Lemon Curd Cheesecake – A Bake Ahead Holiday Dessert

The tricks to making a successful cheesecake are simple.  They also make sense when you understand the reason behind them.

Lemon Curd Cheesecakes

Eggs, a major component of cheesecakes, don’t like to be heated quickly or subject to high heat.  Instead they like to be handled gently and with a little tender loving care.  They freak out when the heat is too fast or too high, curdling or puffing up, both of which we don’t want in a cheesecake.  This is why having all ingredients at room temperature to begin with helps.  Another trick is some sort of water – either in the form of steam or a water bath, to mitigate the formation of a crust and to gentle the heat.  Lastly, letting the cheesecake cool down in the oven helps gentle the change in heat and prevents those craters we don’t want to see in our cheesecakes.

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

The recipes that ran in the Portland Press Herald today, Vanilla Cheesecake and Lemon Curd Cheesecake, are both favorites in our family.  There I also write about how to freeze and thaw cheesecakes, making them a perfect make-ahead dessert.  The Lemon Curd Cheesecake has been a holiday dessert for years, appeasing those who are done with the chocolate overload.

Annie
Happy baking!

Cook the Book – Bourbon Street Bread Pudding

Bourbon Street Bread Pudding

This is one of my favorites – and I don’t even like bread pudding!

Pudding:
Day-old French bread, sliced 1-inch thick, enough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch square pan.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
Dash of cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup raisins

Bourbon Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
Dash of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup water
1/4 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Arrange the sliced bread in one layer in the bottom of the pan.  If there are large gaps cut some pieces to fit. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, cream, cinnamon, vanilla and raisins and mix well. Pour the mixture over the bread and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Turn the bread over and let stand another 10 minutes. Cover the pan with foil and place it in a larger pan filled halfway with warm tap water.  Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  The custard should still be soft when done. Remove the pudding from the oven and the water bath and allow it to cool a few minutes. While the pudding is cooling, combine all the sauce ingredients except for the bourbon in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil until the sauce has thickened so it coats the back of a spoon.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the bourbon.  Keep warm. Cut the pudding into squares and serve with the warm sauce.

Makes 9 servings