Cook Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
For the Topping:
2 cups (475 mL) sour cream
⅓ cup (35 g) powdered sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2 lemons, thinly sliced and de-seeded
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the rack in the lower third of the oven.
2. Wrap the outside of a 9" (23 cm) spring form pan with a few layers of aluminum foil to seal it and prevent the cheesecake from leaking.
3. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are finely ground into crumbs. Dump into a bowl and add the sugar, salt and melted butter. Mix well so that all the crumbs are coated with butter. Push the crumbs into the bottom of the spring form pan forming an even layer. Par-bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).
4. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until it is soft and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add in the sugar, vanilla and lemon zest and beat for another 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl after each egg and mix until well incorporated. Follow with the sour cream and heavy cream and mix until smooth.
5. Place the spring form pan into a deep casserole dish or roasting pan. Pour the filling into the spring form pan and place in the oven. Carefully add warm water to the roasting pan until it is halfway up the side of the spring form pan. This water bath will help the cheesecake to cook evenly. Cook the cheesecake for 1½ hours.
6. After the cheesecake has cooked, turn the oven off and crack the door to allow the cheesecake to cool. This slow cooling method prevents cracks from forming on the top of the cheesecake.
7. Cool the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours and up to overnight.
8. To make the topping for the cheesecake, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Chill in the refrigerator. Finish the cheesecake by evenly dispersing the sour cream topping over it using a cake spatula.
9. Garnish the cheesecake with the lemon slices and lemon leaves.