Key Lime Cheesecake

Key Lime Cheesecake

Key limes are smaller than regular limes and have a sweeter, punchier flavour. They add a great kick of citrus to this dessert, which combines the best of two wonderful worlds: cheesecake and key lime pie! If you can't find key limes, use regular ones.
  • CATEGORIES:

Serves

10 to 12 servings

PREP TIME

1 hour

COOK TIME

50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • 1 Graham Cracker Crust

Filling

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 5 key limes (or 1 regular lime)
  • 3 packages (each 8oz/250g) brick style cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (7 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Topping

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 batch of Key Lime Curd

Curd

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh key lime juice (about 10 key limes or 2 regular limes)

INSTRUCTIONS

Key Lime cheesecake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Press the graham crust mixture evenly over the base and 2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place the pan in the freezer while you make the filling
  3. For the Filling, stir together the sugar and lime zest in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the ingredients together to infuse sugar with the line zest.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese into the sugar until the mixture is smooth. Beat in te flour and vanilla extract just until combined. 
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Do not overmix. (Too much air in the batter can make the top of the cheesecake crack during baking.)
  6. Pour the filling over the prepared crust, smoothing the top level.
  7. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan. Pull the oven and put the roasting pan containing the cheesecake on the rack. Pour hot, not boiling, water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Carefully slide the oven rack back into the oven.
  8. Bake until the centre jiggles slightly when the pan is tapped and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centre registers 150°F, about 50 minutes.
  9. Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Remove the springform pan from the roasting pan and put it on a wire rack. Cover the pan with a cold baking sheet and let stand for 5 minutes
  10. Remove the baking sheet and carefully run a paring knife around the edge of the cheesecake. Replace the baking sheet on top of the pan and let the cheesecake cool on the rack for 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature.
  11. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours before serving. (The undecorated cheesecake can be refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.) 
  12. For the topping, stir together the water, 2 tablespoonfuls of the sugar and all the cornstarch in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  13. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  14. Gradually beat in the remaining 6 tablespoonfuls of sugar, continuing to beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
  15. Gradually beat in the cornstarch mixture. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  16. Release the sides of the springform pan and slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate. Spread the key lime curd over the top of the cheesecake (you may not need all of the curd). 
  17. For the Lime Curd
  18. 1. Have a medium sized bowl set aside with butter inside and a strainer on top. This will be used to strain the curd once cooked.
  19. Pile the meringue over the curd, spreading gently with a knife or offset spatula.
  20. Light a butane kitchen torch following the manufacturer's instructions (see sidebar if you don't have a butane torch). Using small, circular motions, torch the meringue until the peaks are golden brown. If the meringue darkens too quickly, hold the torch further away; if the meringue isn't darkening, hold the torch closer to it. (The key lime cheesecake is best served the day it's made but can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days, although the longer you store it the more moist the meringue will become.)

Key lime curd

  1. Place the butter in a large bowl and set a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl nonreactive sauce-pan, whisk together the sugar, eggs and lime juice. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture just begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. (Do not let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.)
  3. Remove from the heat, then pour the lime mixture through the sieve into the bowl of butter.
  4. Remove the sieve. Stir the lime mixture until the butter has completely melted. Let the lime curd cool at room temperature for about 40 minutes before spooning it into a container. (The lime curd can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)

CHEF'S TIP

  • If you don't have a butane kitchen torch, you can toast the meringue in the oven. Leave the cheesecake in the springform pan. Spread the top with key lime curd, then cover with the meringue. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until the meringue is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.