Thursday, February 28, 2008

Key Lime Cheesecake

Well, after Saturday night's dinner I knew I had to host dinner here for Steve and Sue on Sunday. I didn't want the typical Key Lime Pie - I wanted something a little more elegant. This cheesecake was the answer!

Some tips:

- use the proper size springform pan. Mine was too big.

- use a non-stick springform pan. Mine was an older one and it left a bit of discoloration and metallic taste on the bottom edges of the crust.

- don't skip on the custard! This is where the cake gets its zing. Adding too much lime juice to the cheese mixture would prevent it from setting properly (due to too much acid) so this "intense flavor layer" is the way to go.

- Key lime juice is sold in the canned juice aisle of your grocery store. I would not bother squeezing those expensive tiny hard key limes. I might break a Lee Press-on nail.

- I think I could adapt this for lemon or even orange if I wanted to. Perhaps mango as well?


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:

1. 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:

2. 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:

3. Place cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, eggs, lime juice, and lime peel in processor; blend well.

4. 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.
For topping:

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

6. 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.