key lime pie cheesecake
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Key Lime Cheesecake

A tangy, sweet, and creamy key lime cheesecake with a perfect buttery graham cracker crust. Top it with sweetened whipped cream for an out of world dessert!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
resting time4 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cheesecake, key lime
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Heather Perine

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cup (227 grams) graham crackers (from about 15 crackers)
  • 2 Tbs (12 grams) granulated white sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 4 Tbsp + 1 tsp (61 grams) unsalted butter melted

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 2 pounds (4- 8 ounce blocks) cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups (264 grams) granulated white sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (151 grams) sour cream
  • 2/3 cup (151 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest (about the zest of 2 limes)

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup (227 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs (14 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Process graham crackers, mix with sugar, salt, butter: Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Put in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), with rack in lower third of oven.
  • Press the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan: Gently press down on the crumbs using your fingers, until the crumbs are a nice even layer at the bottom of the pan, with maybe just a slight rise along the inside edges of the pan.
  • Bake the crust: Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. While the crust is cooling, you can skip ahead and start on the filling. Wait until the crust has cooled to wrap the pan in foil in the next step.
  • Triple wrap pan in heavy duty foil: Prepare the springform pan so that no water leaks into it while cooking. Place a large 18-inch by 18-inch square of heavy duty aluminum foil on a flat surface.
    Place the springform pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the sides of the foil around the pan. Make sure to do this gently so that you don't create any holes in the foil. Repeat this 2 more times so you have 3 layers of foil. You can also use a slow cooker liner.
  • Make the cheesecake filling: Beat cream cheese, then sugar: Cut the cream cheese into chunks and place in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes until smooth, soft and creamy. Add the sugar, beat for 4 minutes more.
  • Add salt, vanilla, then eggs, then sour cream: Add the salt and vanilla, beating after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the sour cream, beat until incorporated.
  • Add the heavy cream, beat until incorporated. Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and scrape up any thicker bits of cream cheese that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer that paddle attachment has failed to incorporate. Stir in your lime juice and zest.
  • Bake the cheesecake: Prepare pan and boiling water: Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan. Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water. Lower the heat on the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • Pour filling into pan: Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, over the graham cracker bottom layer. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  • Place in oven: Place the roasting pan with the springform pan in it, in the oven, on the lower rack.
  • Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan (without touching the hot oven), to create a water bath for the cheesecake, pouring until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan, about 1 1/4 inches. (Alternatively you can add the water before putting the pan in the oven, whichever is easier for you.) Bake at 325°F (160°C) for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Turn off the heat of the oven. Crack open the oven door 1-inch, and let the cake cool in the oven, as the oven cools, for another hour. This gentle cooling will help prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking.
  • Chill 4 hours: Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn't actually touch the cheesecake. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, remove the foil. Run a knife around the edges and remove the outer ring of the pan. Make the whipped topping: Pour the cream into a well-chilled bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk, beat the cream to the desired consistency. For soft peaks, the cream will be just thick enough to hold its shape in soft billows. For stiffly beaten cream, the beaters or whisk wires will leave distinct traces on the cream and stand in firm peaks when the beaters are lifted. Spread the topping onto the cheesecake or serve on the side. 

Notes

  • Make sure all your ingredients, especially your cream cheese is at room temperature.
  • Do not overmix your ingredients.
  • Use a waterbath or bain marie as the French call it. Wrap your cheesecake pan several times in tinfoil on the outside of the pan and set the pan inside a larger pan (like a roasting pan) that has been filled with hot water. The key here is make sure your pan is completely covered by tinfoil so no water seeps into the cheesecake, which would result in a soggy crust! I wrap my cheesecake in 3 layers of foil and use a good quality springform pan.
  • A great alternative to the waterbath is placing a pan of boiling water on the rack below where your cheesecake is baking. The steam from the hot water will gently cook your cheesecake and you do not have to worry about a soggy bottom! 
  • Allow your cheesecake to cool in the oven with the heat off for an hour.
The cheesecake is adapted from Simply Recipes Perfect Cheesecake Recipe can be made up to 3 days ahead. Just simply cover the cheesecake and refrigerate until ready to serve. The whipped cream also can be made up to 1 day ahead. Just keep refrigerated. If the whipped cream seperates, just simply re-whip to incorporate the liquid again.