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We’ve always been a “watch your waste” family. When our income was cut by 50% nearly six years ago, we cut all unnecessary expenses and lowered every remaining bill to the lowest possible. Included was downgrading the size of our trash can. Recycle cans were free, so we learned how to recycle more and waste less. A good thing to learn in the long run, really.
Still though, it requires a lot of creativity to continuously figure out what to do with a half baked potato or just three broccoli florets. Neither of those sound like much on their own, but over time, those little bits of pieces really add up!
It’s no different from the concept of every dollar counts, right? I mean, we’re willing to save a buck at the store but we’re too lazy to save that same dollar at home when it’s in the form of a rotting vegetable?
Reading From Garbage to Gourmet was a huge help when I came across something I couldn’t think of anything to do with immediately. There were good recipes too, but as I mentioned in my review, the way the book changed how I viewed and thought about food is worth its weight in gold.
Which brings me back to key limes.
Wait, huh? Key limes?
Yes, you heard me right. Earlier this week I shared a recipe for key lime pie – a staple summer dessert in our house. But the recipe doesn’t use all the limes in the bag. And I can’t throw away perfectly good key limes in good conscience.
And I can’t let them sit in the fridge either, getting hard and icky. Letting them sit in the cool garage isn’t any better since they get hard and icky there too, it just takes longer.
Did I say amazing?
I mean UH.MAZE.ING.
If you don’t have vanilla beans, go order some and come back and make the cheesecake I’m about to share with you. Then once your beans arrive, make this one. I promise you’ll be in cheesecake heaven. Twice.
Now back to the key limes.
After the pie, I was left with maybe 10-12 limes or so? More than I cared to just toss in the trash, but not enough to make another pie with for sure.
So I pulled out my handy dandy Joy of Cooking cookbook and thumbed through for some recipes. Eventually, I landed on an idea for a marbled cheesecake.
Using the cookbook as a base, I devised my own key lime curd that is marbled into a plain variation of the famous vanilla bean cheesecake. The result?
Heaven for the third time, while holding a tropical drink with a tiny umbrella.
- 1½ cups of shortbread cookie crumbs (approx 20-25 small cookies)
- 3 Tbsp melted butter
- 3 8oz packages of full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- zest of 9-12 key limes
- ¼ cup key lime juice
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- 2 cups full fat sour cream
- 1 dropper full liquid vanilla stevia
- 5-6 large fresh strawberries (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan. Line a baking sheet wide enough to hold the springform pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor or blender (I have a Blendtec), pulse cookies until they are crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse again until combined. Press the mixture into the prepared springform pan, creating an even layer on the bottom and halfway up the sides. Using a flat-bottomed glass cup with straight sides is helpful.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy, taking care not to whip and add air to the cheese.
- Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
- Scrape down the sides and add one egg at a time, beating on low until the egg is fully incorporated.
- Add the extract, beating on low until smooth and creamy. The batter will be on the thicker side.
- Remove one cup of cheesecake mixture and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together eggs, sugar and key lime zest.
- Add key lime juice and cook until the mixture is thick, then simmer gently for a few seconds.
- Scrape the filling into a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and strain, pushing through filling as necessary.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Combine curd with reserved one cup of cheesecake mixture.
- Put the springform pan on a baking sheet and pour the plain batter into the baked crust.
- Gently scoop the curd mixture over the top, spreading evenly yet leaving a 1" ring around the edges.
- If desired, marble the two layers together using a dull knife, taking care not to cut the crust.
- Cover the springform pan with another baking sheet and bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet “lid” and continue to bake the cheesecake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are set but the center is still jiggly like Jell-O.
- Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl and spread evenly over the baked cheesecake.
- Wash and thinly slice strawberries. Gently place strawberries on top of the sour cream layer.
- Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 1-2 hours.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
Additional Recipe Tips
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle every time you stop the mixture.
- Never turn the mixer on higher than two notches.
- Cheesecakes always taste best the day after they’re made, but at least a few hours of chilling is needed.
- If you want even more key lime flavor, double the curd portion. Just be sure your springform pan is big enough.
- Make the recipe pot-luck friendly by using a 9×13 glass baking dish and cutting into squares.
What are you making this Independence Day?
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