Since my recent victory at making what I feel is the best Lemon Cheesecake I have ever had, I decided to make a key lime version. I was thinking of my cousin Denise, who is on her annual vacation to Key West, and thought, Denise would love these! They are basically the same recipe as the Lemon Cheesecake, but with lime. I decided to use a graham cracker crust, and flavored it with coconut. For this recipe, I used regular limes as I could not find my Key Lime juice. Either will work fine. They are just as delicious as the Lemon ones!
Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes
3/4 c. graham crackers, crushed
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp coconut extract
12 oz. soft cream cheese
1/2 c. plus 1/8 c. sugar
2 large eggs
freshly grated rind of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes or a little less than a 1/4 c. key lime juice
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
sliced limes, whipped cream, toasted coconut or blackberries (for decorating)
Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners or butter 12 silicone muffin cups and place muffin pan or silicone cups on a jelly roll pan.
Melt butter in microwave or stove until melted. Add crushed graham crackers to the melted butter, add brown sugar and coconut extract. Mix well. Divide crust mixture between the cupcake liners (about a heaping tablespoon each). Press down firmly with the back of a teaspoon. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix cream cheese slightly; about 5 seconds. Mix lime rind with sugar in separate bowl. Add sugar to mixture and mix on medium speed until blended; about 3 minutes. Reduce to low, and add eggs, one at a time; beat until incorporated; about 30 seconds. Add key lime juice; and mix until incorporated approx. 5 seconds. Add heavy whipping cream and blend 5 seconds longer.
Spoon the batter into prepared paper liners or silicone liners (remember what you see is what you get after baking; they may rise, but very, very slightly).
Place jelly roll pan in the preheated oven and fill with water until half way up the cupcake pan or silicone liners. Bake approx 30 minutes, or until edges are set and middle feels set when pressed or instant thermometer reading in center reads 150° (try not to exceed 150° or filling will become very dry). Remove pan from oven, being very careful not to spill the boiling hot water*. Let the cupcakes cool in the water for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
When cupcakes are cooled, chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Decorate each cupcake with a whipped cream and toasted coconut or a lime slice or fresh blackberries or raspberries dusted with a little confectioners sugar.
*Use a turkey baster to remove some of the water from the pan so you can get the pan out of the oven without the danger of burning yourself with the boiling water.
I whipped my cream in a ISI whipped creamer, so I added a little coconut extract to it.