Delightfully lemony and super creamy, this baked lemon curd cheesecake is sure to please. While this mini cheesecake is perfect for portion control, you'll get big flavor in every bite!Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction and Epicurious
Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Check to see if your 6-inch round springform pan fits in a large roasting pan (to use for the water bath). Don't worry if your roasting pan isn't big enough, just use a 9- x 13-in roasting pan to create steam (see water bath instructions below).
Make the crust: Prepare a graham cracker pie crust and press into the 6-inch round springform pan (you don't have to grease the pan first). Use a pastry tart tamper, the bottom of a measuring cup, or a straight sided glass tumbler to pack the crust down tightly.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove the pan from oven and cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to oven to 325°F.
Make the filling: Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, then beat until fully combined.
On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. You don't want to over-beat the mixture to help prevent the cheesecake from deflating and cracking as it cools.
Before adding the cheesecake batter to the cooled crust, brush the top inside of the pan above the crust line with melted butter to help keep any batter that rises above the crust from sticking to the pan.
Pour ⅔ of the filling into the cooled crust, then spoon ½ of the lemon curd over the filling. Swirl the curd into the filling with a small knife (avoid touching crust with knife to prevent crumbs getting into filling). Repeat with the remaining filling and lemon curd. Tap the pan gently on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.
Prepare the water bath: If you have a roasting pan large enough to fit your springform pan, wrap the outside of the springform pan in a double layer of foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way to the top (although a good crust keeps filling from leaking out, the foil helps protect against water leaking in). Set the wrapped cheesecake in the large roasting pan, and carefull pour hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cheesecake (about 2 inches). Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the lower third rack in the oven.
If you don't have a roasting pan large enough to fit your springform pan, place a 9- x 13-inch baking pan at the bottom of the oven (or the lowest shelf). Pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the pan. This creates the steam to simulate the water bath. Put the cheesecake on the lower-third rack directly above the water-filled pan.
Continuing: Bake the cheesecake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the center is almost set. If you notice the cheesecake browning too quickly on top, tent it with aluminum foil halfway through the baking time. When it's done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan.
Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake and water bath sit in the oven to cool for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, then cool it completely at room temperature.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight. Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim.
Cut the cheesecake into slices with a sharp knife, wiping the knife and dipping it into warm water between each cut to get nice, neat slices.
Cover and store any leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen up to 2 or 3 months. Here's a helpful tutorial for freezing cheesecakes. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Now isn’t the time for reduced fat or nonfat cream cheese or sour cream. They contain fillers that might prevent the cheesecake from setting properly. Also, never substitute whipped cream cheese for the solid block (you don't want that extra air).It’s important to bring all the cold ingredients to room temperature before beginning. They’ll combine quickly and evenly so you won’t risk over-mixing the batter. Beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky cheesecake batter, and who wants that?Baking the graham cracker crust sets it and keeps it from getting soggy or shifting when the cheesecake batter is added. Let the crust cool completely before adding the filling.To help prevent the cheesecake from deflating and cracking as it cools, avoid over-mixing the batter as best you can, especially when adding in the eggs. You don’t want air beaten into the eggs because it causes them to inflate while baking, then deflate when cooled. This can crack the cheesecake or form bubbles on the surface.To make a full-sized cheesecake, just double the ingredient amounts and bake in a 9-inch round springform pan for 55 to 70 minutes.