Sometimes there is no better way to say “Be My Valentine” than with a good dessert! I found one of those desserts and wanted to share this Valentine’s Day Cheesecake recipe with you. This recipe has a chocolate cookie crust and delicious lemon cheesecake with beautiful swirls of raspberry coulis hearts on top.
I always equate Valentine’s Day with a chocolate dessert, but sometimes it’s fun to try something new. The thing I love the most about this dessert is that the swirled hearts on top look so impressive but are actually super simple to make!
This recipe originally called for chocolate graham crackers to make the crust, but the store was out of them, so I used Oreo cookies. They worked great, but I literally took a butter knife and scraped the filling out of each one before I put them in the food processor. Don’t worry – it was less time consuming than you’d think!
The full recipe is included at the end of this post, but I did take photos to help you see what some of the steps look like. I have also added links to some of the tools that I used to make this recipe. They are underlined below some of the photos.
When making the chocolate cookie crust, you can press it out along the bottom and sides with your fingers or you can use the bottom of a drinking glass to help. You want to press it out so that it covers the bottom and comes up a little on the sides of the pan.
The raspberry coulis is so delicious! I could just eat the stuff by the spoonful, it’s that good. The nice thing is that you use frozen raspberries, so you can make this any time of year. You could also substitute strawberries for the raspberries, but the raspberries give it a deeper red color and also adds a bit of tartness that you won’t get with strawberries.
It doesn’t take long to melt and soften the frozen raspberries, and then you will want to mash them with a potato masher. If you don’t have a potato masher (why don’t you have one?), you can always use a fork.
After the raspberries are mashed, you can use a handheld emersion blender or put them in a food processor to puree them completely.
When you pour the mixture back into the saucepan, pour it through a wire sieve to remove as many of the seeds as possible. There will probably be a few “escapees”, but it won’t be enough to notice.
The next step is to make a slurry out of cornstarch and cold water. A slurry is just a cooking term for combining a liquid and a starch to thicken sauces or gravy. When you add the slurry to the hot raspberry mixture, make sure you whisk it in immediately. If you pour it in and then stop to take a picture of it, it will clump up. Trust me on this.
For the cheesecake batter, you will be using lemon zest and lemon juice. I find the easiest way to zest a lemon is by using the small side on my box grater and grating it, but there are specific tools for zesting a lemon. In case you aren’t familiar with zesting a lemon, I took a picture so you can see that you don’t want to grate off more than just the yellow part of the rind. If you grate deeper down to the white part (the pith), it will be bitter.
Since you will be baking the cheesecake in a hot water bath, you need to protect the cheesecake from getting wet. The best way to do this is to wrap the springform pan with at least two layers of aluminum foil.
putting it together
The last step is what makes this so pretty. Pour your raspberry coulis into a squeeze bottle. They usually carry squeeze bottles at Dollar Tree, in case you don’t happen to have one at home. If you don’t have access to a squeeze bottle, you could spoon your coulis into a large Ziplock bag and snip a very small hole off the bottom corner of the bag.
You might want to practice your first dot on a plate or piece of wax paper. I should have done that because my first two dots look more like splotches than dots, but live and learn. Start from the outside edge of the pan and make dots evenly spaced in a swirl pattern with your dots getting smaller as you work your way to the center of the pan.
To make them look like hearts, take a toothpick or wooden skewer, and starting with the center dot, drag the toothpick through the dots going in a reverse swirl pattern all the way back to the first dot on the outside of the pan. DO NOT stop dragging the toothpick once you have started, until you get to the very last dot.
time to bake
Bake the cheesecake for a little over an hour, until the edges look set and the center jiggles a little. Turn off the oven and keep the cheesecake in it for 2 more hours. Finally, take the cheesecake from the oven and remove the foil from the pan. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 2 hours before serving. When ready to serve, remove the outside of the springform pan and slice using a hot knife. Add some of the coulis to the dessert plates in a decorative pattern of your choice.
My mouth is literally watering right now just thinking about how delicious this cheesecake is with the light lemon flavor, the tart raspberry coulis and the chocolate cookie crust. If you don’t like a lemon cheesecake (what’s wrong with you!), you can substitute with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract instead.
I hope you try this recipe. It’s a bit of a process, but isn’t your Valentine’s Day dessert supposed to be a labor of love? If you make the cheesecake, let me know in the comments section what you think of it or if you have any questions.
Have a great week and celebrate with some cheesecake!
enjoy the recipe
- 6 tbls unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tbls sugar
- 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (if using Oreos, scrape out the filling with a butter knife and use only the chocolate cookie portions)
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbls corn starch
- 1 tbls water
- 12 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tbls sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbls lemon juice
- zest from 1 lemon
To Prepare Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8" springform pan with PAM cooking spray.
- Pulse chocolate cookies in food processor until you have fine crumbs. Combine cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl and mix until all crumbs are wet.
- Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Lower the oven to 280 F.
To Prepare Raspberry Coulis
- In a medium saucepan, heat the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice until the raspberries are thawed and have softened. Mash the raspberries using a potato masher or fork, and then puree with a hand immersion blender or blend in a food processor.
- Strain the raspberry mixture over a wire sieve/strainer to remove most of the seeds. Clean the saucepan and return the raspberry mixture to the pan over medium heat.
- Combine the corn starch and water in a small bowl to create a slurry. When the raspberry mixture comes to a low boil, add the corn starch mixture to it, whisking constantly while adding it. Let it boil for a few minutes to thicken it up.
- Remove the raspberry coulis from heat and cool in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
To Create Cheesecake Filling
- Add softened cream cheese to a food processor and process until smooth.
- Add sour cream, egg, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until smooth and fully combined. Continue to scrape the bowl with a spatula and process again until there are no lumps in the mixture.
To Assemble Cheesecake
- Prepare cheesecake for baking in a water bath by tightly wrapping the outside of the springform pan with at least 2 layers of foil. Spread the cheesecake batter on top of the cookie crust. Lightly jiggle the pan or tap it on the counter to release any air bubbles from the batter.
- Pour the raspberry coulis into a squeeze bottle. Drop small dots into a swirl pattern over the cheesecake batter, starting with larger dots on the outside and make the dots smaller as you work your way towards the middle. Save the extra coulis for serving with the finished cheesecake.
- Take a toothpick or wooden skewer and drag it through the center of each dot, beginning with the center dot and working your way towards the outer dots in a spiral pattern. Once you start, do not lift the toothpick until you get to the very last dot.
- Place the cheesecake into a pan that is slightly bigger than the springform pan and place them into the oven. Carefully pour hot water halfway up the sides of the outside of the springform pan.
- Bake at 280 F for 60 to 65 minutes, until the edges look set and the center jiggles just slightly. Turn the oven off and keep the cheesecake in the oven for 2 hours longer.
- Remove cheesecake from oven and from the water bath. Take the foil off the pan and let it finish cooling in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Remove the sides of the pan. Use a hot knife to cut cheesecake into slices, and place each slice on a dessert plate. Use the squeeze bottle to add extra raspberry coulis in a pattern around the slice of cheesecake.
You can substitute frozen strawberries for the raspberries if you prefer, but the raspberries give a deeper red color, and I think the tartness of the raspberries is a nicer contrast with the cheesecake.