Guyssss. I’m so freaking excited that I can’t even stand it.
I made double lemon cheesecakes.
A while back, I made the decision to start making small-batch desserts. Mainly because I love baking and eating desserts, but I can’t fathom having the 8-10 servings (or more) in my house for just myself to eat. Because let’s be honest – my four year old isn’t eating desserts like that.
But let’s be honest again.
Especially if they are there.
And this cheesecake might be my new favorite. It’s creamy, flavorful, and every lemon-dessert lover’s dream. And it’s been scaled down to make just two adorable 4″ cheesecakes, which was the perfect finish to our Easter dinner. But really, it can be made anytime you want a special treat for just a couple people. With that being said, they are rather large portions. So, feel free to enjoy one of the cheesecakes and freeze the other (sans topping) for another day.
For this recipe, you’ll need a couple of 4-inch springform pans.
I must have had this whole “small-batch desserts” thing in mind for quite a while, because I had a pair of 4-inch springform pans, unused, from who knows how long ago, stored away in my baking cupboard.
But now that I’ve used them once, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop. I’ve been thinking of all the flavors I can make: maple, cookies and cream, German chocolate… you get the idea. I’m about to go cheesecake crazy.
Move over, Cheesecake Factory. I don’t need you anymore.
Especially because this recipe is easy. Super easy. The most difficult thing to do is the “water bath” (pictured above) and that’s not even hard to do. Just wrap your springform pans in some foil, making sure the foil comes up past the lip of the springform pans, place the covered springform pans into a larger baking dish (I used my 8″x8″ baking dish) and add hot water until the water reaches half way up the springform pans. Then, you’ll carefully move the whole thing to the oven to bake. This allows the cheesecakes to bake evenly and maintain their creamy texture, due to the steam created from the water.
So, I’m not saying that you need to jump on this whole “I can eat a new dessert every night because it only serves two” bandwagon. But I am saying you should probably make this. And if you need to serve more than two? Double it. Everyone gets their own personal cheesecake!
Talk about a win-win.
Double Lemon Cheesecake for Two
yields 2 (4 inch) mini cheesecakes, or 2-4 servings
- 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 package (8 oz.) Neufchâtel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
- 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. water
- a couple drops of yellow food coloring (optional)
Pull out all of the filling ingredients and set aside, allowing to come to room temperature while you prepare the crust.
for the crust:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the graham cracker crumbs and sugar into a small bowl. Mix together until fully incorporated. Add the melted butter and stir the graham cracker mixture until it resembles wet sand.
Divide the mixture between the two springform pans and press firmly into the bottom, and slightly up the sides, until there is a nice even layer.
Place the springform pans on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 8 minutes. Once done, remove, and reduce your oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
for the filling:
In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend the cream cheese until completely smooth. Then add the sugar, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and blend until combined.
Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Then, add the egg to the cheesecake mixture, blending on a low speed until just combined. You don’t want to overmix at this point in the event you add to much air into your cheesecake, causing it to puff up and then deflate.
Then, you want to wrap your springform pans with the foil and pour the filling, evenly, over the baked crusts. Place the springform pans into the a baking pan (such as an 8″x8″ pan) and pour hot water into the baking pan until the water comes to about halfway up the sides of the springform pans.
Bake at 300 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until the edges are set and the center is jiggly but not wet.
When cheesecakes are done, turn off the oven and crack the door, leaving the cheesecakes inside for an additional 5-10 minutes (this will help them from cracking). Remove the cheesecakes from the oven and continue to cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, place them in the refrigerator to allow them to chill for at least four hours, or overnight.
for the topping:
Combine the sugar and the cornstarch in a small saucepan. Gradually stir in the water and lemon juice until blended. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is clear and thickened (it should coat the back of a spoon). Add a couple drops of lemon food coloring, if you’re opting to use it, and mix together. Set aside and cool.
Prior to serving, spoon the lemon glaze on the cheesecakes. Refrigerate for an hour or until the glaze has firmed up a bit more.
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