Key Lime Cheesecake

We've told our mom a million times how much we love her, but that does not mean we will ever stop trying to find ways to show her. For Mother's Day, my brother and I cooked lunch. Joey got the idea to keep it traditional and do a small Churrascaria. Our version included:

- bbq chicken (must have that piri piri)
- rice with beans
- salad
- black and green olives
- fried potato slices (batatas fritas)
- sangria

The bro killed it on the bbq and potatoes. This is the same man that would ask me to cook when mom wasn't home during highschool cuz he was helpless. As an adult, he is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. Ladies, calm down. Tall, dark, independent, intelligent, handsome, and can COOK? Crazy. I know.

This left the question of desert. I had recently done the Tiramisu cake for her birthday. I racked my brain for something traditional and savory. Bread pudding? Flan? Pastels de Nata?

I tossed tradition to the side. She loves caramel macchiato. I began to research the potential of transforming it into cheesecake but was told caramel + cheesecake = ew. Then I stumbled on Key Lime by Smitten.
If you like Key Lime- you will LOVE this cheesecake. My brother said it was perfect. Other said it was a touch tart. Everyone adored the crust.

Note: This recipe requires Key Lime Juice. You could torture yourself by squeezing a ton of key limes... or simply buy some. I found some near the drink mixer/soda aisle. If all else fails, ask someone who works at the grocery store. I used Nellie & Joe's (see Filling section for image).

Crust.

1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (5 ounces)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Filling.:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh key lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

Topping.:.

1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Special equipment: a 9- to 9 1/2-inch springform pan

Preheat oven to 350 and butter bottom and side of springform pan.

Make the crust... Preheat oven to 350°F and butter bottom and side of springform pan.

Stir together crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press evenly onto bottom and one-third up side of pan. Bake crust in middle of oven 8 minutes and cool in pan on a rack.

Make filling... Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add lime juice, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in flour and salt at low speed, scraping down side as needed, until just incorporated, then add eggs all at once and mix just until incorporated.

Pour filling into crust and set springform pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake cake in middle of oven until set in center, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool completely in springform pan on rack. Cake will continue to set as it cools.

Run a thin knife around edge of cake and remove side of pan. If desired, transfer cake with a large metal spatula to a serving plate.

Make the topping... Beat cream with sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then spread over top of cheesecake.

Garnish... I used mangoes (like Smitten) but with a different approach. After peeling, I cut them into slice and lightly sketched heart-shapes with the tip of a knife. I carefully cut them out and dipped them in some of the lime juice (this helps keep color and adds some zest).

Serve to people you love.