Cinnamon Lemon Cheesecake

The first time I ever tried cheesecake was in Calgary, Canada. My cousin introduced me to what is now my absolute favourite dessert when I was visiting her for the summer many moons ago (almost 12 years to be exact!) She took me to The Cheesecake Cafe. I will never forget that huge slice of chocolate cheesecake and all the ideas that were running through my head about how I could take some back with me to London!

I’ve only attempted a few cheesecakes since in my cooking life: strawberry cheesecake; white chocolate and mango cheesecake; and today, the cinnamon lemon cheesecake from the BBC’s Good Food Middle East magazine (Oct ’11).

Cinammon Lemon Cheesecake

This recipe is by Farah Sawaf of Cooking With a Manicure.The “About Us” section there made me smile. Some parts were extremeley familiar:

“…My post-graduation world was focused on finding a job that I love, meeting the man of my dreams and looking for my place in this crazy world. I had insane weeks where the pressure of strict work deadlines mixed in with family and social obligations left no time for me, let alone cooking. So what happened? How did a career woman switch into an unyielding foodie?… In short: Marriage.”

Super cute website, do check it out.

The thing I liked about this recipe straight away was how few steps were involved… The ingredients list is a bit long, but you literally pop everything into your food processor and you’re done! Also, I was expecting quite a strong flavour, but was surprised at how delicately the lemon and cinnamon came through.

Fresh lemons

I’m going to take this opportunity to show off the SACK of fresh lemons my father-in-law brought us from his dairy farm!

I was short on cream cheese so I could only make half the amount in the recipe (but the full amounts are written up below). On top of that, I think the pan I used was too big for the amount I was making, so it was a very thin cheesecake, unfortunately. I would definitley suggest making the full amount.

Ingredients

Bottom crust:
20 digestive biscuits
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter

Filling:
x2 200g packages of cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain yoghurt (see my note below about how I used this)
1 egg
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
black pepper to garnish

Instead of using the yoghurt as it was, the first thing I did was pour it onto a muslin cloth, which I placed on top of a sieve with a bowl underneath. I waited approximately half an hour for most of the whey to seperate from the yoghurt, till I was left with this:

Curd cheese

Thick, curd cheese, very similar in texture to cream cheese

Blend the digestive biscuits in a food processor, slowly mixing in the butter. Take the mixture out, and press down firmly into your buttered tin.

A few words about my pan: my loose bottom cake tin is tucked away in a kitchen cupboard in London 😦 So I made do with the regular cake tin I had, by lining it with parchment paper. This is NOT ideal and it was very difficult to take the cake out without it breaking all over the place! Cheesecake recipes always suggest using a loose bottom tin, so if you try this recipe and have one to hand, go with that.

Anyway, rinse the food processor bowl and throw in your cream cheese, sugar, yoghurt, egg, flour, lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix it all up and pour carefully onto the prepared base.

Bake for 35-40 mins at 170 C (340 F) then let it cool before putting in the fridge for at least an hour. Before you serve it, sprinkle over some freshly ground black pepper and lemon zest.

Cinnamon Lemon Cheesecake

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