There was a time when I absolutely hated cheesecake and just looking at one would send me into a minor fit. My mom, always trying to expand our very limited Haitian biased taste palate, would introduce new cuisines to the family on a regular basis. Needless to say her attempts did not always succeed but her efforts of planting the seed of culinary adventure into our young minds were eventually rewarded and greatly appreciated.
After a 13-year boycott I finally broke down at a college held bake sale and got hooked after my first bite. Shortly after graduation I landed in paradise when I came across “The Joy of Cheesecake” by Dana Bovbjerg & Jeremy Iggers... then OD'd on them 10 years later.
Without giving away my age, it is now over 2 decades and I decided to bake a cheesecake for a bi-coastal feast my twin and I decided to throw celebrating our birthday via SKYPE. We literally spent hours talking “face to face” as we broke open a bottle of wine to toast our birthday as we ate our shrimp cocktail appetizer and prepared our preplanned dinner of salmon, potato, green veggie, and salad.
This is my recipe; the ingredients are an approximation since I did not really measure. I wanted something not too sweet nor creamy and ended with a somewhat dense cake reminisce of an Italian cheesecake.
Idel's Lemon Cheesecake
4 - 6
In food processor, combine and chop:
1/3 cup slivered raw almonds
1 tsp crystalized ginger
3 full cracker sheets Nabisco Honey Maid graham cookies
Add and mix in:
3 Tbsp melted butter
2 tsp dark brown sugar
dash of salt
Press crust mix into a small spring pan or into a parchment lined bottom and side small soufflé dish (I used a 5” one and created a handle to lift cake out of pan).
Preheat oven to 350°
8 oz Cream Cheese (room Temperature)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
Sift into creamed mixture and mix well:
3 Tbsp flour
Add and mix till smooth:
1/4 cup yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cognac
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 30-45 minutes till top layer forms a golden crust.
- Sour cream or yogurt mixed with sugar (optional) and lemon juice
- Place candied lemon and/or orange rinds with golden raisins (optional) on top of sour cream or yogurt mix
- Sprinkle some lemon zest for finishing touch