looks fancy, way easy

looks fancy, way easy

I went home for Passover a few weeks ago and my mom presented me with a tin of matzo cake flour.  Great, I had to make a dessert with matzo.  That would be my challenge of the weekend.  However, I conquered said challenge with a mild cop -out— a lemon cheesecake.

Cheesecakes are really pretty easy, and I don’t know why they are not commonly home made.  First of all, there is no hard to make crust involved, like there is with pies.  Second, the filling is ridiculously easy and can be creatively modified to your tastes.  This recipe from Gourmet.com called for lemon zest which made the filling a lovely mellow yellow.

I served the cheesecake at room temperature.  Mistake.  It tasted much better the next day straight from the fridge.  The flavors melded into lemony-creamy goodness. You can replace the matzo cake flour with graham crackers.

To dress up the cheesecake, I delicately placed sticky pieces of candy lemon peel on top.  Here is the recipe for candied citrus peel a la How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.  

Candied Citrus Peel

4 lemons

2 cups sugar

1. Score the skin of the lemon and peel of the sections of skin.  Place skins in a saucepan with a few cups of cold water.  Bring skins and water to a boil, simmer for 5-10 minutes until tender, then remove and let cool until you can handle them.

2.  Using a spoon or knife, scrape off the white pithy stuff from the inside of the skins.  Discard yucky pithy stuff.  Slice skins into thick or thin slices, whatever you like.

3.  Bring 1 cup water and 2 cups of sugar to a boil in the saucepan to 234°F (I used a digital meat thermometer to measure the temp.)  Place pith-less skins in the hot syrup and simmer for a few minutes, turn off heat and let the skins cool in the syrup.

4.  Remove from syrup with tongs or a fork.  You can roll them in sugar if you like.  Let dry on wire rack or wax paper.  Eat, or use as decoration…then eat.

PS I made candied Meyer lemon peels and they were really good.  More tender and less bitter than the regular lemons.

PPS SAVE THE SYRUP from the candied peel recipe.  This is now a perfect lemon infused simple syrup that you can use to sweeten iced tea, homemade lemonade….or fresh mojitos (: