One of these days, I will start posting seasonally appropriate recipes in their appropriate seasons.
Today is not that day.
You see, recently, I realized with some embarrassment that I had never made a whole cheesecake.
Cheesecake bars, yes, and mini cheesecakes, and an abundance of cream cheese frostings and fillings, and one time even a pumpkin cheesecake pie situation–but never a whole, pure cheesecake, edges lightly browned and inviting coming out of a springform pan.
So, I did it. I made a cheesecake.
And not just any cheesecake. This was a strawberry key lime cheesecake, which wriggled into my head as a vague idea when thinking of tacos one day and nested there until I had to pay attention to it. (The boyfriend’s fondness for cheesecake perhaps played a role in this idea actually coming to fruition, too.) It’s a mixture of this mini cheesecake kitchme recipe and this crust from Joy of Baking with a generous amount of finger-crossing and hand-waving in the process.
I went with the shortbread crust because graham crackers are nice and all, but if you had the option to eat a cookie with your cheesecake, you’d be a fool to choose anything else, right? Especially if that cookie was the stuff of buttery, crumbly perfection?
Yeah, I thought so, too.
The lighter flavor of the shortbread really allows the key lime taste to take center stage. I was a bit too light-handed when stirring in the strawberry compote (which is also on the tart side, so as not to turn the dish sickly sweet), and the strawberries got a bit lost in the richness of the cheesecake. Luckily, an entire pound of strawberries leaves plenty of leftovers. A generous spoonful over each slice balanced all parts perfectly.
I think the only downside of this is that I now know how delicious homemade, fresh-fruit cheesecake is. This could be dangerous.
And while it is technically already fall, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wore shorts today (it’s in the 80s in Boston!). Perhaps some of you will take this recipe as a way to seize these last few bits of summer that seem too reluctant to leave us just yet.
- 1 lb strawberries, fresh or frozen, diced
- 1-2 T granulated sugar, to taste
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1 tsp key lime zest
- 24 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 3 tsp key lime zest
- 1/3 cup key lime juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- Hull and chop the strawberries.
- Add the strawberries and sugar (to taste) to a saucepan over low-medium heat, along with a couple teaspoons of water to get the compote started.
- Stir the strawberries frequently over the heat until the mixture is goopy and there are no more distinct chunks of fruit in the saucepan.
- Remove from heat and let cool. The compote will continue to thicken as it cools, so don't worry if it still feels a little more runny than you want.
- Preheat your oven to 425F. Grease and flour an 8" springform pan.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and lime zest.
- Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or a couple of forks, working until you can pull the dough together in clumps.
- With your fingers, press the dough into the bottom of the springform pan, bringing it just slightly up the edges of the pan.
- Use a fork to pierce rows of holes into the pressed dough to keep it from shrinking in the oven.
- Bake crust for 11-13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375F.
- Beat the softened cream cheese and sugar until completely smooth.
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Stir in lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla extract.
- Pour mixture over the cooled crust.
- Carefully dollop strawberry compote over the cheesecake filling. Add as little or as much as you want. Use the tip of a knife to swirl the compote into the top of the filling.
- Bake the cheesecake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 250F and let bake for 55 minutes.
- Gently shake the pan. If the center of the cheesecake still jiggles, put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Repeat until the center of the cheesecake is just set. Mine took ~75 minutes at 250F to set, but this can vary a lot depending on your oven, so just keep checking.
- I skipped the zest in the shortbread crust--not because I did not want it, but because I am more forgetful in a kitchen than I would like to admit. The cheesecake was not lacking, but an extra kick of key lime would've been an excellent addition.