Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Our love story, cliff notes version. Inspired by the NY Times Tiny Love Stories series, a challenge to share love stories in 100 words or less.
It started with a walk around the lake, after someone nonchalantly asked someone for directions, which we parted shortly after with all the uncertainty of young love. Fast forward 8 years, 5 states, 3 time zones, wedding vows, and a fox This week we celebrate the last birthday apart, the last time we go weeks without seeing each other, and the last time we drop rent checks separately. Having one family under the same state, city, and roof ... for the first time.
Happy Birthday to my love. He texted me a picture of a Lemon Meringue Cheesecake and said, "I want this for my birthday!" I combined several recipes including one adapted from Allrecipes
I was super excited to finally use my brand new culinary torch for this recipe. This recipe is labor intensive just because of all the different parts, but you can make it much easier by using store bought lemon curd and topping it with whipped cream instead of making meringue.
I told B I wouldn't make this recipe again because of the work. He was terribly disappointed since he loved it so much. 

B: What! You won't make it anymore?? But it's so good.
Me: It's too much work to make it again
B:  Just wait til next year - I'll pick an even harder, more complicated recipe to do, and you'll wish you had just remade this cheesecake recipe again!
Making this cheesecake -  that's what you call true love!

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake

Ingredients
CHEESECAKE (I made a 6 inch cheesecake)
1 graham cracker crust
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup nonfat Greek Yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 lemon juiced and zested
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups lemon curd (recipe below, but you can used store bought)

MERINGUE
3 egg whites
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions
CHEESECAKE: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix graham crackers and melted butter together in a bowl until evenly combined; press into the bottom of a 6-inch springform pan. Bake for 6-8 min.

Beat cream cheese, yogurt, and sugar together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla extract and beat until fully mixed. Spread mixture over cookie crust in the springform pan. Bake in the preheated oven until almost set in the center, about 30 hour. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until completely cooled. Spread lemon curd over cheesecake and chill (I like to freeze it).

MERINGUE: When ready to serve, make the merengue topping**. Beat egg whites in a bowl using an electric mixer until soft peaks form; add sugar and cream of tartar and beat until stiff shiny peaks form. Add the whipped egg whites over the cheesecake.

** Torch: Take your chilled cheesecake, top with merengue, then use a culinary torch to brown the top. Can chill or serve immediately.
** Oven: Preheat the oven to 375F and put the cheesecake in the freezer prior. Top with merengue then bake in the preheated oven until meringue is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Chill until ready to serve


Lemon Curd Recipe

Ingredients
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon zested
1/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs (I used whole eggs, but you can use egg yolks only for a richer curd)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

Directions
Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and butter in a saucepan. Add in the eggs and cook over low heat, whisking frequently until curd is thickened (be patient and don't increase the temperature, or the eggs will scramble). Transfer lemon curd to a jar and chill.

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