Any day now, season. It’s Easter, and that should bring to mind rabbits jumping and fleetness of foot. Here’s a bribe, too, in the form of a Raspberry and Lemon Cheesecake made specifically for Easter. Just look at those bright colors, and think of the tangy, creamy sweetness. That should motivate you.
The advertisement for Philadelphia Cream Cheese certainly motivated this site to attempt the recipe described therein. It’s rare, though not unprecedented, for an ad to join the company of cookbooks, websites and magazine articles inspiring culinary creation. It happens, though, only when the potential reward is great, and in this case it is.
Think of brightly vibrant raspberries and lemons, and of the joyous sunniness they bring, and foretell. Now, set those glistening gems amidst a velvety smooth cheesecake and you have the perfect dessert for Easter, and for spring. (That’s a hint, Jerome).
Truth is, fresh raspberries won’t grace our markets for several weeks yet, though the frozen variety will fill in quite nicely here. Was that a gasp? Every once in a while, an ingredient wins a concession from the only-fresh-and-scratch-made orthodoxy, and this is just such a moment. Especially when those raspberries make a jelly as the cheesecake bakes, creating swirls of sublime rapture throughout.
By the bye, the original instructions were formulated for cheesecake bars, though it’s been updated below to make a more traditional cake. Seemed more fitting for Easter. Besides, the cheesecake will be sliced for service anyway. Unless it’s your idea to eat the whole thing straight from the pan. After one bite, that very well may happen. It’ll be cheerful springtime for your mouth, even if the outdoors are a little slow on the uptake.
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, sugar, divided
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 cups (12 ounces) raspberries, thawed if frozen, and divided (*1)
- 1 tablespoon each, zest and juice from a lemon (*2)
- 4 packages cream cheese, softened
- 4 eggs
Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a 9-inch round cooking pan with parchment paper, being sure to let a few inches hang over the edges at various points. Spritz lightly with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, two tablespoons of the sugar and the meted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for ten minutes.
Reserve for later use the dozen nicest-looking of the raspberries. (*3)
Put the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and remaining sugar in a stand-mixer bowl and cream them together. Lower the motor speed to low and mix in the eggs, one at a time, until just blended.
Remove mixer bowl and gently fold in the remaining raspberries – loosely. You want swirls and pockets, and not an overmixed blandness. Pour mixer bowl contents into the baking pan, over the bottom crust.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the center is nearly (but not quite!) set. Cool completely.
Refrigerate for four hours. Then, grasp from opposing ends the parchment paper you let hang over the pan and lift out the cake in one smooth action. Remove and discard the paper.
Slice as needed and garnish with the raspberries you reserved and, if you’re feeling fancy, thinly-sliced lemon.
1 – If you’re making this, like, right now, frozen berries are the only option. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere (a few of you are), or if you’ve waited until summer to try this, you have access to fresh berries. I’m jealous.
2 – Use a Meyer lemon if you think of it. They’re sweeter, milder and are more vibrant than are standard lemons.
3 – Isn’t that always the way? No matter; the “nicest looking” get devoured too!