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Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Words & Brush Recipe Corner: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
BASE (see notes for alternative base) 1 cup plain flour 1/2 cup ground coconut 100 grams butter, melted 1/2 cup light brown sugar Generous pinch salt (preferably Maldon)
FILLING 500 grams cream cheese* 2/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 2 tablespoons custard powder** 1 teaspoon vanilla essence 3 eggs, separated 1/3 cup extra sugar for meringue topping
* Can substitute with 5% or 9% white cheese but in this case add 1/3 cup cream too for richness. ** If you don't have custard powder then replace with cornflour and increase vanilla to 2 teaspoons.
1: Preheat oven to 180°C to prepare base. Place the flour, coconut, butter, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix to combine. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture into the base and up the sides of a lightly greased 22 - 24 cm round tin, and bake for 15 minutes.
2: Place cheese and sugar in a deep bowl, whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest, custard powder/cornflour, and vanilla and stir well. Lastly add the egg yolks only - see notes - and stir till smooth.
3: Turn the oven down to 160 C. Pour mixture onto prepared base then bake at 160 C for approximately 40 minutes until just set on top.
4: Beat the egg whites till frothy then beat in the extra sugar to make meringue. Spoon over the top of the just-set cheesecake, creating height and points with a fork, and cook at 200 C for just a few minutes till just golden and peaks are lightly browning. Watch it here as you don't want to burn.
5: Allow to cool and set completely before serving.
NOTES: This is ideally best served on the day it's made to avoid the meringue topping weeping. You can always make the cheesecake ahead of time, refrigerating the egg white, and only do the meringue topping on the day of serving. It's still perfectly delicious if made ahead and refrigerated a day or two in advance. Alternatively leave out the meringue topping if you choose and use whole eggs in the cheesecake instead of separately. Fabulous this way too though not quite as impressive-looking. Crushed digestive biscuits make a wonderful base mixed with melted butter. A mixture of crushed Petite Beurre and Lotus could be used for the base too but don't use only Petite Beurre as they are very powdery. Bake cookie crumb bases for 15 minutes too before adding filling to prevent the base getting soggy.
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