1. Preheat the oven:
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
2. Make the Crust:
- In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan to create the crust. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Allow it to cool.
3. Prepare the Cheesecake Filling:
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Mix in the sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Pour the filling over the cooled crust.
4. Bake the Cheesecake:
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 50-60 minutes or until the center is set. Let it cool in the oven with the door ajar for about an hour, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
5. Make the Lemon Curd Topping:
- In a saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in water until smooth.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
- Boil for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat. Gradually whisk about a cup of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, then return the mixture to the saucepan.
- Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Allow it to cool.
6. Spread the Lemon Curd over the Cheesecake:
- Once both the cheesecake and lemon curd are cooled, spread the lemon curd over the top of the cheesecake.
7. Make the Meringue:
- In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating.
- Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla extract.
8. Finish the Cheesecake:
- Preheat the broiler. Spread the meringue over the lemon curd, making sure to seal the edges.
- Place the cheesecake under the broiler for just a minute or two until the meringue is lightly browned. Keep a close eye to avoid burning.
9. Chill and Serve:
- Allow the cheesecake to cool again in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. Slice and enjoy!
This Lemon Meringue Cheesecake is a perfect blend of tangy lemon, creamy cheesecake, and airy meringue, making it a show-stopping dessert for any occasion.