This month I’ve prepared cheesecakes for two of my friends. My friend Monica loves cheesecake so I made a cherry topped cheesecake for her birthday. Last week JT celebrated his birthday, so I combined two of his favorite desserts, key lime pie and cheesecake, and presented him with a fabulous Key Lime Cheesecake. I’m sharing that recipe with you today.
Normally, I prefer not to pull out my cheesecake recipes because conditions need to be just right in order for cheesecakes to turn out perfectly. In my opinion, the perfect cheesecake is rich and creamy, white and smooth, crustless (no graham crackers for me!), and free of cracks. To create such a flawless cheesecake, I find that several precautions must be taken.
- Do not overmix the batter. Overmixing adds too much air to the batter and results in unsightly air bubbles, weird textures, and deep cracks. As you mix, use a low speed and simply mix long enough to combine ingredients well.
- Be sure that the cream cheese is softened. If the cream cheese is too hard, you may end up overmixing the batter in an attempt to smooth out the lumps.
- Keep still as the cheesecake bakes. Cheesecake is very delicate and vibrations it experiences while baking can result in cracks or sunken centers. While the cheesecake is baking, refrain from banging cabinet doors, opening the oven too soon, or running across the the kitchen floor.
- Bake the cheesecake in a water bath to help it bake gently and evenly. Create a water bath by sitting the filled spring form pan inside a larger pan and adding enough hot water to reach halfway up the side of the spring form pan. Just be sure to wrap the bottom and sides of the spring form pan with a couple layers of foil so water cannot seep into the pan.
- Do not overbake the cheesecake. Figuring out when cheesecake is done can be tricky. Even when a cheesecake is done, it may look undone. The cheesecake is actually done when the center is still a bit jiggly or wobbly.
Key Lime Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl stir together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar, then stir in the butter well. Pat the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a buttered 10-inch spring form pan. Bake the crust in the oven for 8 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool.
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup key lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream, flour, lime juice and vanilla. Beat the mixture until it is smooth.
Pour the filling over the crust. Bake the cheesecake in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes more or until center is barely set. Let the cheesecake cool on a rack and then chill it, covered, overnight.
© 2009, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.