This dessert is an out-of-this-world experience in one bite. A layer of graham crust infused with key limes, followed by a smooth, creamy layer of cheesecake, then a layer of key lime pie, and finally a thick layer of sweet, light meringue on top.
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I’ve been living in Florida for quite a few years now and yet, I still haven’t been to Key West. The trip is still on our bucket list and tasting an authentic Key Lime Pie is on my food bucket list. Even though key lime pies are everywhere, I want to try this pie from the place where it originated.
Hubs and I like to watch a couple of Food Network shows that revolve around food travel. One is where a guy does a world booze tour. He goes to different countries and searches for the best people who make the alcoholic drink that originates from that region. Another show, is where a guy goes around the states and visits small, “mom and pop” type places that are locally known for making the best local dish. In one of the episodes, he visited Key West and the best place for key lime pie.
That place was best known for their “mile high” key lime pie. It was a tiny restaurant somewhere in the middle of the island but their pies really did look fantastic. They had this tall tower of meringue on top of the pie, which really is a brilliant idea. For one, all those egg whites that are left over from the yolks are not wasted. And two, the sweet, soft, airy meringue serves as a smooth balance for the sourness of the key lime pie.
This truly is a beautifully balanced cheesecake. There is sweetness and uniform key lime flavors throughout the cheesecake. You get the sweet crunch in the crust, then a smooth cheesecake in the middle, a burst of smooth citrus key lime pie, and then a sweet mild meringue. Even if someone is not a big fan of key lime pie because the sourness of citrus might be too strong, they will love this cheesecake. Everything in this dessert, balances out and compensates for the strong citrus of the pie. It’s one delicious bite after another!
Key Lime Pie Cheesecake
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
- Zest from 2 key limes
- 16 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 of 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- Zest from 2 key limes
Key Lime Pie layer:
- 3/4 of 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 4 egg yolks save whites
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice 7-9 key limes
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 and grease a 9 inch spring form.
In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, vanilla extract, key lime zest and brown sugar. Mix very well.
Spread crumb mixture in the bottom on the spring form, evenly, pressing it over the bottom and half way up the sides.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Scrape sides and bottom on the bowl and beat for another minute.
Add corn starch and sugar and mix until combined.
Beat in egg until well incorporated.
Add sour cream, vanilla extract, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream, beat until all mixed very well.
Add lime zest and mix with a spatula until incorporated throughout.
Transfer batter into the spring form and spread it evenly.
Wash out the bowl from an electric mixer and dry well.
Key Lime Pie Layer:
Beat egg yolks with a whisk attachment, until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
Start pouring in lime juice into egg yolks while they're mixing. Make sure to pour it in slowly.
Pour in sweetened condensed milk slowly, still beating the egg yolk mixture. After you've added the sweetened condensed milk, beat for a couple more minutes.
Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and stir gently.
Pour key lime mixture over the cheesecake batter and spread it evenly.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. After about 15 minutes, start preparing the meringue.
Wash out the bowl of the electric mixer and whisk attachment and dry well.
Pour egg whites into the bowl and add cream of tartar and vanilla extract.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then very slowly add sugar as you continue beating. Beat until stiff peaks are formed, 1-2 minutes.
After the cheesecake baked for 20 minutes, quickly top it off with meringue, sealing the edges as to not let the heat escape. Sealing the edges will help the inside cook better.
Bake for 25 minutes, turn off the oven, open the oven door a little bit and let the cheesecake sit there for 10 minutes.
Take it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Cover the cheesecake loosely with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, very gently loosen the meringue from the rim of the springform. (Don't worry, it is very fragile, it will crumble a little bit no matter what you do. Just work slowly and gently to minimize it.) Gently run a greased butter knife between sides of the cheesecakes and the springform to carefully separate it.
Recipe from Lyuba @ willcookforsmiles.com All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to share this recipe, please simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
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