Snappy Lemon Cheesepie

We've made the trek back home from the Circle B Kitchen West where spring was in full swing and our senses were bombarded with the scents and colors of rolling green hills, wild flowers in bloom and fresh blue skies that stretched out over the ocean for what seemed like forever.  And we returned home to a mostly still-brown midwest landscape that is beginning to give way to just enough green to reassure us that spring is most definitely on the way.

And somehow, in transit from there to here, one of those airport/airplane bugs hopped a ride and found its way home with me.  It has laid me low for the past few days, which, as you know, means that I haven't been in the kitchen much, which also means that I haven't been able to work on any of the recipes I'm dying to share with you.

But as consolation to us all, I decided to post this incredibly delicious version of the Circle B Kitchen Cheesepie that my cousin Katie and I worked on a few months back, and, I would say, possibly perfected.  I've been saving it for just the right moment, which just so happens to feel like now.  It's a pie perfectly suited to spring and would perhaps be an excellent addition to your Easter feast.

If you've made and sampled our cheesepie, then you already know how delicious it is.  This version just tweaks the flavors a bit by adding lemon to every layer and swapping out the graham cracker crust for one made with gingersnaps.  If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, then I heartily encourage you to use their gingersnaps, but absent that, any good gingery-snap will do. 

Sweet and creamy, crunchy, and oh so lemon-y; happy spring, everyone!  Here's the recipe...

Snappy Lemon Cheesepie

Click here for a printable recipe

This is a deliciously lemon version of the Circle B Kitchen cheesepie in which we swap out the graham crackers in the crust for some spicy little gingersnaps.  Feel free to use store-bought lemon curd if you like, but we've also provided a recipe for our favorite homemade (you will want to make extra, it's so good).  Also, you will need to plan ahead a little to make this as it thickens and gets better the longer you refrigerate it.  Give it at least 5 hours in the fridge before serving.  And please use a high quality cream cheese (Philadelphia is fine).  Some store brand cream cheeses include additives that do not cook up well, i.e., lumps, not creamy.  And make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature before using it.  You will need 2-3 lemons for the pie.

P.S.  If using a store-bought lemon curd that seems a little loose or runny, just beat in 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch into the pie mixture to make sure that the pie firms up properly.

Gingersnap Crust:  
1 ½ cups ground gingersnaps (about 40 cookies)
1/4 cup butter
¼ cup sugar

For the Pie:
12 oz good quality cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup lemon curd
1 tsp vanilla

For the topping:
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup lemon curd (store-bought or homemade - see below)
zest of 1 lemon

Lemon Curd:
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice (I sometimes add another ¼ cup for extra lemony-ness)
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Make the Crust:
Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.  

Place the gingersnaps in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until ground.  Add the sugar and continue pulsing until combined.

Melt butter (it’s best if it’s really really soft and not all the way melted) and mix with sugar and crumbs (I do this in the pie plate or a separate bowl).  Press into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make the pie:
Beat eggs and then add the remaining pie ingredients.  Beat till smooth and pour into gingersnap crust.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool 5 min.  

Make the topping:
Beat sour cream with the lemon curd and then spread on top of the pie.  Bake 10 more minutes. Let cool and sprinkle the top with the reserved lemon zest.  Refrigerate at least 5 hours before serving.

Homemade Lemon Curd:
In a heavy, medium saucepan whisk the eggs and egg yolks until well blended and then add the sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is fairly thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. 

Stir in the cold butter pieces and once the butter has melted, add the grated zest and stir to combine.  

You won't need all of the curd for this recipe so you can transfer the leftover curd to a tightly covered storage container and refrigerate it (it will last for 2-3 weeks) or you can freeze it for much longer.