Friday, October 16, 2009

Key Lime Cheesecake

This is by no means a healthy dessert but it is extremely delicious and surprisingly easy. I never really ate cheesecake growing up and I kind of just assumed I didn't like it - boy was I wrong. My boyfriend hates cake (I know, it's hard to believe that anyone could hate cake) but he loves cheesecake which he has since informed me is a pie. I wanted to make some sort of delicious dessert and have a lovely romantic evening with him and so I decided to try out cheesecake. I was searching for a recipe and when I came across this one I knew this was what I had to make - Brad also loves Key Lime Pie, what could be better than both things together?

Let me just make a few notes for those who will attempt this - try to find fresh squeezed key lime juice because squeezing a pound and a half of limes is really time consuming and rather unpleasant. If you can't find fresh squeezed (100% juice - none of this concentrate crap) key lime juice get some key limes and start squeezing.

I found that rolling them on a cutting board first helped make them squeeze easier and cutting them in half around the middle and then quarters was the best way to get the most juice. Anyhow - it's totally worth it and I would make this again in a second... if I could find bottled lime juice.

Key Lime Cheesecake
Adapted from smittenkitchen

For crust

1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (about 8 full graham crackers)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

For filling
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh key lime juice (strained from about 1 1/2 lb Key limes) or bottled
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

Special equipment: a 9- to 9 1/2-inch springform pan

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350°F and butter bottom and side of springform pan.

Stir together crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined, then press evenly onto bottom and one-third up side of pan. Bake crust in middle of oven for 8 minutes and cool in pan on a rack.

Make filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add lime juice, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in flour and salt at low speed, until just incorporated, then add eggs all at once and mix just until incorporated.

Pour filling into crust and set springform pan in a shallow baking pan or on a cookie sheet to catch the drips. Bake cake in middle of oven until set in center, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. It should be visibly set 3 inches in from the edge but the center should still wobble a little. Cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.)

Run a thin knife around edge of cake and remove side of pan. If desired, transfer cake with a large metal spatula to a serving plate.

You can also top this with whipped cream and fresh mango slices but I couldn't find mangoes and forgot to buy whipping cream - it didn't lack sweetness or flavor at all - more information on how to do this can be found in the original recipe.

*Next time I might double the crust - Although it was delicious this way I would have enjoyed a little bit more crunch.

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