Thursday, April 8, 2010

No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake

So I'm a bit of a liar. This isn't exactly, completely no-bake. The crust is baked for 6 minutes. However, you could skip baking it if you want. I bake it only because I like a bit of crunch to it to contrast the creaminess of everything else, and because it holds up a little better (meaning it doesn't crumble away the second you stick a fork in it).

This takes about 30 minutes to make, but looks like it took a lot longer. I love that .

So some of you may be wondering why I put juice into the crust. It's because adding more than 1/2 c of juice to the filling throws off the ratio, making it too runny. However, you really want that extra juice for flavor (a good key lime pie is a tangy one). So I decided I'd compensate what I had to leave out of the filling by adding it to the crust. That in turn meant I had to use less butter than I normally would have (6 Tbsp). In the end, it all worked out perfectly.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I imagine I'll be making this a lot more.

No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
(Makes 1 9" cheesecake)

For the crust:
1 c finely ground graham crackers (about 1 package. A food processor makes this simple)
4 Tbsp melted butter (1/2 stick)
2 Tbsp key lime or lime juice

For the filling:
12oz cream cheese (about a package and a half, softened)
1/2 c key lime or lime juice
1/2 c heavy whipping cream (whipped)
1/3 c white sugar (I actually used slightly less, so as not to negate the tanginess of the lime)
Lime wedges (optional, for garnish)

For the whipped cream:
1 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Make the crust: Preheat your oven to 350. Mix the graham crumbs and sugar, then slowly add the butter and juice (again, a food processor is great for this, but a whisk works just as well). Dump the mix into the middle of a standard pie plate (or pie tin, just not deep dish, unless you change the ingredient amounts accordingly). Make sure to get the crust as far up the sides as you can. Bakes for 6 minutes. Cool completely.

Make the filling: First, whip the cream (put the cream into a smaller mixing bowl and beat it on medium speed until it's stiff. Be careful not to over-beat, or it will break down). Set the bowl aside. In a larger mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, sugar, and lime juice until smooth and creamy. Carefully fold in the whipped cream.

Make the whipped cream topping: Beat the cream on medium until it's almost stiff. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue until stiff.

Put it all together:  Spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust and spread it out evenly. Use a pastry bag (or a Ziploc with a small snip of corner cut off) to pipe whipped cream on in the design of your choice. Put the pie in the freezer for 30 minutes (to do a quick-set), then cover with foil or a pie lid and put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Garnish with the lime wedges if you want (just do it after the freezer stage).

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