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Rose's Alpha Bakers

TBB - Lemon Almond Cheesecake

Patricia Reitz

Lemon Almond Cheesecake - ButterYum

Lemon Almond Cheesecake - ButterYum

Welcome to the Alpha Bakers bake-a-long, an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared, but I will post my commentary followed by a full photo tutorial.  Feel free to visit my archive above for actual recipes and step-by-step photos for all kinds of things from main dishes to desserts, and everything in between.

This week's selection - Lemon Almond Cheesecake.  A light and airy, almost wet cheesecake.  It's so light it kind of falls apart as you eat it, despite containing a ton of egg yolks, cream cheese, and sour cream.  The recipe includes a cake layer that is used as a crust, but I omitted that component.  If you like traditional thick, heavy cheesecakes - you might not care for this one.

Special ingredients and/or equipment needed - stand mixer, coffee/spice grinder, 9-inch springform pan (or this special water-tight "push pan"), digital scale, citrus squeezer, microplane zester, fine mesh strainer, digital thermometer

Optional ingredients and/or equipment suggested - BeaterBlade attachment, pre-cut parchment circleTurbinado sugar, silicone coated whisk.

How does it taste - Remarkably light and airy-ish.  Flavor wise, I do not detect any almond, just lemon.  I must admit, I do not care for the bits of ground almond and lemon zest, and the texture is too wet for my liking, but family members didn't seem to mind.  The lemon curd glaze won me over.  It's a lovely cheesecake, but I'd rather make my favorite dense NYTimes Cheesecake or the scaled down version, these mini cheesecakes.

How does it look - Elegant.  I especially like the beautiful lemon curd glaze.     

Level of difficulty - I did not make the cake layer, but the cheesecake filling and lemon curd glaze were both quite easy.        

Were the directions clear - Again, I didn't make the cake base, but the cheesecake filling and lemon curd glaze directions were both pretty straight forward, although I would have liked the recipe to include what the internal cheesecake temp should have reached before turning the oven off.      

What would I do differently next time - Omit the ground almonds and almond extract because I didn't care for the texture of the ground almonds and I couldn't taste the almond extract at all so why waste 2 teaspoons worth?

Okay, here's my photo tutorial. 

Cream cheese, sour cream, egg yolks, turbinado sugar, toasted almonds, lemon zest, fine salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Cream cheese, sour cream, egg yolks, turbinado sugar, toasted almonds, lemon zest, fine salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

In a spice or coffee grinder, grind the toasted almonds with some of the turbinado sugar until the almonds are finely ground.  Set them aside for now.

In a spice or coffee grinder, grind the toasted almonds with some of the turbinado sugar until the almonds are finely ground.  Set them aside for now.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining turbinado sugar, salt, and cream cheese.  The directions specify using the wire whip attachment, but I always use a flat paddle or beaterblade attachment when I make cheesecake.  I find it incorporates less air than the whip.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining turbinado sugar, salt, and cream cheese.  The directions specify using the wire whip attachment, but I always use a flat paddle or beaterblade attachment when I make cheesecake.  I find it incorporates less air than the whip.

Time to add the egg yolks...

Time to add the egg yolks...

...and the lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice...

...and the lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice...

...pure lemon oil, pure vanilla extract, and pure almond extract.

...pure lemon oil, pure vanilla extract, and pure almond extract.

Mix, mix, mix.

Mix, mix, mix.

Time to add the ground almond mixture...

Time to add the ground almond mixture...

...and the lastly, the sour cream.

...and the lastly, the sour cream.

Since I opted to not make the cake base, I thought it would be better to use a 3-inch deep water-tight push pan or round cake pan instead of a springform pan because liquid has a tendency to leak out of the bottom of springform pans.  To ensure easy removal of my baked cheesecake, I sprayed my pan with Baker's Joy and lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

Since I opted to not make the cake base, I thought it would be better to use a 3-inch deep water-tight push pan or round cake pan instead of a springform pan because liquid has a tendency to leak out of the bottom of springform pans.  To ensure easy removal of my baked cheesecake, I sprayed my pan with Baker's Joy and lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

pour the batter into the prepared pan.

pour the batter into the prepared pan.

You can spread the batter evenly in the pan, but mine leveled itself without my help.  I did, however, bang the pan on the counter several times to help any air bubbles rise to the surface.

You can spread the batter evenly in the pan, but mine leveled itself without my help.  I did, however, bang the pan on the counter several times to help any air bubbles rise to the surface.

The pan is placed into a larger pan (be sure to wrap the smaller pan well with foil if you use a springform pan).  Fill the larger pan with about an inch of very hot water.

The pan is placed into a larger pan (be sure to wrap the smaller pan well with foil if you use a springform pan).  Fill the larger pan with about an inch of very hot water.

Bake as directed, the turn off the oven and cool for an hour without opening the oven door.  Then remove from the oven and cool on the counter for 1-2 hours =.  This will cool the cheesecake slowly, preventing it from cracking.  Chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours, but overnight is even better.  Cheesecakes will pick up off flavors from the fridge, so I place mine in an airtight container to chill. I unmolded the cheesecake and place it on a cardboard cake round.  If I were to do it again, I'd use a coated cardboard because the one I used was uncoated and it quickly became saturated with moisture from the cheesecake. 

Bake as directed, the turn off the oven and cool for an hour without opening the oven door.  Then remove from the oven and cool on the counter for 1-2 hours =.  This will cool the cheesecake slowly, preventing it from cracking.  Chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours, but overnight is even better.  Cheesecakes will pick up off flavors from the fridge, so I place mine in an airtight container to chill.

I unmolded the cheesecake and place it on a cardboard cake round.  If I were to do it again, I'd use a coated cardboard because the one I used was uncoated and it quickly became saturated with moisture from the cheesecake. 

To gild the lily, a tangy lemon curd glaze will be spread on top of the cheesecake.

To gild the lily, a tangy lemon curd glaze will be spread on top of the cheesecake.

The recipe for the glaze is small.  I made mine in a nonstick skillet.  I used a silicone whisk to protect my nonstick pan.  The curd took only a couple of minutes to make.

The recipe for the glaze is small.  I made mine in a nonstick skillet.  I used a silicone whisk to protect my nonstick pan.  The curd took only a couple of minutes to make.

Then I strained it and spread it on my cheesecake before it went into the fridge to chill.

Then I strained it and spread it on my cheesecake before it went into the fridge to chill.

Lemon Almond Cheesecake - ButterYum

Lemon Almond Cheesecake - ButterYum

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