Our friends took the menu to a whole new level – fresh fruit, awesome guacamole, pizza for an appetizer, then grilled shish-kabobs (chicken, shrimp AND steak), plus lettuce wraps with three amazing sauces. Don’t let that list fool you – there were only four of us. Let’s just say we’re probably good friends more because of our love of good food than anything. (Actually, that’s not the case….Michael has been BFF with Brett since they were young). Anyway, the mutual love of food between the four of us definitely helps to maintain a strong bond.
I haven’t made a whole lot in the way of desserts lately. BUT, now that I’m taking a break from studying for the CPA, I’m back on the wagon. After such an awesome meal, you’d think we’d be too full to indulge in dessert. Not the case with this dessert. I don’t care if you’ve just eaten an elephant, you’ll still want a slice of this!
You should go make this now and eat it up, or, if you’re willing to share, bring it over to your BFF’s house, but only after they feed you the ultimate dinner.
1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs (5 ounces)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh key lime juice (strained from about 1 1/2 lb Key limes) or bottled (I used fresh, and it was just right!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 large firm-ripe mangoes (I used a pint of Michigan blueberries instead)
1 tablespoon fresh Key lime juice (strained) or bottled
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
Special equipment: a 9- to 9 1/2-inch springform pan; a mandoline or other adjustable-blade slicer (if you do mangoes….if you do blueberries, no need for a mandoline!)
1) Preheat oven to 350°F and butter bottom and side of springform pan.
2) 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.
1) Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
2) 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.
3) 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. FYI, I filled a casserole dish about 1/2 full with water and placed it in the oven on the bottom rack, below the cheesecake. This helps to prevent cracking.
4) Cool completely in springform pan on rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.)
5) 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.
1) (If you used blueberries, skip this step!) Peel mangoes and, leaving fruit whole, slice very thinly lengthwise (slightly less than 1/8 inch thick) with mandoline (use caution — peeled mango is slippery). Halve wide slices lengthwise.
2) Gently toss mango slices (or blueberries!) with lime juice. FYI, I mixed some sugar in with the lime juice so the coated blueberries wouldn’t be too tart and would hold a nice sheen for the photos.
2) Beat cream with sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, then spread over top of cheesecake. Bending and curling mango slices (or blueberries!), arrange them decoratively over cream.
Do ahead: Cheesecake (without topping) can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. If desired, bring to room temperature. Add topping just before serving.