Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes

My new mini muffin tin wanted me to bake these. I'm happy I found key limes too. I think they are a bit fruiter than regular limes.

So only two things went wrong. I'm guessing the lime juice helps cook these cheesecakes because the first couple of batches came out too tough. The last batch I was careful not to overbake- and the texture came out better. I tried baking the last of the batter in a ramekin (yes, I had to google the spelling) and it came out even creamier. So I think this recipe is actually better not in mini form. Hmmph.

Secondly, I wanted to top it off with lime swiss meringue buttercream. I was very careful not to overcook the egg whites. I was careful to keep whipping past soft peaks to fully stiff peaks. I made sure my butter was completely at room tempature and added it in, a half tablespoon at a time. It was beautifully smooth- the butter didn't make it soupy this time. And then, I added the lime juice. The buttercream curdled. I kept mixing but it didn't come together. Next time, I think it may be best to use lime extract, lime curd, or lime pudding or anything thats not too liquidy.

Last note: I didn't make the cheesecake healthy. I used regular fatty cream cheese and 3/4 regular sugar. But I didn't add any sugar in the crust- does that count? Again, don't over bake. I would bake it at 325 degrees for 45 minutes if using a springform pan and at 300 degrees for only 18 minutes in a muffin tin.

Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes
Adapted from: Taste of HomeCrust
3/4 cup graham crackers crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a springform pan.

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, cubed
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/3 cup key lime or lime juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lime peel

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheeses, sugar substitute, sugar and flour until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the sour cream, lime juice, vanilla, and lime peel. Pour filling onto crust.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Chill overnight. Refrigerate leftovers.

Lime Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
Pinch of coarse salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (important, cannot be cold at all)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

To make the frosting, combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a heatproof mixing bowl) and set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. If you rub the mixture between your fingers, it should feel smooth and not gritty.

Transfer the bowl to your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don’t worry, it will come together, though it may take a long time!)  Add the lime juice and mix until fully incorporated and smooth.

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