Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

I would like to take a moment to talk about my best friend Asian Gaga. I have known her for nearly 10 years and she is like the sister I never had, we are polar opposites when it comes to our interests and personalities but it works for us. She is bubbly, crazy and spontaneous and sometimes thinks she's Lady Gaga. (PLEASE woman, stop buying body suits!)

This year was the first year that we decided to be frugal and skip birthday/holiday presents and go out for awesome dinners instead. This makes my life easier since Asian Gaga tends to shop like a maniac and already has everything she ever wanted so it is very difficult coming up with a good present. But I still felt wrong not giving her something, so I told her to list her favourite desserts and I would surprise her with something. This is what she said: "Ok I like passionfruit, mango, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, biscuit based things like cheesecake and tarts, I like apple crumble. I like lemon meringue, I like mousse, I don’t like cream (fresh or whipped) . I love dark chocolate and I’ve always thought icing sugar was pretty."

Okay now that gave me far too many ideas to work with. I was pretty sure she would like a cheesecake, with either chocolate or fruit in it. I also knew she only liked non-baked cheesecakes, so I settled on making her a fruity, chilled cheesecake. I ended up modifying this unbaked lemon cheesecake from Exclusively Food, since she doesn't like whipped cream I came up with the idea of combining her love of cheesecakes with her affection for lemon meringue.

The result was a wonderfully light and zesty cake that I was extremely pleased with. Because it was chilled rather than baked, the texture of the cheesecake filling was silky smooth and not too rich or heavy. The slight crunch of the sweet meringue matched so well with the lemon in the cheesecake. The crust was incredibly moreish. And most importantly, I think that Asian Gaga was happy with her birthday cake:

Asian Gaga with her birthday cheesecake
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
(adapted from Exclusively Food recipe)
For the crust:
250g Nice biscuits (or any other plain sweet biscuit)
120g butter, melted

For the cheesecake filling:
125g cream cheese, softened
395g sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

For the meringue:
3 egg whites
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Use a food processor or blender to finely crush the biscuits. Combine the crushed biscuited with the melted butter. Firmly press the biscuit mixture into a 23cm diameter, 3cm deep flan pan or pie plate. I used the closest thing I could find, my Mum's quiche dish. Place dish in fridge while you prepare the cheesecake filling.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until completely smooth and creamy. Stop the machine occasionally and use a spatula to scrape down the side and the base of the bowl. With the mixer running, gradually drizzle in the condensed milk.

Add the lemon zest and juice and beat until combined. The mixture should thicken when the lemon juice is added. Pour mixture over your crust. Chill cheesecake in the fridge for at least an hour.

Pouring in the cheesy filling

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Beat eggwhites in a dry, clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the castor sugar and cream of tartar and beat until sugar is combined and the mixture is thick and glossy. Spread meringue mixture over the top of the cheesecake.

I may be too poor for a Kitchen Aid but I did manage to grab a good hand mixer that comes with an attachable stand and bowl and dough hooks for $35 from Aldi. *hearts Aldi*

Place in the oven for 5-8 minutes and the meringue is slightly browned on top. Allow to cool on bench and then refrigerate overnight. I was very happy with how my meringue, and the entire cake in general turned out, considering it was my first time working with meringue and with this recipe.

Happy Birthday to my bestest bestie, this post is dedicated to you :)
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  1. aww how sweet of you! another great creation there! maybe i'm going to steal you from asian gaga so that you can make me amazing treats ;) lol. j/K!!

  2. :D Thanks! Haha Asian Gaga may put up a fight!

  3. Fantastic idea combining a lemon meringue pie with a cheesecake! Stroke of genius really! :o

  4. That looks really divine! I love that last photo - could definitely entice me to lick the screen...

  5. Lorraine - haha thanks! i have a bad habit of trying to combine as many desserts into one

    Forager - Thank you :) Hehe it took some self-control to stop myself from having a taste of this cake before I gave it away!

  6. I think that's a lovely present! (at least you know it will be "used" :) I like how you've combined the lemon meringue with cheesecake - great idea!

  7. :) thanks! haha exactly, it didn't go to waste!

  8. OOhh I like the idea of meringue on cheescake better than lemon tart hee hee yummm! and I really like the look of your meringue :D
    Hee hee at least u got a hand mixer... I've considered making meringue but then I would need to hand-beat until peaks and that would be death 0_o

  9. :D thank you! I was proud that my meringue turned out okay considering it was my first time ever doing it. Ooh yeah hand beating is just too exhausting a prospect to consider, you would get some wicked biceps from it though hehehe!

  10. my meringue has turned out like a wet mixture after baking and refrigerating... is that supposed to happen?

  11. Anonymous - Oh dear :( No that's not supposed to happen! Did you cover the meringue with clingfilm perhaps? Best to not cover it and only put it in the fridge once the meringue is completely cool. The only other thing I can guess is maybe the eggwhites weren't whipped stiff enough? That's sad your meringue didnt turn out :(

  12. I am planning to make this for my dad's b'day tomorrow - he loves lemon meringue and this is a super easy variety. Wish me luck! Also, I love it how you do all your amazing stuff with a cheap hand mixer and only one cake tin :)

    1. Good luck, Happy Birthday to your Dad and I hope he likes it :) I've since upgraded to a fancy pants kitchenaid, but I still believe I could do everything with my trusty old hand mixer if I wanted to!


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