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Lemon Cheesecake Jar

Chef Tom Small of Tacoma's Boathouse 19

This is a very rich cheesecake topped with house-made lemon curd and a graham cracker crust. We put the crust on top so it stays lightly packed and can be part of each bite of the dessert. This recipe can be easily doubled or halved.

makes 12


Cream Cheese Base
  • 3 packages of 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 6 large eggs
  • 12 small mason jars with lids (We use wide-mouth half pints.)
Lemon Curd
  • 1/2 cup (about 8) egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1 cup graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 melted butter


Cream Cheese Base

Combine cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and mix on low speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. With the machine running, add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate eggs into cheese mixture and scraping bowl down occasionally. (Cheese and eggs must be at room temperature for this to work well. Scraping down the bowl will prevent lumps of cream cheese in the mixture.)

Fill each jar three-fourths full with cream cheese base. The base should come just below the round lid threading. Each jar should hold 3/4 cup filling. Bake at 275 degrees in a hot water bath until cheesecakes are set, about 11 to 14 minutes. They should be 150 degrees at the center of the cheesecake. Cool completely, then refrigerate.

Lemon Curd

Combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a non-reactive saucepan over medium high heat, whisking constantly. Cook until boiling in the center. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time. Cool completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Graham Cracker Crust

Combine graham cracker, sugar and melted butter in a large bowl and stir to combine well.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of Lemon Curd over top of cooled cheese cakes and spread evenly. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of Graham Cracker Crust over curd and put lids on jars for service.

To plate, remove lid from cheesecake jar and place on a small round plate.

Chef's note: To soften cream cheese, put it in a zip-lock bag and drop it in a bowl of hot water.

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I've had this dessert at Boathouse 19, and like everything they prepare, it is very, very good. Thank you so much, Chef Tom, for sharing this recipe.