For the crust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch cake pan with the baking spray and line with parchment paper, allowing at least 2 inches of overhang on the two long sides. Lightly coat the parchment with the baking spray.
Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor or gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Add the melted butter and pulse until evenly moistened. Press the mixture about 1 inch up the sides of the prepared cake pan, then press to cover the bottom evenly. Bake until the edges just become golden and the crust is fragrant, 8 to 9 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
For the filling: Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
Use your fingers to rub together the sugar, lemon zest and salt in a small bowl until the mixture is fragrant. Gradually add the sugar mixture to the cream cheese on low speed, then raise the speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl, then beat for another few seconds to combine.
Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla on low speed until combined. Mix in half of the beaten eggs and until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and paddle well and then mix in the remaining half of the beaten eggs on low speed just until combined.
Pour the batter over the freshly baked warm crust and spread smooth. Place the lemon curd in a resealable plastic bag and snip a corner. Pipe lines of the lemon curd across the batter (alternately, spoon small dollops of curd across the batter.) Use a toothpick to swirl the curd and batter together slightly.
Place the baking pan in a slightly larger baking pan or roasting pan. Place in the center of the oven. Very carefully pour about 1 inch of steaming hot water into the larger pan to create a water bath. Gently slide the oven rack back in place and close the door. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake until the center barely jiggles, 42 to 45 minutes. The temperature at the center of the cheesecake should be about 150 degrees F.
Once baked, turn off the oven, prop open the door and allow the cheesecake to cool down inside the oven for 45 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely before refrigerating for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve, use the parchment overhang to pull the cheesecake out of the pan. Peel down the sides of the parchment and cut into 24 bars. Serve immediately or store tightly covered for up to 3 days.
Tools You May Need
Tools You May Need
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