2000s Recipes + Menus

Passover Lemon Cheesecake

  • Active time:30 min
  • Start to finish:5 hr
April 2008
Almonds and matzo cake meal make a wonderfully textured crust for this refreshing, citrusy cheesecake. After Passover, instead of pulling out the graham crackers again, experiment with other cookie crusts such as one made with shortbread. Learn the story behind this dish in our column, The Recipe, and view more Passover menu ideas in our slideshow.

For crust

  • 3/4 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup matzo cake meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For filling

  • 3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Equipment:

    a 9-inch springform pan
  • Garnish:

    julienned lemon zest

Make crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Pulse almonds, sugar, matzo cake meal, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter until combined well. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. Bake until crust is firm and a shade darker, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan on a rack.

Make filling and bake cheesecake:

  • Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
  • Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated. Mix in zest and vanilla.
  • Put springform pan in a shallow baking pan and pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center is wobbly, 45 to 50 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools). Transfer cake in pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around edge, then remove side of pan. Cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.
Cooks’ note: Cheesecake can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, loosely covered.
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