Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Did Someone Say Cheesecake?

Everyone has that one magical dish, that one thing in their culinary arsenal that they love the most above all of their other dishes. Maybe it is a pie recipe passed down from generation to generation, or the first REAL food you made after leaving home. For me, it is the first thing I learned to cook that was more complicated than scrambling eggs. That one magical dish, my friends, is cheesecake. When I was younger, I wanted to learn how to bake something with lots of ingredients and that might one day have the potential to be on par with the wonderful pies my father makes. So my mother found a recipe for us to try, a recipe aptly named The Ultimate Cheesecake, and with that I found my magical dish. That first cheesecake was pretty good, but there was plenty of room for improvement. Since then, I have made a few adjustments, and I think I have about got it right.

So last week I go talked into making one of my cheesecakes for a baby shower my fiance was attending, and decided to try something I haven't made before and made a lime flavored cheesecake for the event. There was a little bit of trial and error; we had a disastrous trial run with a sugar cookie crust that caused me to have to scrap the whole operation and start again from scratch. After that, we were off and running, and came out with a delicious, sweet and slightly tangy cake that was a hit at the baby shower. Here's what we came up with. Have fun with it.

Lime Cheesecake

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar

5 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (more or less, to taste) fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tablespoons lime zest (more or less to taste)

Crust: Preheat oven to 375 deg. In a bowl, use a fork to mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar with the butter until moistened. Pour into 10 inch spring form pan. Using fork and your fingers, press the mixture evenly over bottom and sides of the pan. The crust should reach the top of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Filling: Increase oven temp to 450 deg. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat sugar, flour, vanilla and cream cheese until blended. It will help immensely if you start cutting up the cream cheese with a rubber spatula before moving to the mixer. Beat in eggs and egg yolks one at a time, waiting until each egg is beaten in before adding the next. Beat batter until smooth. Beat in cream. In small increments, add the lime juice and lime zest to the batter. Taste batter as you go and make adjustments with the lime juice and zest as needed. For a better texture, fold the batter for a few minutes with a spatula, letting more air into the mix. The lime juice may make the batter thin, but it will cook and set just fine. It just may take a few extra minutes in the oven.

Pour filling into prepared pan, bake for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 250 deg. Bake one hour, or until center is set but not firm. Use a toothpick to test the center of the cheesecake and make sure it is not liquidy. Remove to cool on a rack for about an hour. Place cheesecake in the refrigerator over night for the best results.

When you are about ready to serve the cheesecake, sprinkle the top with lime zest and ring the edge with lime wedges. ENJOY!


Cinnamon red said...

Hi Joel! Great recipe, I finally made it and it is delicious!! Do you have other cheesecake recipes that you posted?