Vibrant lemony hues, complimented by the pure white meringue and cheesecake layers. This lemon meringue cheesecake is creamy, extremely lemony, and oh so dreamy… a showstopper in my books!
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Easter is right around the corner, and spring is in full swing! Although, this recipe is a bit labor intensive, and takes some time, it is worth every second. I could not think of a better dessert to serve with Easter dinner!
The graham cracker crust is the first (or bottom) layer of this lemon meringue cheesecake. A sweet crumbly mixture, resembling wet sand is firmly pressed into a spring form pan. Don’t have a spring form pan? A deep 9″ pie plate will work too! If you are using a pie plate, press the graham crumbs up the sides of the pie plate.
If you are in the market for a spring form pan, see my recommendation below!
Pro tip: Use the bottom of a glass to firmly press the graham cracker crust into the pie plate. It wont stick to the bottom of the glass and it will make your life SO MUCH EASIER! ?
Arguably my favorite layer of this Lemon Meringue Cheesecake! A simple and straight forward cheesecake recipe fills this layer, with the added kick of some extra lemon zest, of course!
Lemon Curd from scratch can be intimidating. I get it, I was once terrified that I would mess it up immediately and wind up with scrambled eggs in lemon juice. But let me be the first to tell you, it is not that hard. The key is whisking all of the ingredients together cold, before the heat is added! Once you start to heat the lemon curd mixture, whisk, and do not stop. Continue whisking for 15-20 minutes until the lemon curd is thickened and smooth. You get a bonus arm workout in this step, but seriously, you need to whisk/stir the mixture the whole time.
Once the lemon curd is cooled and carefully poured over top of the cheesecake layer. Grab a spoon, scrape out every last morsel from the bowl, and eat it, because it is DELICIOUS!!!
The meringue is a airy, pillow-y, dreamy, and sticky layer! If you are using a spring form pan, I would suggest keeping the meringue away from the sides. Because when you release the pan, the meringue will likely go with it. If your meringue does get stuck to the sides, before you release the spring, run a knife under hot water and glide it carefully around the edges to release the meringue, repeat as necessary.
Spring Form Pan
If you are wanting to invest in a spring form pan, I would highly recommend it! I resisted for years, just getting by with my standard pie plates. When I finally bought one for myself, I could not have been happier. In my opinion it just makes the presentation of cheesecake so much prettier and clean. This is the one that I use, and I love the easy smooth release and how easy it is to clean! I love it mainly because virtually nothing sticks to it, except meringue… but meringue sticks to everything! LOL
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Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
- 2 ¼ cups Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 1/3 cup Butter, Melted
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- Kosher Salt, pinch
- 2- 8 oz packages Cream Cheese
- 2 Large Eggs
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Zest of one Lemon, approx. 1 Tablespoon
Zesty Lemon Curd
- 1 ½ cups Sugar
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- 3 Lemons, juiced approx. ¾ cup
- ½ cup Butter, melted
- 1 Large Egg
- 3 Egg Yolks, whites reserved
- 3 Egg Whites
- ¼ cup Sugar
What you will need
- – 9” Spring form Pan or deep Pie Plate *NOTE- If you are using a spring form pan, I highly recommend cutting a thin strip of parchment paper and placing it on the inside edges of the pan, this will ensure that none of the lemon curd, cheesecake, or meringue will stick to the edges of the spring form pan.
- – Glass with a flat bottom
- – Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
- – Whisk
- – Saucepan, mixing bowls, baking sheet
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a medium sized bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt. Mix with a fork until the mixture resembles kind of like a wet sand texture.
- Pour the mixture into your spring form pan or deep pie plate. Use the bottom of a glass to evenly flatten out the graham cracker crust.
- * if you are using a spring form pan, place it on a baking sheet prior to baking. This will catch any of the butter that may leak out.
- Bake for 5 minutes and set aside to cool
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add both bricks of cream cheese. Beat on medium/high until cream cheese is softened. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well to fully incorporate after each addition.
- Once the eggs are fully combined add the sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Beat the batter on high speed until smooth and no clumps remain.
- Pour cheesecake batter into prebaked crust and bake for 30 – 35 minutes. The center should be slightly wobbly, but still sturdy, and the top should be just beginning to brown. Remove cheesecake from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
Zesty Lemon Curd
- In a medium sized sauce pan combine the sugar and the lemon zest. Using a whisk, stir to fully combine the sugar and lemon zest. Add the lemon juice, butter, egg, and egg yolks. Whisk lemon curd until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Over medium – low heat, stirring consistently with the whisk, bring the mixture to a boil. It is very important that you do not stop whisking/stirring during this time. If you do, the eggs could separate, and you might end up with scrambled eggs inside lemon juice.
- Once the lemon curd is boiling STOP WHISKING. Let the lemon curd boil untouched for 8 minutes. You will notice the mixture getting thicker the longer it boils. The mixture will also thicken as it cools.
- After 8 minutes of uninterrupted boiling, remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool slightly before pouring it over your cheesecake layer.
- Very carefully and gently pour all of the lemon curd mixture over the top of your cheesecake.
- Chill for a minimum of 2 hours before moving onto the next steps.
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, in a large bowl, add all of the egg whites. Whisk on high speed until eggs are frothy, white, and soft peaks begin to form.
- Turn the mixer down to medium speed and slowly add the sugar. Once all the sugar is added, return the mixer to high speed for a few minutes until firm peaks form.
- Scoop the meringue over top of the lemon curd and use the back of a spoon to create the iconic peaks.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the peaks turn a nice golden-brown colour.
- Chill the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake for a minimum of 1 ½ hours before releasing the spring form pan, or serving.