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Key Lime Cheesecake

In Cake, Cheese, Custards / Puddings, Dessert, Eggs, Fruit, Lime, Recipe
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Peyton, who is once again on a pescatarian kick having given up eating all red meats while off at camp this summer, recently returned home after a six week absence, so a special meal was in order.  As a huge fan of Asian food, sushi in particular, working up some appetizers and a main meal was pretty straight forward.  We started with some fried crab spring rolls and "Wagamama" gyoza, then moved onto a fabulous rice salad with oranges and mangoes, and an awesome Thai dish called shrimp larb that we served up with a tasty cabbage and green bean salad.

As I have absolutely ZERO experience in crafting Asian desserts, when it came time to think of something sweet with which to end the meal, I decided to drift from our Asian theme and instead seek a recipe with flavors that would work with all the food proceeding, and be fresh and light in keeping with the weight of the meal.  Hearing that she had wept upon learning that she missed the groovy "Lime Cheesecake Ice Cream" that we had made and devoured in her absence, I decided that a more traditional take on these flavors would be a big hit with her.  As pretty much every dish and sauce that we crafted for the meal used lime as an ingredient, a lime cheesecake would also tie nicely with all the flavors we'd enjoyed before.

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I made this beauty again just this past weekend as a birthday cake for our friend Cynthia who is a key lime fiend and it turned out even better.  The reason?  When I made it for Peyton I wrapped the spring form pan in three layers of 12 inch wide aluminum foil, which is the standard size sold in most grocery stores, and as careful as I was to wrap it tightly, some of the water seeped through a seam in the foil and into the mold and moistened the crust.  When I made it for Cyn, I picked up an 18 inch wide roll, wrapped it three times with no overlapping seams et voila, a perfectly crisp crust that takes this delight to a whole new level.

This cheesecake really packs a citrus punch, the result of both lime juice and lime zest in two of the three layers of the cake.  The first layer, a lime curd is over the top puckery-sweet, but is tempered by the layer of lime cheesecake above and the sweetened sour cream layer that tops it all off.  Not only do the three layers deliver the perfect balance of tart, sweet creaminess, but they make for a beautiful slice on the plate as well.

Cheers - Steve


Key Lime Cheesecake

by: Jeanne Thiel Kelley | Bon Appetit Magazine, October 2006

(Print Friendly Version)



Lime Custard:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons key lime juice (or regular lime juice)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel


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


  • 2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons key lime juice (or regular lime juice)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime peel
  • 1 - 16 ounce container of sour cream



for the lime custard:

  1. Whisk all ingredients in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until the custard thickens and boils for 30 seconds to 1 minute, about 8 minutes total.  Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (mixture will thicken).

for the crust:

  1. Heat the oven to 350℉.  Wrap 3 layers of foil around the outside of a 8-8 1/2 inch spring form pan with 3 inch high sides.  Butter pan.  Stir first 3 ingredients to blend in a medium bowl.  Mix in the mutter until moistened.  Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the side of the pan.  bake until just set, about 5 minutes.  Cool completely.  Maintain oven temperature.

for the filling:

  1. 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 a large baking pan.  Add  enough hot water to baking pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the spring form pan.  bake until almost set but not puffed, and center moves slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stir sour cream and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl to blend.
  3. Carefully spoon the sour cream mixture over the hot cheesecake; smooth top.  bake until the topping sets, about 10 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the sides of the 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.

Serves 10-12



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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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