I’m a big fan of key lime. I like key lime yogurt, pie, ice cream, pound cake, muffins and of course key lime cheesecake! The key lime flavor is so versatile and fresh. It’s fun to play around with new ideas and see what you can come up with. This treat was another creation for Jamison to share with his coworkers. Key Lime Cheesecake is creamy and cool with just the right hint of key lime. Top it with some candied lime peel and/or whipped cream and you’ve got a fantastic dessert!
What You’ll Need for the Crust:
1 sleeve of graham crackers (Note: Any type will work, even the chocolate version. Sometimes I use regular, sometimes I use the chocolate. The chocolate really makes the key lime flavor pop, though the regular graham crackers have their own charm as well.)
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
Spray a 9 inch springform pan with non-stick spray and set aside. Crush graham crackers (the food processor is a very good way to do this), add in butter and sugar and mix or process until sticky crumbs form.
Press into the bottom of the prepared spring form pan. Use the sides and bottom of a glass or measuring cup to ensure that the crust is really presses into the corners and the bottom. Set aside.
What You’ll Need for the Cheesecake:
4 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup of ricotta cheese (Note: Whole milk, part skim or fat free will work. I used part skim.)
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2-1 cup of key lime juice (Note: Use more if you want a really limey taste. Use less if you just want a hint. If you use the full cup increase flour by 1/4 a cup.)
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 F. (Note: This is very important in making cheesecakes. You MUST preheat your oven!)
In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add ricotta, sugar and eggs and beat until smooth. Add lime juice and mix until incorporated. Slowly add flour until just mixed.
Pour batter into the prepared shell and wrap the bottom of the springform pan securely with aluminum foil.
Place cheesecake with foil into a large baking dish and pour hot water into the dish until it reaches 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the pan. Be careful not to get any water into the cheesecake itself.
Bake for 60 minutes.
Turn off oven and place the oven door in the broil position and let the cheesecake sit for an additional 60 minutes in the oven after it has been turned off without moving the cake.
Once it has cooled store in the fridge for at least 3 or 4 hours before serving.
To Make Mini Cheesecakes:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix batter as you would for the big cheesecake.
Line muffin pans with cupcake liners and place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup. Add enough batter to fill the cup 3/4 of the way.
Bake for 15-30 minutes until cheesecakes have set.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.
To Make Candied Citrus Peel:
Remove strips of citrus peel (orange, lemon, lime, etc.) from the fruit with as little pith as possible.
Boil the strips until tender in 1-2 cups of water. Remove from water.
Add in sugar. (Use equal amounts sugar and water. If you started out with one cup of water, then use one cup of sugar.) Let sugar dissolve and then add peels back into the pot. Bring to a slow boil and cook until peels are transparent.
Drain in a single layer with peels not touching. Once dried use as a garnish.
Notes: If you leave out the key lime juice you have a basic cheesecake. You could substitute lemon juice for the key lime juice if key lime isn’t your thing. If you want a green key lime you can add in a few drops of green food color, but key lime juice doesn’t really turn anything green and most likely the best key lime you’ve had in the past was not colored. Also even when using a water bath cracks sometimes happen in making a cheesecake. If they do, don’t sweat it…The cheesecake still tastes delicious and that’s what whipped cream is there for…To cover up those cracks! 😉