Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake Recipe

Last updated on April 21, 2024

Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 30 Mins Cook Time: 30 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr

If you are looking for a light, fluffy, and refreshing dessert that is easy to make and requires no baking, then you will love this lemon cheesecake recipe by Delia Smith.

This lemon cheesecake recipe is one of her classics, and it uses ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese, which gives it a lighter and creamier texture. The lemon flavor comes from both the zest and the juice of fresh lemons, and it is balanced by the sweetness of the biscuit base and the sugar. The cheesecake is topped with a confit of lemons, which are thin slices of lemon cooked in sugar syrup until tender and translucent. The confit adds a burst of tanginess and a beautiful contrast of colors to the cheesecake.

This recipe is perfect for any occasion, whether it is a family dinner, a party, or a special treat for yourself. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to serve. It is also a great way to use up any leftover lemons you may have in your kitchen.

Here is a complete step by step guide on how to make this delicious lemon cheesecake by Delia Smith.

What is Delia Smith’s Lemon Cheesecake Recipe?

Delia Smith’s Lemon Cheesecake is a delightful dessert that combines the tangy zest of lemons with the creamy richness of cheesecake. This recipe features a crumbly biscuit base topped with a smooth, lemon-infused cheese filling. It’s known for its perfect balance of sweetness and lemony sharpness, making it a favorite among cheesecake enthusiasts.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simple Ingredients: Utilizes basic ingredients that are often already in your pantry.
  • Perfect Balance: Strikes an ideal balance between tartness and sweetness.
  • No-Bake Ease: Requires no baking, making it a fuss-free option.
  • Versatile: Perfect for any occasion, from casual gatherings to elegant dinners.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake

For the base:

  • 8 oz (225 g) digestive biscuits
  • 2 oz (50 g) flaked almonds
  • 3 oz (75 g) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

For the filling:

  • 1 lb 9 oz (700 g) ricotta cheese
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 7 oz (200 g) caster sugar, plus more to taste
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • Mint, to garnish

For the confit of lemons:

  • 2 lemons
  • 12 oz (340 g) granulated sugar
  • A circle of silicone paper (baking parchment)

Useful Equipment

  • A 9 inch (23 cm) springform cake tin
  • A non-aluminum saucepan
  • A fine grater
  • A measuring jug
  • A small bowl
  • A small saucepan
  • A sieve
  • A shallow dish
  • A large mixing bowl
  • An electric whisk
  • A spatula
  • A knife
  • A chopping board
  • A serving plate

Instructions to Make Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake

Step 1: Make the confit of lemons

The confit of lemons needs to be prepared ahead of time, preferably the day before you want to serve the cheesecake. This will allow the lemons to soak up the syrup and become soft and sweet.

  • Take one and a half of the lemons and slice them into thin rings about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, discarding the end pieces and pips.
  • Place the lemon slices in the non-aluminum saucepan and cover with enough cold water to just cover them. Bring to a simmer for 3 minutes, then drain through a sieve and discard the water.
  • Now pour 12 fl oz (340 ml) water into the same pan, add the sugar, and stir over a gentle heat until all the grains have dissolved. Then add the lemon slices.
  • Once the liquid has returned to a very gentle simmer, lay the circle of silicone paper on the surface of the liquid. This will help the lemon slices to cook evenly.
  • Now continue to cook them at the very gentlest simmer, without a lid, for 45 minutes, or until the skins are tender. Check them at 30 minutes by inserting the tip of a knife, just in case they are cooking faster.
  • When they are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon to a shallow dish. The liquid will be much reduced at this stage, but what we want is about 5 fl oz (150 ml). If you have much more than this, increase the heat a little and reduce it further.
  • Then squeeze the juice from the remaining half lemon, pour it into the syrup, and pour this over the lemon slices. Cover and leave overnight if possible.

Step 2: Make the base

To make the base, you will need to crush the biscuits, mix them with the almonds and the butter, and press them onto the cake tin. Then you will need to bake the base for 20 minutes and let it cool completely.

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 400ºF (200ºC).
  • Prepare the cake tin by lightly greasing it with some butter or oil.
  • To crush the biscuits, the best way to do this is to lay them flat inside a polythene bag, then roll them with a rolling pin to crush them coarsely. You can also use a food processor to do this, but be careful not to over-process them.
  • Tip the crushed biscuits into a large mixing bowl, along with the flaked almonds, and stir the melted butter and the honey into them.
  • Press this mixture evenly and firmly onto the base of the cake tin, using the back of a spoon or your fingers to smooth it out.
  • Place the cake tin in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  • Remove the cake tin from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

Step 3: Make the filling

To make the filling, you will need to whip the cream, mix it with the ricotta cheese, the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the sugar, and spread it over the base. Then you will need to chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  • Remove the zest from the lemons using a fine grater. You can also chop the zest more finely if you prefer. You will need about 2 tbsp of lemon zest for this recipe.
  • Squeeze out the juice from the lemons until you have enough for 5 tsp and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream with an electric whisk until it forms soft peaks. Be careful not to over-whip it, or it will become grainy and lose its volume.
  • Add the ricotta cheese, the caster sugar, the lemon zest, and the lemon juice to the whipped cream. Whisk together until well combined and thick. Taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness if needed by adding more sugar or lemon juice.
  • Spoon the filling over the cooled base and spread it evenly with a spatula. Make sure there are no air bubbles or gaps in the filling.
  • Cover the cake tin with some cling film or foil and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. This will allow the filling to set and the flavors to develop.

Step 4: Serve the cheesecake

To serve the cheesecake, you will need to remove it from the cake tin, transfer it to a serving plate, and decorate it with the confit of lemons and some mint leaves.

  • Run a knife around the edge of the cake tin to loosen the cheesecake. Then unclip the springform and carefully lift off the ring.
  • Transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate, using a large spatula or a cake lifter to help you. You can also leave the cheesecake on the base of the cake tin if you prefer.
  • Arrange the confit of lemons on top of the cheesecake, overlapping them slightly. You can use as many or as few as you like, depending on your taste. You can also drizzle some of the syrup over the cheesecake if you want to add more moisture and shine.
  • Garnish the cheesecake with some mint leaves for a touch of freshness and color.
  • Cut the cheesecake into slices and serve with some whipped cream or ice cream if desired. Enjoy!
Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake
Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake

What to Serve With Delia Smith’s Lemon Cheesecake

This light and zesty cheesecake pairs beautifully with a variety of accompaniments that enhance its flavors and textures.

Consider these options:

  • Fresh Berries: A colorful mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries not only adds a fresh, fruity contrast but also visually complements the cheesecake.
  • Whipped Cream: A dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream adds a luxurious feel and softens the sharpness of the lemon.
  • Mint Leaves: A few sprigs of mint can add a refreshing aroma and a sophisticated touch to the presentation.
  • Coffee or Tea: A strong espresso or a delicate Earl Grey tea can contrast the sweetness of the cheesecake, offering a balanced finish to your dessert course.
  • Citrus Sorbet: A small scoop of lemon or orange sorbet can amplify the citrus notes in the cheesecake.
  • Nutty Crunch: Sprinkle chopped almonds or walnuts for a textural contrast and a nutty flavor.

Pro Tips to Make the Perfect Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake

Creating the perfect cheesecake involves attention to detail and understanding the nuances of baking. Here are some expert tips:

  • Quality Ingredients: Start with full-fat, high-quality cream cheese for a richer texture and more robust flavor.
  • Chill Well: Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight, to ensure it sets properly and slices cleanly.
  • Gentle Mixing: Mix the filling just until combined to prevent incorporating too much air, which can cause cracks.
  • Lemon Zest: Freshly grated lemon zest adds a bright, zesty flavor that can’t be replicated with bottled juice or artificial flavors.
  • Water Bath: Baking the cheesecake in a water bath can help prevent cracks and ensure an even, gentle cooking process.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature to achieve a smooth, lump-free filling.

Variations of Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake

Delia Smith’s Lemon Cheesecake is versatile, allowing for creative variations that can suit different tastes and occasions:

  • Lime Twist: Replace lemons with limes for a slightly more exotic, tropical twist.
  • Berry Topping: Top with a homemade berry compote or fresh berry salsa for added sweetness and a burst of color.
  • Chocolate Base: Swap the traditional biscuit base with a chocolate cookie base for a delightful contrast.
  • Mini Cheesecakes: Create bite-sized versions using a mini muffin tin for a fun, individual serving perfect for parties.
  • Orange Elegance: Use orange zest and a bit of juice for a softer, more aromatic citrus flavor.
  • Layered Delight: Introduce layers of lemon curd or raspberry sauce between the crust and the filling for an extra flavor punch.

Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake

How to Store Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake Leftovers

In the Fridge

  • Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Keep away from strong-smelling foods to avoid flavor absorption.

In the Freezer

  • Freeze individual slices on a baking sheet before wrapping.
  • Store in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 1 month.

How to Reheat Delia Smith Lemon Cheesecake Leftovers

  • Room Temperature: Allow the cheesecake to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes for best flavor and texture.
  • Microwave (if necessary): Use a low power setting in short bursts, checking frequently to avoid overheating.

Nutrition value per serving (based on 6 servings):

  • Calories: 470 kcal
  • Fat: 25 g
  • Carbohydrates: 55 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 44 g
  • Sodium: 250 mg
  • Calcium: 200 mg
  • Iron: 1 mg
  • Vitamin C: 30 mg

More Cheesecake Recipes



Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 65 minutes Rest time: 4 hours or overnight Total time: 5 hours and 35 minutes or more

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