Growing up in an Italian family, my grandfather always stressed the importance of your word being your bond. As promised, I am back today with some sub-par pictures and quite extraordinary recipe for a key lime cheesecake. Grandpa Ted would be proud. He has always had the biggest sweet tooth in the family. I guess that means I come in second place! This cheesecake, as mentioned in the last post, was for my buddy Luke. When I asked him what he wanted me to bake him for his birthday, he was torn between a cheesecake and a key lime pie. Naturally, the best answer was to combine the two. Who cares if it's November! Off I went to Harris Teeter to collect all the necessary ingredients, plus some amazing vegan eggnog that I was determined to combine with Goldschlager and Cafe Rica (coffee liqueur from Costa Rica) as soon as the baking began.

With my almost Christmas-like cocktail in hand, I set up my iPod dock in the kitchen, set my playlist, and got to baking a summer-like dessert.. and I think it's fall? Who knows..

Key Lime Cheesecake

You will need a springform pan. Just go ahead and buy one. It's worth it.

For the crust:

2 c graham crackers crushed
1/4 c turbinado sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter melted

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Add the crushed graham crackers to a bowl with the sugar. Pour the melted butter on top and mix until crumbly and combined. Press the crust mixture onto the bottom of the springform pan. You can go up on the sides a bit if you like, but I like to just have it on the bottom so it's a little thicker.

Bake for 8-10 minutes then let it cool completely. In this time you can go ahead and make the filling.

For the filling:

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 1/4 c sugar
6 large eggs, separated
8 oz sour cream
1 1/2 tsp key lime zest
1/2 c key lime juice

Beat the cream cheese with a hand held mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat the cream mixture. If the cream cheese is room temperature this is all a LOT easier... Just sayin'..

Separate your eggs. Add the yolks one at a time while the mixer is going. Add in the sour cream, lime zest, and juice. If you like your cheesecake really dense, just beat until combined. I like mine to have a lighter, airy texture, so I continue to beat mine much longer than needed to add the air inside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Yes, it takes longer than I'd like it to, but it's worth it. When stiff peaks form, FOLD it into the cheesecake mixture.

Pour the mix on top of the cooled crust in the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it sit for another 15 minutes. Pop it in the fridge overnight for better results.

So that's it! You're welcome.

Oh and make sure to listen to this song while you're baking:

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