Monday, December 14, 2009

Key Lime Cheesecake

Yum. Yummy.

I don't have much else to say about this. Truly. It's easy. Much easier than it looks with all those steps you'll see below. It's waaayyy more delicious than the Key Lime Pie I made about a year ago. Each of the three layers has its own wonderful texture and flavor and they combine into a perfectly textured, perfectly tart and complex treat.

I was given the advice several years ago that cheesecakes should only ever be mixed by hand. That it makes for a more dense, less airy filling. I followed that advice exactly once. Too many sore muscles and too many blisters later, I realized that I could use my Kitchenaid for a shorter (and less strenuous) process, with just as delicious of a product. IMO. I just don't beat the crap out of it. I beat it until everything is combined and then STOP. This recipe calls for the filling to be put together in a food processor. Which, obviously, is even faster than the Kitchenaid, but I didn't really like that method. I felt like I had less control over what was going on in the bowl, and then when I realized there was still some liquid in the bottom, I couldn't really stir it all together like I can in my mixer bowl. So, that's the only thing I would change, if I were to change anything about this recipe.

Here it is:

Key Lime Cheesecake *or click here for printable version*
Bon Appétit | October 2006
by Jeanne Thiel Kelley

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Reminiscent of Sara Lee's 1950s-era graham-cracker and sour-cream cheesecake, this version features a thick layer of delicious sour cream atop the creamy filling and tart Key lime custard.

Lime custard

6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice or regular lime juice
1 teaspoon grated Key lime peel or regular lime peel

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 whole graham crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice or regular lime juice
1 tablespoon grated Key lime peel or regular lime peel

1 16-ounce container sour cream

Thin lime slices

For lime custard

Whisk all ingredients in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until custard thickens and boils for 30 seconds, about 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (mixture will thicken).

For crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap 3 layers of foil around outside of 8- to 8 1/2-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Butter pan. Stir first 3 ingredients to blend in medium bowl. Mix in butter until moistened. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Maintain oven temperature.

For filling
Place cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, eggs, lime juice, and lime peel in processor; blend well.
Spoon custard into crust; smooth top. Carefully spoon filling over. Set cheesecake in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to baking pan to come 1 inch up sides of cheesecake pan. Bake until almost set but not puffed and center moves slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir sour cream and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl to blend.

Carefully spoon sour cream mixture over hot cheesecake; smooth top. Bake until topping sets, about 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Cool cheesecake completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Do ahead Can be made 2 days ahead.

Keep refrigerated. Release pan sides from cheesecake; transfer to platter. Garnish with lime slices and serve.

Oh, AND, I read some of the comments on the recipe and, based on those, decided not to cook it in a water bath. Instead, I put a pan of water in the oven beneath the cheesecake. It's the first time I've tried that and, lo and behold--no cracking! Miraculous.

TGIP Rating--Key Lime Cheesecake--KEEPER!

Next up: Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies. The BAKED boys are featured in the December issue of Food & Wine Magazine. As possibly their biggest fan this side of the Mississippi, I am compelled to try every recipe they publish.

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