Lemon Frenzy: Cheese Cake Citronné (two ways) and Assorted Lemon Tarts

First off, Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year! Whatever you did, I hope that you had a great time with friends and family and for those of you who had a Christmas break, I hope you had a nice one.

I wrote this post just before I left for my vacation, hoping that I could post one last one to wish you a happy holiday, but I was missing a few pictures and so I had to postpone it. I had a really great vacation despite being sick for half of it. I had 2 week-long vacation and I was sick for a week. I noticed that I have been sick on Christmas holiday every year, at least 3 years in a row, this is a little odd. When visiting M's family, most of us were sick, and so we spent the holiday in bed with M's mom running around to take care of us. I feel bad.

Going back to real life, I had a mixed feeling. I was definitely happy being back home, go back to my routine, back to California (which I love), back to being busy basically, but also sad leaving people you were visiting and the fact that you can't just sleep in and do nothing everyday.

My blog post has been slow lately but that doesn't mean nothing has come out from the kitchen. I've been making many many lemon tarts for different occasion, at least before the vacation, and Cheese Cake Citronné was the latest lemon creation made last year.

As I mentioned a few times before, I have a coworker who has a tree full of Meyer lemons all year around. In fact, he had just given me probably 50 big bear limes from his garden, that I don't know what to do with. I love his Meyer lemons because they are huge and has tons of juice. He gave me a huge bag full of them a few times, probably around 30 big ones each time and it would last me about a month or more to use them all up. I still have 3 left in the fridge and sadly, I think they will go to waste as I don't have time to do anything with them. For most part, I made the famous lemon tart. I think I've made about 100 of them over a few weeks with three different toppings. They've been a favorite among the people I shared them with. No need to mention about these tarts as I posted it quite often.

Now onto the lemon cheesecake. I often read Adam's blog post at Paris Patisseries.For a few months every year, he would go to Paris and binge on pastries, cakes, macarons, you name it. He reviews every one of them in such a great detail. I am definitely using his site as my guide when I finally go visit Paris.

When M was in Taiwan multiple times last year, he often visited Sadaharu Aoki's patisserie as it is within walking distance from his hotel. I went through Adam's list on his suggestion of what to get and told M to try them, and this lemon cheesecake was one of them. Sadly, that particular patisserie doesn't seem to carry this item. When I was in Japan earlier this year, I also binged on pastries, it was crazy. Everyday, I would rotate from Laduree, Sadaharu Aoki, and Pierre Herme, among many other local patisseries (I missed Hidemi Sugino though and it is now at the top of my list when I go back).

I had the chance to sample many of Aoki's creations and while M was hooked on his Spring Collection lemon tart  I was hooked on this lemon cheesecake (among his other creations). I generally do not like cheesecake as it is pretty heavy and I will be content with one spoonful of it, but not this. It is light and not as dense as NY cheesecake and it has bright lemon flavor without being so tart. From the description, it seems pretty easy to re-create. It has hazelnut shortbread base, cheesecake batter, lemon cream on top, topped with hazelnut shortbread cookie and chocolate decor. It has been on my long list of things to make for quite a while now.

Random story here, I have a coworker, J, who has very thick beard and for me, it is his signature feature. I challenged him once before for him to shave his beard in exchange of a cake. To my surprise, he agreed and I made him a whisky hazelnut chocolate mousse cake (that is yet to be posted). A few months later, I felt like I didn't challenge him enough so I jokingly asked if he would shave BOTH his head and his beard in exchange of two cakes. I didn't think he would agree as when he was beard-less before, many people said that he looked a lot younger, which he didn't like, and how he felt like he is less of a man without his beard. To my shock, he immediately agreed and very eager to do it. I had no other choice than to do what I said I was gonna do. He did what he promised, shaving his head and beard, and requested lemon cheesecake as the first cake. First, he LOVES cheesecake and second, I've been bringing lemon tarts quite often and he got to taste one or two. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to finally cross off one of the thing in my list, the  Cheese Cake Citronné, Aoki's way.

This cheesecake is more involved just because I need to make the hazelnut shortbread cookies as the base instead of using the store-bought graham cracker crumbs. I used Alain Ducasse's cheesecake recipe as it is lighter than the regular NY cheesecake (Pierre Herme cheesecake is similar too). Then, I made lemon cream as the topping and the glaze. So here it is, my version of  Cheese Cake Citronné, inspired by Sadaharu Aoki. 

I had a little cream cheese and lemon cream leftover, as well as cheesecake base from other cheesecake before that I kept in the freezer. So I made another version of lemon cheesecake to use up the ingredients before my vacation. This one is no-bake version of the chessecake.

The thing I don't like about no-bake cheesecake is that it uses gelatin to set the cheesecake instead of eggs (in the bake version). This version uses heavy cream instead and it makes the cheesecake really creamy, not gelatinous. I layered the cheesecake batter with the lemon cream. I first saw this on a random cooking show when I was in China. It was the only channel that speaks English at night (I think it was a HongKong channel) and they have random show every night. It happened to be a cooking show and the chef (Eric Landlard) made this lemon cheesecake. While this is not exactly his recipe to the tee, I used his cheesecake batter recipe for this one, with minor adjustment.

As I said before, I made these lemon tarts multiple times for different occasions. I made them with three different toppings as people have different tastes. I think I can make these with my eyes closed if I have to now.

I am very pleased with how everything turned out. I was going to make more lemon goodies such as lemon posset, lemon cream puffs, but that might be for future.

Cheese Cake Citronné
Inspired by Sadaharu Aoki

Hazelnut shortbread crust
Hazelnut shortbread, grind in food processor - Adapted from this recipe
a little melted butter
a little sugar

Cheesecake Filling:
24 oz cream cheese (three 8-oz blocks)
200 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs + 1 yolk
2 Tbs. flour
95 g heavy cream
1 Tbs. of lemon juice
  • Rub the sugar and the lemon zest between your finger to release the essential oil
  • combine the cream cheese and the sugar and mix with paddle attachment until soft and creamy. 
  • Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, then add the heavy cream and flour. 
  • Pour onto the cooled (or slightly cooled) crust and bake in a waterbath for 3 hours at 194F (90C).
  • Let cool, leave to sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Lemon Cream - Refer to this recipe
  • Spread a thin layer on top of the cooled cheesecake
  • Glaze with neutral glaze and decorate


Gergana Lazarova said...

It looks great!

Ειρήνη said...

love your recipes!!!love the food styling and your photos!!

Anonymous said...

This sounds perfect! Sometimes, I don't like cheesecake because it is very heavy. But I am sure the lemon helps to lighten up the flavors. Saving the recipe for sure. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

this looks stunning!!!!

Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen said...

Yum these look delicious! I love that they're no bake, but also gelatin free.

Anonymous said...

please write a new post. missing your recipes as they are so great!
Victoria from Spain

Bertha said...

Anonymous: thanks for writing, I have been struggling with writing new post. I am on business trip now so I don't really have a cake update or anything. I will write back when I get back to the States

Tina said...

Hello, Your blog is wonderful, and the cakes that you make are beautiful! I wanted to ask you whether you have been able to find a clear neutral glaze online, and if so,where you get it from? Thanks

Bertha said...

Tina: Thank you! Yes, I purchased mine online before I made my own. You can find it on lepicerie.com for small quantity.

Ned said...

Hi, I just wanted to comment that I just found your blog while looking for guides to make entremets. And i'm really really blown away by all your desserts! Thank you for putting in so much time to write out the recipe (I know it takes alot of effort and time) and also giving tips, cause I really would like to try out entremet making and your blog entries really help! If i ever gain the courage to start making one, I might let you know of my result! Thank you so much!!!

Bertha said...

Ned: Thanks! Glad to know that my blog helps :). Would love to know if you make one

Victoria said...

me again, Victoria from Spain. I do not find a blog with the entremets recipes like yours. Please, please, write some...
I know how stressfull is writing a blog but your recipes are so well explained and so well tested.
we are many missing you.

Bertha said...

Thanks Victoria. Hopefully I can write a couple posts soon.

Victoria said...

great! as my daughter 32nd birthday is pretty close I would like to offer her an outstanding entremets dessert.
Thnks Bertha and so sorry to put you under pressure.

Victorina said...

This is cool!

Unknown said...

I have seen so many recipes in different blogs and this is one of the very best recipe I've read! I must try this and the ingredients are so easy to find in the market, definitely a something new for me.
Thanks for sharing!
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