Key Lime Cheesecake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...My family has been arriving in stages for our annual summer reunion and our older grandsons have been helping in the kitchen. They are both at an age where they love to cook and they've really started to master some of the simpler dishes that are our family favorites. Let me hasten to add, that the boys aren't terribly keen on the cheesecake I'm featuring today. They'll happily assist in making it, but when it comes to desserts, they are traditionalist and nothing will ever beat their favorite blueberry or lemon meringue pies. I am, however, determined to get them to try at least a bite of this before they leave. It is delicious and if I can't convince them to try it, perhaps I can talk you into it. While the cake is a bother to make, its taste more than makes up for the time and effort involved in getting it to the table. If you like cheesecake, this one must be tried. I've taken lots of short cuts with the recipe, but this still remains a 24 hour dessert. It truly needs a full day to set and mellow. While this is lovely when made with fresh key limes, the bottled product is perfectly acceptable and makes much better use of your time. I've also included whipped cream in the ingredients list for those who feel a key lime dessert is not complete without it. I'm not sure that a cake that uses a full pound of cream cheese really needs to be covered with two cups of whipped cream, but I let you decide. I hope at least a few of you will try this luscious dessert. Here's the recipe.

Key Lime Cheesecake
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

2/3 cup butter, melted
1-3/4 cups sugar, divided use
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup key lime juice
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons grated key lime zest
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
2 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
Optional: 2 cups sweetened whipped cream

1) In a mixing bowl, combine melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Mix well. Press crust firmly over bottom and 2 inches up side of a greased of a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
2) In a saucepan dissolve gelatin in key lime juice, about 5 minutes. Combine 1-1/4 cups of sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and lime zest in a separate bowl and mix well. Add some hot gelatin mixture and whisk to combine. Pour mixture back into saucepan. Mix well. Over medium heat, cook until mixture thickens and is pudding-like, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
3) In bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. With mixer running, add lime mixture slowly and beat until smooth. Remove mixture and turn into a bowl and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, stirring every 10 minutes.
4) In a bowl of an electric mixer with a whip attachment, place egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar. Whip on medium high until stiff peaks form. Remove lime and cheese mixture from the refrigerator. Fold egg whites into lime mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 4 to 24 hours.
5) When ready to serve remove from refrigerator. Run a sharp knife along the sides of pan and remove the spring-form. If using, spread whipped cream evenly over top of the cake. Cut cake into individual servings. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

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