We invited some friends over for dinner last week and the weather was frightfully hot. Temperatures were extremely humid and over 100 degrees all week. My immediate thought was, “something cool, that I don’t have to make in my kitchen.” We live in a very old house, I think it was built around 1880, this means that we don’t have central air. It was a major point of consideration before we purchased the house but in the end it’s charm won us over. We have several window units that cool our house surprisingly well, but the kitchen is always hot. I don’t have a unit in the kitchen itself due to the lack of a good window and as soon as I begin using the oven or the stove, forget it.
I decided on a menu of ribs (that I could marinate the night before and Eric could grill), salad and corn on the cob picked up on the way home from the road side stand. Another point to take into consideration when creating a menu when it’s hot and humid, the heat tends to curb the appetite; keep it simple and cool. In going with the cool theme, I choose to make a key lime cheesecake for dessert.
I’ve made this recipe successfully before and love the subtle taste of lime combined with layers of flavor and the smooth rich cheesecake. The recipe is from Epicurious.com.
To start the cheesecake, make the lime custard. Combine the eggs, sugar, lime zest and lime juice in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Stir the mixture constantly until it begins to boil, continue stirring while it boils for 30 seconds. Your arm will hurt after this, you have to stir constantly for about 10 minutes; it’s worth it, I promise.
Take the custard off the heat once it has thickened.
Place custard in a small bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
It’s time to make your crust. Melt the butter and pour it into the mixture of sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Mix it well until it looks like wet sand, I like to use a fork to mix it.
Press all of the graham cracker mixture into the springform pan so that it’s even and comes up the sides an inch or so. Bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
Now for the filling. Using an electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lime zest and lime juice until smooth and well mixed.
Before filling the crust, wrap the pan in 3 layers of tin foil. This helps to seal the pan from the water that you bake it in.
Find your custard, which should have thickened even more by now.
Spread the custard into the crust evenly.
Spread the cream cheese filling on top of the custard evenly.
Bake the cheesecake in a water bath (place your cheesecake pan in a larger lipped pan with about an inch of water in it) for 45 minutes.
While the cheesecake is in the oven, whisk together sour cream and sugar until smooth. When the cheesecake is slightly firm in the center, after the first 45 minutes, spread the sour cream mixture over the top evenly and bake for another 10 minutes.
Once you take the cheesecake out of the oven, run a knife around the outside to loosen it and then chill in the fridge overnight.
To serve, unhinge your springform pan and run a knife around the outside again. Gently, lift the sides of the pan off. Place onto your favorite serving plate and top with a slice of lime.
The cheesecake tasted exactly how I wanted and was a cool and delicious end to a great meal!
Here’s the full recipe from Epicurious.com:
Key Lime Cheesecake
- 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
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).
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.
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.