lemon cheesecake w/ lemon cookie-panko crust and white chocolate-raspberry ganache

lemon cheesecake 6
Is that a title or what? Is there another dish I've made with a longer title? No, I think this is the longest. Oh the flavors abound in this lovely cheesecake.
Everything paired together so perfectly--I was happy. Truly fabulous.
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This was my first lemon cheesecake and it won't be my last.
 When I saw those lemon wafers at whole foods, I knew exactly what to do with them; tasting them on the car ride home confirmed there would be a lemon cheesecake happening in the near future.
 Don't you love when you see a product in the store and a "recipe light bulb" goes off in your head? Instant inspiration!
But why is there panko in the crust? Why not? On my 'to create' list, in the notes column, I've had "use panko in a cheesecake". An experiment of sorts. The "crunch" factor in a cheesecake is what I craved for a while. The crunch factor in this crust is not overwhelming at all. Those panko crumbs really stand up to just about any type of cooking; do they ever lose their crunch? Hardy lil critters!
Just don't use seasoned panko crumbs, make sure they're plain!
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Lastly the raspberry coulis is a natural pairing with anything lemon.
This time of year I just adore the smell of raspberry coulis cooking and then that "snap" "twang" flavor when you first taste it.

lemon cheesecake 12
lemon cheesecake 5
lemon cheesecake w/ lemon cookie-panko crust & white chocolate-raspberry coulis
recipe by vanillasugarblog.com
print recipe

1- 9 oz box of lemon wafer cookies
½ cup plain panko crumbs
3/4 stick salted butter, melted (6 ounces)
1 TB lemon zest
medium pinch of sea salt

cheesecake filling:
4 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, room temp
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
3 large eggs and 2 large egg yolks
1 TB lemon zest
2 TB of fresh pink lemonade, preferably with pulp! (don’t know if frozen from concentrate would work, feel free to try it)

cook notes:
Please invest in a good/sturdy cheesecake pan. They make all the difference in terms of baking and not overbaking. Williams Sonoma has some good ones.
I do not like my cheesecake batter too sweet, so please taste test as you go along and before it goes in the pan for baking to see if you like it as is or if you want more sugar. This makes a lot of crust for the 10-inch pan, but I like to have it thick, so if you don’t like it thick you could probably halve it. But with the remaining leftover crust I just put it in a bag and freeze or make a mini cheesecake. There will also be a small amount of leftover cheesecake batter—haven’t figured out how to scale it down yet. But with the leftover crust and batter you can easily make 2 mini cheesecakes if you have the mini springform pans. Also, I do not have a mixer, I know, everyone always ask how I do it, but I do, been that way for decades. So I just use a food processer, works perfectly. But use what you feel comfortable with.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a measuring cup, crack open the eggs and egg yolks, set aside until ready to use.
Spray a 10-inch springform pan with non stick spray.
In a food processor grind up the cookies into a fine crumb. In a bowl, combine the cookies, a pinch of salt, panko crumbs, lemon zest, and the melted butter. Mix, then press into the bottom and partially up the sides of the springform pan. (I use a flat bottomed glass to press it in evenly AND up the sides). Recipe & photos by Dawn Finicane of vanillakitchen.blogspot.com
Bake crust for 12-15 minutes, set aside and let cool or until sides of crust are lightly brown. Reduce the oven heat to 325°F.
I used my food processor to make the cheesecake batter—I suppose you could use a mixer, but I don’t have one (I know, weird). With the food processor, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and lump free. Add in the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. .
Add in the eggs one at a time until all is mixed well; add in the heavy cream, the zest, and pink lemonade. Process until all is well mixed. Do a taste test see if you like it and if you want more sugar.

Most people like to do a water bath for their cheesecake. I never do, I find all too annoying. But if you want to do this please feel free; it’s best to bake your cheesecake how ever you feel most comfortable.
I baked this cheesecake at 325°F for one hour then at 300°F for an additional 40-50 minutes or until the center is set. Please put a tray under the cheesecake to catch any spills. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

raspberry coulis

1 or 2 pints raspberries
Use ¼ cup of superfine sugar for every pint of raspberries you use
½ lemon (the juice of) for every pint of fresh raspberries you use
1 TB cornstarch for every pint of fresh raspberries

Over medium heat, heat up the raspberries with the lemon juice, and sugar. Let it come to a boil, stirring occasionally to help break up the raspberries. Once the raspberries are dissolved strain the mixture in a fine sieve. Take strained juices back to pan and over low heat add in the cornstarch until it’s thickened. Do not leave the stove at this point since the coulis heats up fast once seeds are gone and cornstarch is added. Should only take 5 minutes. Let cool in pan or in a separate bowl. Then refrigerate.

white chocolate-raspberry ganache

Is nothing more than melted white chocolate (3/4 cup),
with a splash or two of heavy cream, mixed till creamy (stir well).
Then take small portions of it, pour into a bowl and then add in tiny swirls of the raspberry coulis. (this part you have to work fast before the white chocolate hardens). Alternatively, you can put a layer of the white chocolate Ganache on the cheesecake and small swirls of the raspberry coulis and swirl with a toothpick.


  1. oh my gosh Dawn! Can I just have the raspberry topping and the crust? mmmm. Panko is a totally interesting add in. Love it!

  2. The Teacher Cooks7/6/11, 8:56 PM

    Good gosh! What a fantastic cheesecake.

  3. Good Gosh! What a fantastic cheesecake!

  4. I love the look of that white chocolate raspberry ganache! Such a nice addition, and so pretty!

  5. Ohhhh those little saliva glands in the back corners of my mouth just started to tingle! I love it when you do that to me!

  6. Looks great! We make a lot of lemon cheesecakes with a Lemon Snap crust, but I never would have thought to use Panko! My mind is blank right now on whether I use walnuts in the lemon crust, but I'm not big on walnuts in baked goods, so I'll definitely try the Panko next time as a substitute. Thanks! :)

  7. Yes please, this looks fantastic and I love that you added panko to the crust, so creative!

  8. Delicious. That is all I can say. :D

  9. This might top my list of absolute Dawn favorites. It's perfect. YUM.

  10. Lemon is my chocolate so I have added this to my bucket list!

  11. I love it! ganche is a champion

  12. Wow. I want one for breakfast and dessert.

  13. OMG I almost had an orgasm with that first picture... OK sorry for the language, but I don't know how else to express the feeling, hehe.


  14. I'm happy to stumble upon your blog! This is gorgeous, and so creative with the panko crust. I made two seperate desserts this weekend with lemon and blackberries too - both are so summery!

  15. oh yes, i'm down for two pieces of this :)

  16. What an absolutely beautiful cheesecake, Dawn!

  17. I think I like cheesecake more in the last couple of years. Love your summery kicked up kickass version!

  18. Is the title so long to make up for the fact that you'll be speechless after eating this? I think yes.

  19. Yum yum yum - you never fail to make me wish I could grab your food outta the screen! Panko crust on a dessert, love it!

  20. LOVE the idea of that lemon cookie panko crust in this cheesecake.

  21. I see raspberry coulis in my future... That looks amazing Dawn.

  22. LOVE that you used pink lemonade!
    what an artistic cheesecake. i love it.

  23. Oh man! This sounds amazing!!

  24. A beautiful and very tempting cheesecake! That crust is interesting. Something to try.



  25. Love panko for coating meat. I'll have to try it in a crust. Great idea. Looks irresistible.

  26. Seriously?! Seriously?! Could anything look more heavenly? That drizzling ganache... your description... everything about this has me drooling right now! I wanted to let you know about my cookbook giveaway that is going on right now until July 16th. Stop on by to enter! Hope you are having a great weekend :)


  27. I so dub you the Queen of baking!

  28. Holy mamma - that sounds truly heavenly!

  29. i just learn how to make cheese cake in cooking classes and appreciate this variation thanks for sharing i will surely gives this a try :)

  30. Wow, wow, WOW. I want this now. Why oh why aren't you my neighbor?

  31. That is a stunningly yummy cake! Not only do you know how to bake, you take such fine photos of them!

  32. this is great, dawn. here's the truth: i'd prefer it in reverse--white chocolate raspberry cheesecake with lemon sauce. :)


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