Sometimes you meet someone and immediately you like them. It’s as though your soul instantly recognizes a kindred spirit in the other person. Such was my experience when I met my newest coworker, Sarah. She even read my blog (I promise I did not harass her overmuch!) and asked that I bake her a key lime cheesecake for her boyfriend’s birthday party.
I. Was. Thrilled! I scoured the internet for recipes and settled upon an amalgamation of a few. I love the idea of layers in a cheesecake, with intense key lime flavor in the curd, decadent cream cheese balancing that out, and the sour cream layer as a cheat in case your cheesecake cracks!
I made little mini testers for my husband and other office mates- you'll see I sliced into the to show off the layers but had to leave Sarah's as is.
I humbly submit that this cake is a birthday showstopper. Sarah would agree!
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons fresh key lime juice (I buy mine in a bottle, but fresh is best)
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
12 graham crackers, smashed into crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 stick butter, melted
16 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons key lime juice
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
3 tablespoons sugar
16 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Thin lime slices
For the curd:
Whisk all ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat until the curd thickens and boils for 30 seconds. This whole process will take around 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature before using, stirring occasionally. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
For the crust:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap four layers of foil around the outside of a 9 inch spring form cheesecake pan that is 3 inches deep. Butter the pan well and live the bottom with parchment paper.
Stir the crushed graham crackers, sugar, salt and vanilla bean paste and whisk them together. Mix in butter until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press the crumb concoction evenly onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the side of the prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes, until just set. Cool on a wire rack.
For the filling:
Add the curd onto the crust. Smooth the layer out. Set aside.
Add the cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, eggs, key lime juice and lime peel to a food processor and process until smooth. Add this filling on top of the curd layer. Set the cheesecake pan into a roasting pan and add enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Bake in the oven until almost set, when the center still jiggles slightly when shaken, about 45 minutes.
For the topping:
Stir the sour cream, vanilla and three tablespoons sugar together until well blended. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and carefully spoon over the sour cream layer, smoothing the top. Bake until the topping sets, around 10 minutes. Cool ten minutes then run an knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool the cheesecake completely at room temperature then cover and refrigerate overnight before unmolding and serving. Before serving, decorate with lime slices and zest. Enjoy!