We love our lemon! – this was a wee bit tedious…due to the 3 separately prepared layers, but I made it a couple of days ahead of serving it and it turned out beautifully! I borrowed this directly from ‘The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book’, and I lined my pan with parchment to get them out – also a rather stressful procedure – but once the ‘base’ is cooked, grab the parchment to unstick it, even if it cracks, and then once the whole thing is baked, allow it to rest for about 15 minutes and then carefully grip the parchment again and remove the whole cake to a large cutting board. When I did this, it cracked, but it will mend itself if it’s still warm. Then, once it’s completely cooled, you can trim off the edges (and share them with your family if you’re in a giving mood), and cut the cake into perfect bars (or leave it whole and beautiful which was my original plan and why I went to the trouble of the parchment to begin with – idea to decorate with raspberries??) – wash the knife in between each slice – and then your dessert is ready…ahead of time – enjoy!
Lemon Cheesecake Squares
30-40 lemon social tea cookies (I used 36 Dare, Simple Pleasures, Lemon Poppyseed)
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 package (250 g/8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar AND 1 egg
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 T. lemon zest AND 1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. flour AND 1 t. baking powder
icing sugar to dust the squares with right before serving
Preheat the oven to 325 and butter a 9 X 13 metal cake pan (then line with parchment and butter the parchment if you wish to present a whole ‘cake’). Use your food processor to pulverize the cookies, then drizzle in the butter and pulse until it’s all mixed. Press this evenly into your prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes, then allow the base to cool before proceeding.
For the cheesecake (second) layer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg (I used my electric mixer and didn’t bother to wash it before using it again for the top layer). Spread this evenly over your cooled base and set it aside.
For the ‘top layer’, beat together the eggs and sugar for a few minutes until thickened. Carefully beat in the zest, lemon juice, flour and baking powder until you have a smooth mixture, then pour this over your cheesecake layer – it will be more fluid than you’d expect. Bake for about 35 minutes until the edges are lightly browned, and then to keep it easy, allow it to cool completely in the pan before serving in squares, dusted in icing sugar.