Key Lime Cheesecake

After making Coconut & Lime Cupcakes last week to celebrate Cinco de Mayo I had quite a few key limes left over. While I normally would just whip up a delicious Key Lime Pie I opted to go a different route and used the key limes to create a Key Lime Cheesecake making a few adjustments – mainly adding in some key lime juice and zest – to the deliciously creamy and not overly sweet cheesecake I made in honor of Pi Day a few months ago.

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I wasn’t sure how much lime juice and zest to add to achieve the perfect balance in flavor. I figured a safe bet would be a 1/4 cup of juice and a teaspoon of the zest and luckily it was the perfect amount. Since I added both prior to mixing in the eggs I was able to do a quick taste test to ensure it would be the right amount.

And after letting the cheesecake cool and removing it from the springform pan, I decided to make some candied lime slices to decorate the top of it to give the cheesecake a little extra pizazz.

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Overall, this cheesecake was amazing! Those were the words a few of my friends used after trying it and I must admit it was quite delicious; the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess and incredibly creamy. And you can never go wrong with a homemade graham cracker crust!

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Key Lime Cheese Cake – modified from here

Ingredients:

18 graham crackers (2 sleeves)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar

3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup key lime juice

1 teaspoon key lime zest

2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a food processor pulse the graham crackers until fine crumbs form. Add the butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and pulse to combine. Press the mixture on the bottom and 2-inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add the key lime juice and zest and then add 1 cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake until just set (the center will be slightly wobbly), 50 to 60 minutes.

3. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1 cup of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Spread over the hot cheesecake, then bake until set, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature in pan, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Run a knife around the edge of cheesecake before unmolding.

Candied Limes

Ingredients: 

3 limes, sliced thin

1 cup water

1 cup sugar, plus a few tablespoons to coat the candied slices

Directions:

1. Blanch the lime slices. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile prepare an ice water bath. Once the water is boiling add the lime slices and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain the slices and place them in the ice water bath.

2. In the same pot bring the cup of water and sugar to a simmer and then add the lime slices and simmer them until the pith of the limes become translucent, then transfer the lime slices to a wire rack so they can cool and dry. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper below the wire rack just in case the limes begin to drip..

3. Once the limes are dry, at least an hour, pour a few tablespoons of sugar into a shallow bowl and press both sides of the lime slices into the sugar.

Coconut & Lime Cupcakes

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s the perfect day to enjoy some guacamole, a few tacos, a shot of tequila or a nice cold margarita. That brings me to today’s post. I’ve made some delicious treats in honor of this day in the past – churros, tres leches cupcakesMexican wedding cookies and sopapilla cheesecake – and this year I was thinking of making Margarita Cupcakes. But, since I didn’t have any tequila on hand (all the recipes I came across had this margarita staple in the ingredient list) I opted for something non-alcoholic and just as festive… Coconut & Lime Cupcakes – a coconut cupcake with a key lime cream cheese frosting.

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To begin I made the coconut cupcakes… In the bowl of my stand mixer I mixed together sugar and butter until it was light and fluffy – about 5 minutes on medium speed.

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I then reduced the speed to low and added in three eggs – one at a time.

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Next I added in buttermilk, and a sifted mixture of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I alternated between adding the two beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Oh, and can I just take a moment to say that I love this silicone bowl to add things into my running mixer. It’s completely flexible so I can form it into the perfect shape to pour the flour into the bowl and not have it fly all over the place. I used to use a pouring shield but I always had the flying flour issue with it. Check out this link if you have been searching for the perfect bowl to add dry ingredients to your batter while mixing.

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Once the batter came together I folded in sweetened shredded coconut.

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And finally, using an ice cream scoop I divided the mixture among a 12-cup paper lined muffin pan and baked it in a 325 F preheated oven for 25 minutes.

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Once they were out of the oven, I let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them and letting them cool completely on a wire rack in preparation for frosting them.

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After letting the cupcakes cool I got to working on the frosting – a key lime cream cheese frosting that has the perfect combination of sweetness and citrus flavor. I began by creaming together cream cheese, butter, key lime juice and key lime zest until it was creamy. Next I added in 2 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time – mixing well after each cup. Just to note, if want more of a lime flavor you can add more of the lime juice, but, you may have to balance that with more confectioners’ sugar since you don’t want your frosting to become too thinned down. Prior to frosting the cupcakes I popped the frosting in the fridge for about 10 – 15 minutes so the frosting would be firmer to pipe with.

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And after frosting each of the cupcakes I sprinkled them with a bit of lime zest.

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Coconut Cupcakes – Adapted from here

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium speed. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl down after each addition. Add in the vanilla and almonds extracts and mix well.

4. In three parts, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the coconut.

5. Fill each cup of the muffin pan to the top – an ice cream scoop is the perfect size to fill the cups. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are slightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice

1 teaspoon key lime zest

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

Cream together the cream cheese, butter, key lime juice and zest until creamy. Add in the sugar, one cup at a time, and continue mixing until all of the sugar is incorporated. If you find that the frosting is too soft, pop it into the refrigerator for a few minutes so it can firm up before using it.

Key Lime Pie Revisited

I made Key Lime Pie for the first time last year when I came across the small limes while grocery shopping. I picked them up having only tried Key Lime Pie once and not caring for it and unsure how easy or difficult the pie would be to make. A quick call to friend and a Google search later let me know it wouldn’t be all that bad. And after my second tasting of Key Lime Pie I was hooked. Unfortunately key limes aren’t something that are readily available in my area throughout the year so I haven’t gotten to enjoy the pie since last year. Granted, I have seen key lime juice in the baking aisle of my local supermarket, but, I have a feeling that using the bottled juice just won’t taste the same as the freshly squeezed version. During a recent shopping trip I came across the limes once again and without hesitation I bought a bag and made another Key Lime Pie and just wanted to share the recipe with you all once again.

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Key Lime Pie

Ingredients

1 9-inch graham cracker pie shell

1/2 cup key lime juice (approximately 12 key limes)

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

4 egg yolks

Grated lime zest of one lime

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2) Whisk together the four eggs yolks until pale and fluffy

3) Gradually add in the condensed milk and continue mixing until the mixture becomes light and fluffy

4) Add in the lime juice and finally the lime zest.

5) Pour the filling into the graham cracker pie shell and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set.

6) Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack and then cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

7) Decorate with whipped cream or save for serving and drop heaping spoonfuls of whipped cream on each slice.

 

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Whip cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add in the vanilla extract and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

Freshly Squeezed Key Lime Pie

They say you should never go to the supermarket hungry and I think the same should be said when your creative baking juices are running wild. Living in New York it’s extremely rare to see key limes at my local supermarket but during a recent trip I found just that… three lonely bags of key limes and I immediately thought why not make a key lime pie (I should note that prior to this I had only tried it once and didn’t care for it since I couldn’t taste the lime). I put a bag in my shopping cart and then called a friend to see if she knew anything about making one – I wasn’t sure how many limes I needed and wondered whether or not it required any oddball ingredients. She did a quick Google search for me and it turned out that it wasn’t all that difficult and the ingredients were all ones that I already had home – except for the key limes of course.

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Once I got home I did a few Google searches of my own to find the perfect recipe to follow. I decided on one that I found on the website the Joy of Baking. But then the following morning as I was getting ready to start making the filling I noticed that there was a recipe right on the bag of the key limes so I decided to combine the two of the recipes to make the filling.

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I knew that I needed a 1/2 cup of key lime juice, but, I wasn’t too sure how many limes I would need to squeeze to get that amount. From looking at recipe online I got all different numbers ranging from 12 – 20. I decided to start on the smaller side and opted to start off with slicing and squeezing 10 limes. Prior to slicing the limes rolled them to make sure I would get the most juice out of them.

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After squeezing the 10 limes I had just about a 1/2 cup of juice.

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Since I did have pulp and seeds in the juice I strained it using sieve. My sieve also doubles as sifter from time to time. In all honesty they are both one in the same.

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After straining it I was just shy of a 1/2 cup.

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So, I rolled, sliced and squeezed 2 more limes which got me exactly to a 1/2 cup. I wised up this time and squeezed the limes over the sieve so I wouldn’t have to strain out any pulp or seeds.

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Along with the lime juice I also needed 4 egg yolks, a can of sweetened condensed milk and the zest of one regular lime to make the pie.

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I also needed a pie crust… I cheated and opted to use a Keebler Graham Ready Crust instead of making one myself. I figured squeezing the limes was enough work… LOL!

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To begin I used the whisk attachment of my stand mixer and whisked together the eggs yolks.

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I then slowly added in the sweetened condensed milk.

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Then the freshly squeezed lime juice.

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And finally I added in the lime zest.

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Here’s what the filling looked like prior to being poured into the pie crust.

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As you can see the filling barely filled the pie crust. Which I didn’t mind since it meant that I wouldn’t have to worry about it overflowing into my oven while it baked and more importantly it meant that there would be enough space for a whipped cream topping!

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After baking for a mere 15 minutes it was ready to come out of the oven. I let it cool on the wire rack for a bit and then placed it in the refrigerator so it could cool.

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Once it was in the refrigerator for at least two hours I started working on the whipped cream frosting. It’s a basic recipe… one cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar whipped until stiff peaks form.

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Using my favorite Wilton  tip -1M – (my favorite because I don’t need to use a coupler on the decorating bag for it, it creates a nice sized star for decorating and you can use it to create a nice swirl topping on cupcakes) I decorated the top of the pie with dropped stars. I started by adding stars around the outer perimeter of the pie and then for the second round I placed the stars in between the stars from round one and continued that for the remaining rounds.

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The pie was delicious… Definitely something I will make again.

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Key Lime Pie*

Ingredients

1 9-inch graham cracker pie shell

1/2 cup key lime juice (approximately 12 key limes)

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

4 egg yolks

Grated lime zest of one lime

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2) Whisk together the four eggs yolks until pale and fluffy

3) Gradually add in the condensed milk and continue mixing until the mixture becomes light and fluffy

4) Add in the lime juice and finally the lime zest.

5) Pour the filling into the graham cracker pie shell and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set.

6) Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack and then cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

7) Decorate with whipped cream or save for serving and drop heaping spoonfuls of whipped cream on each slice.

*Recipe is a combination of the Key Lime Pie recipes from Joy of Baking and Susie Key Limes.

 

Whipped Cream

Ingredients

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Using a whisk attachment on an electric mixer beat the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.