Friday, January 29, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Baby Key Lime Cheesecakes: Miniature Foods Part I

Miniature food can be such a delight.  There is a modern fascination with baby-sized food, from cupcakes ("baby cakes") to tapas or small plates, to everything else done on the miniature scale.  My posts for today and tomorrow are both going to focus on miniature scaled food - of the small bite variety.  Both projects are foods that are typically prepared in large sizes, but can be scaled down to make a dozen of the miniature version for a cute, picture perfect result.  Both of my baby-sized food recipes will be prepared the same way - by the dozen in silicon muffin trays.

All this miniature food can come together nicely as small plates for a brunch party with friends.  Thus, the inspiration behind my miniature food posts is that they would go nicely together for a mini-themed brunch.

Last night, my husband Brad and I prepared miniature (or little babies, as I call them, fondly) key lime cheesecakes.  The inspiration for this recipe was found in my newest (and quickly becoming one of my favorite) baking cookbooks - Rose Levy Beranbaum's cookbook, entitled Rose's Heavenly Cakes, which was just published in September 2009.

Rose Levy Beranbaum, who is pretty much the goddess of cake baking in the modern world, as far as I am concerned, has a recipe for Baby Lemon Cheesecakes with Lemon Curd.  I couldn't help but imagine what this would be like if it was instead flavored with key limes, so I adapted her recipe to make a key lime variation.  In addition to changing the citrus fruit, I decided that mini key lime cheesecakes would taste better with a graham cracker crust, rather than the biscuit crust that Rose used in her lemon baby cheesecakes.  Finally, I made mine a tad bit healthier than Rose suggests - I used substituted fat cream cheese and reduced fat sour cream.  Because if you are going to eat a dozen little cheesecakes, you might as well feel a little better about it . . .

Another note - if you cannot obtain fresh key lime juice, I don't advise squeezing from the tiny key limes without a juicer - you can freely substitute lime juice instead, as I have given the measurements for the lime variation as well.  You should make sure you have a silicon muffin tray (not a metal one) for this recipe, if you have aspirations of getting the cheesecakes out of the tray with ease.

Sasha's Baby Key Lime Cheesecakes (Loosely Adapted from Rose's Baby Lemon Cheesecakes)

5 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I bought a box of graham cracker crumbs)
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
3 T key lime juice (you need more key lime juice than the lemon juice called for in Rose's recipe, because the lemon juice is much stronger and more acidic; use 1 1/2 T if using regular lime juice)
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups reduced fat sour cream

Sasha's Key Lime Curd (adapted from Rose's Lemon Curd)

3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 T sugar
3 T unsalted butter
6 T key lime juice (or 4 1/2 T regular lime juice)
pinch of salt

First prepare the graham cracker crusts of the baby cheesecakes in the silicon 12-cup muffin tray.  Mix the graham cracker crust with the melted butter.  Put a little less than 1 T in each of the cups on the silicon mufffin tray, after spraying the tray with PAM.  Press down and bake at 300 degrees until set and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Next, prepare Rose's Cheesecake mix, with our key lime variation.  Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed in your stand mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg and egg yolks until smooth.  Add the key lime juice (or regular lime juice) and salt and beat.

Fill each of the cups with the graham crusts nearly to the top.  Put the cheesecakes in a roasting pan filled halfway up the sides with hot, near boiling water (just like when you prepare creme brulee).  Bake at 350 degrees until the internal temperature of the cheesecakes reaches 160/170 degrees F.  This is a bit tricky - you will need to use a candy thermometer to measure the internal temperature by sticking it inside one of the cheesecakes as it bakes.  The baking process took me about an hour, but it depends on your oven.  My husband was extremely helpful with this step - he deserves a lot of credit for being patient and making sure the cheesecakes came out just right.  They are done, when they bounce back when touched lightly on the top and are firm on top.

Allow the cheesecakes to cool while preparing the key lime curd, according to Rose's instructions but substituting key lime juice or lime juice, as I have indicated above.

To prepare the curd - whisk the egg yolks, sugar and melted butter well.  Add the key lime juice and the salt.  Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY so that the mixture doesn't boil.  It will thicken and it is done when it changes into a more translucent yellowish color and starts pooling thickly when a little is dropped back form the surface.

Top the baby cheesecakes with the key lime curd, and allow them to chill for at least 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.  Then jiggle from the bottom and gently remove from the silicon cupcake trays.

These tasted great - totally delicious.  Rose you are the cake goddess, but I think I took your recipe to another level.  Oh baby (pun intended).

To make Cindy's cheesecake, click here; to make My key lime bars, click here.

Cheesecake on FoodistaCheesecake


  1. Two of my favorite things getting married! I love the idea of a key lime mini cheesecake!

  2. I, too, have a fascination with miniature desserts and love serving them-- they're just more special than the normal-sized versions!


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