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The ultimate lemon cheesecake recipe

The ultimate lemon cheesecake recipe
The Dutch Frontier's lemon cheesecake. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

This one is for all you lemon and cheesecake fans out there. Not overly sweet, with just the right amount of tang, this dessert is a dream come true, from the crust to the filling. A rich lemon custard is beaten with cream cheese to make the filling, then baked in a crust made with lemon sandwich cookies rather than traditional graham crackers. Add a dollop of whipped cream to take each slice over the top.

THE DUTCH FRONTIER'S LEMON CHEESECAKE

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Total time: 3 hours, 20 minutes, plus at least 3 hours chilling time | Serves 12 to 16

CRUST

24 lemon sandwich cookies, crushed (vanilla cookies with a lemon filling, similar to Oreos)

2 tablespoons melted butter

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Finely mash together the cookies (with filling) and butter using a food processor or by hand in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into a 10-inch springform pan, smoothing it on the bottom and up the sides of the pan to form a crust. Bake 10 minutes to set the crust, then set aside to cool.

LEMON FILLING

1/2 cup sugar

2 generous tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup water

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel (from 3 to 4 lemons)

Lemon juice from 3 to 4 lemons

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch, then whisk in the water. Continue to whisk over high heat until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, then continue to whisk for 15 to 20 seconds before removing from heat. Whisk in the egg yolk, then return to heat and whisk for 10 to 15 seconds to set the custard. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon peel and enough juice to give the filling a thick, pourable consistency. Set aside to cool.

CHEESECAKE

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4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

Prepared lemon filling, divided

Prepared crust

Whipped cream, to garnish

1. Beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, then beat in 2 tablespoons prepared lemon filling until smooth and creamy. Pour into the prepared pan. Drizzle a tablespoon of lemon filling over the top and, using the tip of a knife, zigzag across the top for effect.

2. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes (the pie will still be jiggly), then, with the pie still in the oven, turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar for 2 hours after baking to finish setting up. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

3. Place the remaining filling in a pastry bag or food-safe plastic bag (snip the top before using). Serve the slices drizzled with extra lemon filling and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Each of 16 servings (without whipped cream): Calories 394; Protein 5 grams; Carbohydrates 39 grams; Fiber 0; Fat 25 grams; Saturated fat 13 grams; Cholesterol 113 mg; Sugar 33 grams; Sodium 241 mg

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