This incredible cheesecake says, “special occasion” like no other. With a delightedly salty-sweet, crunchy pretzel crust (which balances its tangy filling perfectly) holding layers of pink lemonade curd and pink lemonade cheesecake, all of which is topped off with a striking pile of meringue, this dessert is nothing short of fabulous. That said, making this cake isn’t nearly as difficult as it appears. Both the filling and crust are made by whizzing together a few ingredients in the food processor. If your crust seems a little crumbly—don’t worry, that’s perfect; it will firm up beautifully after baking and cooling. We find the meringue to be a wow-worthy finishing touch, but if you opted to skip this element, your cheesecake is still going to be delicious. However, if you go all out and pile on the meringue, do note that it will begin to weep if you leave the cake standing out at room temperature for too long. So just be sure to pop any remaining cheesecake back into the fridge when you’re finished slicing and serving.
8 ounces miniature pretzels (about 5 cups)
3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup, plus 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
2/3 cup prepared lemon curd
3 drops pink liquid food coloring, divided
19 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup pink lemonade drink mix (such as Country Time)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
8 large egg whites
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper, and grease parchment. Process pretzels in a food processor until finely ground, about 2 minutes. Transfer ground pretzels to a bowl, and stir in butter and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes.
Stir together lemon curd and 1 drop of the food coloring. Spread evenly over bottom of chilled crust. Chill until ready to use.
Process cream cheese, pink lemonade mix, eggs, cream, vanilla, and remaining 2 drops pink food coloring in food processor until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture evenly over lemon curd in crust. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 1 hour.
Turn oven off, and crack open oven door to let cheesecake cool slowly, about 1 hour. Transfer cheesecake to refrigerator, and cool completely, 6 to 8 hours.
Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Dollop meringue over cooled cheesecake, and spread into stiff peaks. Lightly char with a blowtorch, or broil until lightly charred, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.