Charli's Lemon Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake
Lemon Zest Cream:
3 medium lemons, washed and dried
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup graham cracker crumbs - 7 or 8 crackers
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 pint fresh raspberries
5 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons water
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice; from the 3 lemons
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
mint leaves (optional)
fresh raspberries (optional)
Remove the zest from the lemons with a zester. Reserve the lemons for later, leaving them out at room temperature, and put the zest in a small saucepan. Add the cream to the zest and heat just until the cream starts to bubble, watch the pan carefully, since cream goes from bubbling to overflowing in a split second. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and steep for 45 minutes.
Crust: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Stir in the butter until the mixture is uniformly moistened. With the bottom of a glass, press the crumbs into the bottom of
a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust for 4 to 8 minutes, until it is barely browned at the edges. Let it cool.
Raspberry Sauce: Combine the raspberries and confectioners' sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the berries are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and puree it. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl and discard the seeds.
When the zest/cream mixture has steeped for 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 500ºF.
Cheesecake: Using a stand mixer or a powerful hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese at low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until smooth, scraping down the bowl regularly. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the eggs one at a time. Then beat in the flour. Finally, strain the lemon zest cream from the first step and add the cream, beating until the mixture is smooth and uniform.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Spoon 4 to 5 teaspoons of raspberry sauce, a teaspoon at a time, onto the batter. Lightly draw a knife through batter to swirl.
Add 1 tablespoon water to remaining sauce, mix well and refrigerate.
Place the pan on a baking sheet to catch any leaks, and bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200ºF and bake the cheesecake for another 10 to 20 minutes, until it is light brown on top, cracked, and just barely set in the center. Cool the cheesecake on a rack until it is slightly warm to the touch, then prepare the glaze.
Glaze: Juice the reserved 3 lemons and strain the juice to remove any pulp and seeds. Measure out 1/2 cup of the juice (if you don't have 1/2 cup, add enough water to make 1/2 cup).
Put the cornstarch in a saucepan and whisk in the lemon juice. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens to the consistency of pudding, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. While the glaze is till hot, spread it evenly over the cooled cheesecake.
Cover the cheesecake and chill it thoroughly before serving. When serving, drizzle a small amount of reserved raspberry sauce over each piece and garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.