the water leaked into my crust!! And that wasn’t even the first time it had happened, it happened every time I made a cheesecake before then.
Now, 2 years later, I confidently bake my cheesecakes in waterbaths because I found the ultimate solution to prevent water from ever sneaking into your crust ever again!
That’s right, a POT!! Just find a pot slightly bigger than your springform pan, place that pot in a bigger pan where you’ll pour in the boiling water. Water has never found it’s way into my crusts since!
When the cheesecake has finished baking, allow it to cool in the turned off oven for an hour. This slows down the cooling process which also helps prevent cracking. Remember when I mentioned that my cheesecake cracked? Well that’s because I took it out of the oven and put it straight into the refrigerator, because it was 5am and I had 0 interest in staying up for another hour waiting for this cheesecake to cool.
But the point is, I didn’t allow my cheesecake to slowly cool to room temperature like I usually do, and since it was still hot when I put it in the refrigerator, science happened and it left a decent sized crack in my cheesecake.
This should’ve disheartened me, but I felt nothing since I knew I would be covering it all up anyways!
Lemon Curd Topping
Yum, yum, yum! I love this lemon curd so much, I could eat it with a spoon, heck I HAVE ate it with a spoon! It’s that good.
You’re gonna have to go over to my Perfect Lemon Curd recipe and make a batch while the cheesecake is cooling. Then let the curd cool to room temperature before spreading on top of the cheesecake. You can also whip up the curd a few days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
The lemon curd really adds a lot to this cheesecake. It’s decadent, smooth and a perfect addition to an already fantastic dessert. I think this cheesecake would be amazing with just the lemon curd alone, but today is Lemon Meringue Day so we gotta add meringue of course!
Fluffy Meringue Topping
Oh my God, I’m in love with meringue! Who knew egg whites and sugar could be so darn tasty when combined?
This meringue is made differently from your classic lemon meringue pie topping. For lemon meringue toppings, you need to whip up the egg whites with a bit of sugar, spread it on top of the pie, then bake it in the oven.
For this recipe, I heated the egg whites and sugar over a pot of simmering water while whisking constantly until the egg whites reached a safe temperature. You can use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature of the egg whites, or you can test it by rubbing the egg white mixture between your fingers.
You will know it’s ready when the sugar is completely dissolved. Then you want to whip up the hot sugary egg whites in a stand or hand mixer for a few minutes until it becomes a white, fluffy, cloud-like meringue!
The piping design I used was inspired by Passion For Baking. To re-create her design, I transferred the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and piped a swirl starting from the centre and working my way out to the edge. I then piped beautiful rosettes in the centre and around the edges. You could do any piping design want, or you could just pile all of the meringue on top of the cheesecake like you would with a regular lemon meringue pie.
Instead of baking the meringue, I toasted it with a kitchen torch. The toasted meringue topping makes this cheesecake look absolutely gorgeous! It also brings out the details in the piped design, I love it!
If lemon meringue pie is one of your dessert obsessions, you must try this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake! Even if it isn’t, you should still give it a try. Trust me, I’m not the biggest lemon fan in the world, yet I can still admit this is one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever made!
Did you make this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake? Let me know how they turned out in the comments below! And don’t forget to leave a rating!
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Craving More Lemon Meringue Desserts? Check these out:
These Lemon Meringue Sugar Cookie Sandwiches are made with a soft and chewy lemon sugar cookie and a ring of toasted meringue that is filled with creamy lemon curd. The perfect dessert for Summer!
These Mini Lemon Meringue Cheesecakes are incredibly delicious and full of fresh lemon flavour!
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Let’s get baking!
- 2 and 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (can substitute vanilla wafer crumbs if you prefer)
- 3 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
- 3 (8-ounce) packages (1 and 1/2 pounds) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (or 3 Tbsp all purpose flour)
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp finely grated Lemon zest
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 recipe of my Perfect Lemon Curd
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Crust:
- Place the oven rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 325℉. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment rounds and grease the sides with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Transfer graham cracker crumbs to a medium bowl and mix in 3 tablespoons of sugar.
- Add the melted butter and use a fork to coat the crumbs completely until it begins to resemble wet sand. The mixture should be able to clump together when you squeeze it in your hands. If you find that the crumbs are not coming together, simply add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it holds together.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared springform pan and use the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Bake the crust until it is slightly darkened, 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 300℉ (150℃).
- Take 1 extra large piece of aluminum foil that’s bigger than your springform pan. Place springform pan in the centre and fold aluminum up to the sides to cover the outside of the pan. This ensures that no water seeps into the pan during the water bath. Alternatively, I placed my pan in a slightly larger pot to completely protect my crust from the water. Allow the crust to cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
For the Lemon Cheesecake:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch OR flour on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add sour cream, lemon zest and lemon juice and continue beating until smooth.
- Add eggs and yolk one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined, do not overbeat. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.
- Pour the cheesecake into the cooled crust and place the springform pan into a larger pan. Bring a few cups of water to a boil, then carefully pour the boiling water into the larger pan until the water is a few inches up the bottom.
- Carefully place the cheesecake in the oven and bake at 300°F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the edges are set and the center jiggles just slightly.
- Turn off oven and leave the cheesecake to cool for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, crack the door open and continue cooling the cheesecake for another 30 minutes. This helps prevent cracking.
- After an hour, remove cheesecake from waterbath and aluminum foil. Run a knife around the edge of the pan so it's not sticking to the sides and allow to cool completely on a rack.
- Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap, placing the plastic directly on top of the cheesecake so it doesn't sweat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or preferably overnight. While cheesecake is cooling, make one recipe of my Perfect Lemon Curd and spread on top of the cheesecake, then return to the refrigerator to continue chilling.
For the Meringue Topping:
- Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, turn heat to low so the water doesn't begin to boil.
- Add egg whites and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large stainless steal or glass bowl. Place bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm (140℉). To test this without a thermometer: rub the mixture between two fingers. If it doesn't feel grainy, the sugar is dissolved and can be removed from the heat. If you still feel grains, continue whisking and testing until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Move bowl to a stand mixer, or using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until frothy, about 1 minute.
- Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until the frosting is thick and glossy, 5-6 minutes.
- Add vanilla and mix until combined.
Assembly of the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake:
- Once the cheesecake is completely chilled, gently remove the springform pan ring. Spread chilled lemon curd on top of the cheesecake.
- Transfer meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe a large swirl, starting from the inside and working your way out to the edge. Pipe rosettes in the centre and around the edge of the swirl.
- Using a kitchen torch, lightly toast the meringue topping. Slice and serve!
- Cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
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KitchenAid KSM155GBAZ 5-Qt. Artisan Design Series with Glass Bowl - Azure Blue
Ateco Plastic Coated Decorating Bag, 18-Inch
Wilton 402-2110 1M Open Star Piping Tip
Utopia Kitchen 2 Quart Nonstick Saucepan with Glass Lid - Induction Bottom - Multipurpose Use for Home Kitchen or Restaurant
Hiware 9 Inch Non-stick Cheesecake Pan Springform Pan with Removable Bottom/Leakproof Cake Pan Bakeware with Cleaning Cloth
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