Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Coconut Lime Cheesecake
As I was trying to figure out what to bake tonight I noticed a cheesecake recipe and said something to Chris. He immediately got excited since I don't make cheesecake all that often and he really likes it. I knew I had 3 packages of cream cheese and some graham crackers so I figured I would have all the stuff. It turns out that most recipes in the books I have call for 4 packages. And a lot of them use something other than graham cracker crusts. I even happened to have some oreos on hand (for another recipe I swear) but not enough for a crust. In fact, the only recipe I could find that I had everything for was a cheesecake called Low and Lush Chocolate Cheesecake in the Dorie Greenspan book.
I suggested it to Chris, and wouldn't you know it... he wasn't interested in chocolate cheesecake at all. I had mentioned at one point a lime cheesecake and that's what he was in the mood for. Back to square one. I briefly considered getting on the internet and finding a recipe with all the right proportions, but after looking over the chocolate cheesecake recipe and the variations on Dorie's basic cheesecake -- I realized I could easily adapt the two recipes to make what I needed.
The crust was looking a bit thin (I was about a 1/4 cup short of having enough graham cracker crumbs) so I made an executive decision to eliminate the side crusts. Instead, it has a nice thick bottom crust. I also decided that coconut would work wonderfully with this recipe as well, so I added 1/2 cup to the crust and another cup (or so... rough measuring) to the filling. Coconut & lime is definitely becoming a favorite combination in this house.
Overall, it worked very well. I added the zest and juice of two limes to a basic cheesecake recipe and we threw it in the oven. The middle didn't quite get done -- I'm still sorting out the whole cheesecake thing since I don't make them that often-- but we're refrigerating it overnight and we figure that will solve most of the slight goopy problem. (why does it seem like I'm using that work to describe a lot of my recent baking?) The flavor was very nice -- lightly sour from the lime with a nice balancing sweetness of coconut. Yum.
This is the recipe as I made it -- not as you would find it in the book.
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup coconut
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, preferably at room temp
zest and juice of two limes
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup coconut
Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 81/2 or 9 inch springform pan and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
To make the crust: Stir the crumbs, sugar and coconut together in a small bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the crumbs into the pan, and with your fingers, press the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and as far up the sides as they will go. Freeze the crust for about 10 minutes.
Bake for 10 minutes, only until crust is lightly set and just tinged with color. Cool on a rack or refrigerate while you make the filling. Keep the oven at 350.
To make the filling: Cut each bar of cream cheese into quarters and toss the pieces into a food processor, along with the sugar. Process, scraping down the bowl 2 or 3 times, for a full 2 minutes. You'll see how dramatically the cream cheese changes -- it will look like white velvet at the end of the beating. Add the eggs, lime, vanilla and salt and give the batter 4 long pulses, then scrape down the bowl and pulse 2 more times. Add the coconut and pulse a few times to blend well.
Remove the bowl from the processor and rap it hard on the counter a couple of time to de-bubble the batter. Scrape the batter into the cooled crust.
Bake the cheesecake for 35-40 minutes (or longer... mine should have gone longer). The top should be puffed and set, but if you tap the pan gently, the center of the cake will still be a little shaky -- that's just fine. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temp, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.