The holidays are in full swing. I absolutely love this time of year. The time of year when your house is filled with the wonderful and exotic aromas of chocolate, cinnamon,  allspice and nutmeg. Everyone lives in the kitchen snacking on goodies, Bing Crosby’s  “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” is playing in the back ground, and your kids think that you are  super mom because of  the delightful sugar treats that you are pumping out in bulk,  like Mrs. Clause at the North Pole. Magic abounds…it is in the air…it is in everyone’s smiles and their laughter.

Those lovely seasonal aromas fill not only your house but your heart as well. They take you back to times when you made your favorite treats for the holiday’s with your mother, grandmother and favorite aunts. Memories of when you were kids and would sneak off with the Hershey Kisses for the cookies, run away with the mixing paddles from the spice cake batter so that you could lick them clean, the homemade sugar cookie dough would magically vanish from the fridge  and everyone just knew that it was those pesky elves or maybe even some cute little monkeys roaming the kitchen.

So while you are in the kitchen making all of those traditional treats that your family loves and you have enlisted your better half to fend off the sugar crazed kids, why don’t you try something new. I did. Thanks to Betsy I made a Key Lime Cheesecake for the first time ever. Now when I make something for the first time I just have to know how it turns out, and even though I wanted to cut into it and devour it the minute it was done, you just can’t do that to a friend. Mangling someones cheesecake with finger trails just isn’t done. Ya’ll know that bad manners are a cardinal sin in the south. I did have some batter left over though and made some little key lime cheesecake squares that were completely yummy and were gone within minutes. But I will just have to believe Betsy when she said it was a hit. Thanks Betsy 🙂

Okay disclaimer here…I did not come up with this recipe I found it at one of my favorite sites www.epicurious.com you can find the recipe there. I have also listed below with some of my own little hints.  I am not a photographer. I need lesson bad or I need Ashely, Riley, Jennifer, Merle… anyone to come behind me and make my food look beautiful. Hint, Hint!  So I apologize for the not so lovely photos, but they will help you get the idea, especially with the custard. Please Santa help me with my photos.

Lime custard

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice or regular lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated Key lime peel or regular lime peel

Here is what you will need to get started. I used Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice, because there is a difference between key limes and regular limes.

Combine all of the ingredients for the custard in a bowl…

and well whisk. Just make sure that you don’t whisk them into a froth.

Pour your mixture into a  heavy small saucepan over medium heat until the custard thickens and boils for 30 seconds, about 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (your mixture will thicken). Your custard should be stiff and smooth in texture, not loose like Nickelodeon slime.

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 whole graham crackers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Here is what you will need for the crust. I have already processed my graham crackers. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350°F.

Wrap 3 layers of foil around the outside of a 8- to 8 1/2-inch-diameter spring form pan with 3-inch-high sides. Butter pan. Do this before you start mixing your crust, that way you are ready to mold the crust up the sides.

Stir the first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl and combine well. Mix in butter until moistened. I use a fork, its easier with crumb crusts. Press the crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of your prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Maintain the oven temperature. Now I have not included photos of how I molded the crust because well I was all alone and gram cracker crust in the camera would not have gone over well with Dad, it was his camera that I borrowed.

Filling

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice or regular lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated Key lime peel or regular lime peel
  • 1 16-ounce container sour cream
  • Thin lime slices

Here is what you need for the filling. Place the cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, eggs, lime juice, and lime peel in mixer and blend well. Unfortunately my photo’s did not come out, but you guys have mixed forever right, you know what to do. Umm…right? Hint- creamy, smooth filling, no lumps.

After you have mixed your filling, spoon your room temperature custard into  your crust and smooth. WARNING: The custard will stick to the crust on the bottom. So make sure that you smooth it gently in order not to pull the crust into a million pieces. Hardest part of the recipe I promise.

Carefully spoon your filling over over the custard. Set the cheesecake in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to the baking pan so that it comes about 1 inch up the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake until almost set but not puffed and the center moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir sour cream and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar into a medium bowl and blend well.

Carefully spoon your sour cream mixture over the hot cheesecake and smooth the top. Bake until topping sets, about 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of pan the to loosen. Cool the cheesecake completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Do ahead Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Release pan sides from cheesecake; transfer to a platter. Garnish with lime slices and serve.

Look how pretty it turned out. I was more than TICKLED with my first try. Like I said, I soooo wanted to cut into this darlin’, creamy delight. Betsy, you were so lucky girl that I did mind my manners. 🙂

If I can do this… you definitely can. I hope that you give it a try. If you do let me know how it turns out. Enjoy your holiday baking.

Tickled Red

P.S.- I promise to do better with my food photo’s next time.

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