Lemon Cheesecake Bars are an irresistible combination of bright, fresh, tangy sweetness and smooth, rich creamy decadence. The tartness is balanced by the richness of the cheesecake and buttery shortbread crust. And if that isn’t enough, a from-scratch lemon curd, deliciously rich and smooth with intense lemon flavor tops it all. The lemon curd comes together on the stovetop in less than 5 minutes. Don’t be tempted to buy readymade lemon curd. There is no comparison to homemade. The lemon curd can be made ahead, it holds well for several days in the refrigerator. And if available, use Meyer lemons for a yummy variation.
An elegant make-ahead dessert for any occasion. Each scrumptious bite will remind you of Spring and sunny days ahead!
Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temp
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 24 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 3 eggs room temperature
- Whisk eggs with sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
- Add the butter and cook over medium-low to medium heat (don't cook over too high heat or you will curdle the eggs), whisking and scraping down the sides of the pan with a silicone spatula, until the butter is melted, and the mixture has thickened and is beginning to bubble, about 3 minutes.
- Optional: strain through a fine-mesh sieve for a silky, smooth curd. Let sit, uncovered, until cool. Chill thoroughly before using. The curd can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, convection. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Add the crust ingredients to a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Transfer to prepared baking dish and press evenly into the bottom. A one cup measuring cup works well for this step.
- Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until just beginning to brown at the edges. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat room temperature cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and combine well.
- Add sour cream, vanilla extract, salt, lemon juice and zest and mix well, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated, but do not overbeat. You do not want to whip too much air into the filling.
- Pour the filling over the baked crust and spread evenly.
- Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes at 325 degrees convection. The cheesecake bars are done when edges are puffed and lightly browned and the center still seems a little jiggly.
- Cool and chill thoroughly. Spread cold lemon curd over the top before cutting or if you prefer, spoon it over individual pieces before serving.
- To cut, loosen all around the edges with a small, sharp knife. Dip the same knife in hot water, wipe the water off, and cut into 4×4 pieces. Continue to dip the knife in hot water and wipe off for nice clean cuts.