Creamy Cheesecake with Carmelized Topping

Creamy Cheesecake with Carmelized Topping

Makes one (9") cake

Make the pastry in advance since it must be chilled; the bottom of the pan lined, baked, then cooled; walls of the pan also lined and chilled.

1/2 cup sugar
Peel of 1 small lemon, removed with small sharp knife
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour

5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Grated rind of 1 orange
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated cane sugar (for topping)

  1. For Pastry: Place sugar and lemon peel in the bowl of a food processor
    fitted with the metal blade. Process until lemon peel is very finely minced.
    Add butter, egg yolk and flour. Process just until mixture is the
    consistency of cornmeal.

  2. Carefully remove steel blade and turn pastry out onto waxed paper. Fold
    waxed paper around the crumbly dough and press together into a flat square.
    Refrigerate for one hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 400F. Remove the sides from a 9-inch springform pan.
    Butter the bottom and sides. Crumble 1/3 of the pastry dough over the bottom of the springform pan. Spread the small crumbs evenly. With a rolling pin, roll over the top of the pastry, then move the pin along the edges in a
    circular motion. Roll it well or it may puff when baked.

  4. Place on center rack of preheated oven and bake for about 4 minutes. Turn pan around 180° and cook for another 4 minutes, until pastry is evenly
    browned (the back of the oven is usually hotter than the front). Remove from
    oven and cool, leaving pastry bottom in pan.

  5. Roll out remaining dough in a large rectangle until 1/8-inch thick. This
    pastry is very crumbly, so it must be pressed out with the rolling pin, not
    “rolled.” Take heart, this pastry is not easy to work with but it is worth
    the effort. With a ruler, make marks across the width of the pastry that are
    3/4 the depth of the springform pan side (1 7/8-inch for most 9-inch pans).
    Then, use the ruler to guide the cutting of the 1 7/8-inch strips. Cut the
    length of the strips to the length of a pancake turner. Turn the springform
    on its side and lift the strips with the turner. Fit them snugly to the
    bottom of the pan sides. Gently but firmly press the strips to the buttered
    sides, and together. Refrigerate.

  6. For Filling: Place cheese, sugar, flour, rinds and vanilla in the bowl of
    an electric mixer. Beat until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the eggs and
    yolks one at a time. Finally, beat in the cream.

  7. Reassemble the pastry-lined springform pan. Pour in the filling and bake
    for 10 minutes on the center rack of a preheated 550F oven. Reduce heat to
    200F and continue baking for 1 hour.

  8. Remove cake from oven. Cool on a wire rack until absolutely cold. Release
    sides of pan. If necessary, run a spatula around the pan to loosen pastry.
    Lift the cheesecake to a serving platter (don’t remove pan bottom).

To serve, unmold the cheesecake. Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar over the surface and using a kitchen torch, move flame continuously in small circles over surface until sugar melts and browns.