This summer has really been a scorcher. In fact, just the other day our state broke its record for 100+ degree days. At just over 50 days (and maybe around 30 days IN A ROW) at a standard temperature of 105 or more, its a record I’d rather not have. It leaves me terrified to even put my dog outside, so I cut it into once an hour where I take him out to go potty, then back into the depths of an air-conditioned home he goes. Honestly, Avery doesn’t seem too bothered by it, he thoroughly enjoys air conditioning. In fact, when we got him from the breeder, we were overwhelmed by a slew of rowdy corgi puppies scampering indoors and out as their poor mother waddled after them, her tubby tummy dragging on the ground.
And then there was our puppy dog, laying on an air conditioning vent, happy as a clam. It was a match made in heaven.
Now he just hogs the AC vent.
So that begs the question; hot or cold? I am pretty cold-blooded, I get too cold very easily. I even get blue fingernails and purple toes, so a lot of times you will see me inside wearing a zip-up hoodie or a jacket, despite it being 100 degrees outside, AC just makes me too dang cold! On the other side, I’d much rather be cold than hot, because when you are cold you can just put on a jacket, a pair of pajama pants, or just settle underneath a warm blankie. When you’re hot, however, there’s pretty much no way out other than eating ice cream or drinking something chilly.
Or you can head to the Florida Keys and eat some Key Lime Pie. Or just stay where you are and have Key Lime Pie or Key Lime Cheesecake, what have you. Every time my dad goes to Tampa or the Keys on business, he always makes an effort to tell us about the Key Lime Pie, that’s his favorite thing! I don’t blame him, I don’t think I’ve been to Florida or than going to Disney World at the ages of 2 and 8, and I’m sure that if I were able to go any time soon (which I most likely can and will, since I’m so dang close!), I will make an executive effort to try an AUTHENTIC Key Lime Pie from the Keys. Until then, I’ll utilize the very nice and cute little key limes that they sell in little netted bags at the Grocery Store. The cute, tiny little limes that literally take me an hour to juice 1 cup out of. The precious, adorable little limes that always make me roar like Reptar out of frustration because the tiny little feller managed to get some juice in a cut that I didn’t even know I had.
The wittle, baby, itty-bitty, little limes that always perk up, without overpowering, fabulous key lime pies or other custard-like desserts in the most lovely of ways.
So I utilized the graham crackers that I had made (two posts ago) and made a graham cracker crust for some Key Lime Cheesecake (a light one, so everyone can be happy). I wanted to merge that almost overbearing lusciousness of the New York-style cheesecake with the tart lightness of the Key Lime Pie from the Florida Keys. Needless to say, it was a successful mission.
I chose to make the cheesecake tart, because otherwise, the cream cheese flavor could overbear it. Once the flavors meshed, they complimented each other nicely.
Light and luscious, this cheesecake alleviated the oppressive, and downright offensive, heat of the summer for a little relaxation. Whether on the patio with some sweet tea, or a delicatessen, or just hiding from the flames of heck that is the sunny outdoor heat.
So what are you waiting for? Give it a go!
Key Lime Cheesecake
- For the Crust
8 oz. Honey Graham Crackers, finely crushed
6 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 c. Sugar
- For the Filling
5, 8 oz. blocks Regular Cream Cheese (for light, use 3 blocks Light, and 2 blocks Nonfat)
1 1/4 c. Granulated Sugar (add 1/4 more if you want the mixture sweeter)
5 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks (for light, just use 4 eggs)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 c. plus 2 T. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Key Lime Juice, freshly-squeezed (alternatively, you can use regular limes)
1 tsp. Zest from Key Limes (alternatively, you can use regular limes)
Stir together crust ingredients with a fork, then pour in the melted butter and stir so that the crumbs are moistened. Press this mixture into a 9 in. Springform pan that has been buttered. Wrap the outside with foil, making sure that the place where the pan parts connect is thoroughly covered. Place the pan into the freezer while you prepare the filling.
-Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
1. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheeses together thoroughly, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every once in a while.
2. Pour in the sugar and mix until combined. Add in the juice and zest of the key limes and the vanilla. Taste the mixture at this point to make sure if it needs to be sweeter or more tart and adjust to your liking.
3. Mix in eggs, one at a time, making sure that there are no streaks of unmixed cream cheese floating around in the mixture, then add in the flour and salt.**
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan and place pan on a cookie sheet, or a baking dish in which the pan can fit into. Fill the baking dish with water, making sure that the water line is below where the foil ends. Gently place the pans into the oven and bake at 500 for 15 minutes, making sure to watch the top so that it does not burn.
5. Reduce temperature to 300 and bake the cheesecake for about an hour longer, until the cheesecake is almost firm (the center may slightly jiggle when you remove the cake, if it’s almost fluid-like or has the jiggle-factor of Jello, then it needs to return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at a time until mostly firm.)
6. Remove cake from oven and run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the crust from the walls. Remove the pan from the water-bath and take off the foil. Allow the cake to cool for at least 3 hours, or until cool enough to touch. Place cake in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or until thoroughly chilled.
**: OPTIONAL: To make the cake mixture seem a bit more “limey” in color, add a drop or two of kelly green gel food coloring with a drop of lemon yellow gel food coloring. Go by drops when it comes to the food coloring!