Wow, that’s a mouthful. Anyway, it was quite a hectic weekend, the whole family was down for a kiddush for the daughter, and although I made a whole lot of stuff, I just didn’t have time to take pictures of everything. However, I knew that I had to make at least one thing that I could then post on the blog. I had bought these Key limes a while back, and have been trying to figure out what to do with it.
But before we get cooking, this post is part of this years Rosh Hashana’s Blogger Party, which means a bunch of us weirdos who like food just a little too much, come out with stuff that’s got something to do with Rosh Hashana. What does my post have to do with that? I have no idea, but you could make it and it eat on Rosh Hashana right?
Plus there’s also a giveaway! Hooray, for free stuff! The people sponsoring this stuff are giving away 3 of Levana Kirschenbaum’s cookbook – Levana’s Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.
Here are the details –
Welcome to the first ever Jewish Holiday Blog Party, hosted by Jessie of Taste and Miriam of Overtime Cook, and sponsored by Kitchen Aid! As you may know, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is coming up, and Jewish bloggers from all over the world are celebrating with all kinds of twists on traditional Rosh Hashanah foods.
To kick off the celebration, Levana Kirschenbaum is giving away a copy of her fabulous new book, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen to three lucky winners. To enter, leave a comment on this post. Limit one entry per reader per blog so click over to the other participating blogs below for your chance at additional entries! Giveaway ends 5 am eastern time on September 11th, 2012.
Prize is sponsored by Levana and available to readers from all blogs participating in the Rosh Hashanah Blog Party. Prize can only be shipped within the US.
This is the first of hopefully many exciting Holiday Blog Parties, so if you would like to join in the fun, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stop by and check out some of these amazing Rosh Hashanah themed recipes on the following blogs:
Challah and Bread:
Marlene of The Jewish Hostess made Apple Challah
Sides, Salads and Starters:
Roberta and Lois of Kosher Eye made Simanim Salad
Rivki of Life in the Married Lane made Super Salad
Samantha of The Little Ferraro Kitchen made Chicken with Dates
Liz of The Lemon Bowl made Beef Brisket
Desserts and Drinks:
So anyway, back to business, I got it in my brain when I bought these, that I wanted to make some sort of cheesecake bar, but I pushed it off, and pushed it off some more, thinking to myself that I wanted to come up with something else, but alas my brain couldn’t come up with anything. Obviously, I could have made Key Lime Pie, but that would have been too obvious, so that was out (plus, traditional key lime pie is made with sweetened condensed milk, which back in the day since the Keys in southern Florida was very inaccessible was the only thing they had to use to make key lime pie (since milk wasn’t available), but I believe I’m in the process of digressing, so I’ll stop now).
I don’t know how well you know me yet, but I couldn’t just look up a recipe for key lime cheesecake bar, because I had to do it my way. I’m kinda stubborn that way. There were really two steps to the cheesecake bar, the “bar” part and the cheesecake part. For the bar part, I decided to go with a shortbread recipe, and followed the ratio of 1 part sugar 1 part margarine, and 3 parts flour.
Start by creaming the sugar and margarine, and in order to do that properly, the margarine needs to be at room temperature. I find that limes go well with coconuts, so I used half margarine and half coconut oil (which has the advantage of being at room temperature already, and in recent times has been touted as being better for you than margarine). So into your mixer goes 2/3 cup sugar with 1/3 cup margarine, and 1/3 cup coconut oil (which is a little more than 5 tablespoons by the way), and cream away, until a paste forms. The whole purpose of creaming margarine, is to allow the sugar to punch tiny holes in the fat, which will aerate the dough, which is why it’s crucial for the fat to be at room temperature.
Scrape that down, and add in your flour (2 cups), salt and vanilla, and continue mixing until it just comes together.
This is very similar to making a streusal topping, but instead of sprinkling all of this over something, we’re going to press it into a pan, dock it (ie poke it a bunch of times with a fork) and bake it at 350 until nice and golden, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Now for the cheesecake part. Again, my stubbornness was shining through, and I couldn’t just look up a cheesecake recipe, because that’s what normal people do. No, I had to do it by myself, like the 2 year old I am.
So by classification, a cheesecake is really a custard made with cheese. A custard is pretty much any liquid mixed with eggs, that’s cooked gently so the egg can set up into a solid gel. For a cheesecake, the cheese takes the place of the liquid, and in order to aerate it a little, we cream the cheese with the sugar, and then mix in the eggs. Since we’re going to be making this parve, we used dairy free cream cheese, and dairy free sour cream. Again, the cheese needs to be at room temperature in order to cream properly.
The ratio I normally use for a free standing custard is 2 parts liquid to 1 part egg, as in a creme caramel, or a quiche. If you decrease the amount of eggs and increase the amount of liquid, you get a looser custard (think ice cream, [which happens to be thickened by the process of freezing] or creme anglais [which can be a sauce, and thin, or thickened by a starch…]), or if you remove the whites, and just use yolks, you also get a looser custard (eg a creme brulee).
I started by creaming equal weights of the cream cheese and sugar (8 oz, or 225grams), until smooth, and then added in the 4 eggs one at a time. Then I added 1/4 cup of the key lime juice, the zest (more on that in a bit), some vanilla extract, and about 6 oz of the non-dairy sour cream, and mixed until smooth.
I poured it over the now cooled crust, and baked in a 300 degree oven, for about 30 minutes (if you can, bake it in a water bath because of how gently it heats it, but my pan didn’t fit in another container). You want to take it out when it’s still slightly jiggly because it continues to cook after it’s out of the oven, and if you take it out when it’s done, by the time it’s finished cooking, it will be overdone.
That’s it for the cheesecake bar, but wait there’s more!
Didja notice the “with key lime caramel” part of the heading? Were you wondering what heck that was? Well wonder no more my friend. I saw this idea on Gilt Taste, where they were talking about making caramel sauce, and traditionally it’s made by cooking sugar down to the caramel stage (320-350 degrees), and at which point you add heavy cream, to get what we normally call “caramel,” and they talked about instead of adding heavy cream, why not strawberry puree, and make a strawberry caramel sauce. Well that got me thinking, what about adding key lime juice? So guess what? That’s what I did.
I brought 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water to a boil, and let it cook, until color started to form
I didn’t use a candy thermometer, but just estimated when it was nice and dark, and added the lime juice. It will bubble like crazy, and that’s normal.
Then I poured that over the cooled cheesecake, and let it set up
There’s a lot more to say on the topic of candy making, and the science behind it, but I think I’ve taken up plenty of your time, so maybe another time.
Now for critique – the texture of the cheesecake and the bar, were pretty good in my opinion. I think it was a little too tart partly because of the lime zest (which I would leave out next time), and the amount of lime juice I used (I used a total of 1/2 cup [1/4 cup in the cheesecake, and 1/4 in the caramel sauce]) and I think next time I make it, I would decrease that amount also. Also the caramel sauce never set up into a hard candy like shell, which is what I was going for, and that could also be because I added too much lime juice, and it was more like a creme caramel topping consistency, which isn’t a bad thing, but not what I was anticipating.
Also, I poured it on the cheesecake right away, it to harden, but it never did. I don’t know what I would do differently next time. I would decrease the amount of lime, and possibly, wait a little more before pouring it over the cheesecake. Another thing that happened, was even though I added the caramel after the cheesecake was cool, it formed these cracks in the cheesecake, which was more an esthetic issue then anything else, and since the caramel was slightly runny, it seeped into the cracks. Another option is instead of using 1/4 water, I would use the lime juice. The only problem I see with that is, the whole time you’re cooking the sugar, you’re cooking off the water, so it will all but cook off, but maybe the flavors will stay behind just enough to shine through. I don’t know, but it’s definitely worth a try.
It was still servable, and I think the general consensus was that it was pretty good. Oh well, azoy gaytis, ammiright? Or instead of calling it a “caramel,” I would call it a key lime creme caramel, so it’s supposed to be runny, right? I’m a genius
Well that’s it for now, thanks for joining me for this years Rosh Hashana Blogger Party, and I hope you enjoyed, and don’t forget to comment away, and to visit the other blogs, which I’m sure you’ll be able to get real recipes, that you can actually use…at least you come here for the comedic genius, I know 😉
Non-dairy Key Lime Cheesecake Bar with Key Lime Caramel
- 2/3 cup margarin/shortening/coconut oil (I used 1/3 cup margarine, and 1/3 coconut oil), room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 package of non-dairy cream cheese (such as Tofutti brand) – 8 oz/ 225 grams , room temp
- 6 oz non-dairy sour cream (1/2 a tub), room temp
- 8 oz sugar (which I think comes out to 1 cup)
- 4 eggs
- 5 tablespoons lime juice, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 water
- Preheat oven to 350
- To make the Crust: Cream the room temp margarine, and coconut oil, with the sugar, until a smooth paste forms. Add vanilla and salt.
- Add flour and combine until it just comes together.
- Press the dough into a 9×13 pan, and dock with a fork all over
- Bake until golden brown. Appx – 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Lower the oven to 300
- To make the Cheesecake: Combine the room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar, and cream.
- Add eggs one at a time, waiting for each one to incorporate before adding the next one.
- Add 2 tablespoons lime juice, and vanilla extract, and combine
- Pour over cooled crust, and bake until just barely set, approximately 30-35 minutes. The center should still be slightly jiggly, so keep an eye on it.
- Allow to cool, and completely set, before adding the caramel layer
- To make the key lime caramel: Combine sugar and water, and bring to a boil, and allow to boil without touching the pot until color starts to form.
- Once there’s some color, gently swirl the pan, but avoid sloshing it around too much (if you do, you run the risk of having particles burn on the walls of the pan, but if you do have some sugar on the side, you can always brush it away with a wet pastry brush…).
- Lower the heat to medium, and allow to slowly get darker, and thicker, until really dark, but not burnt, turn off heat, and add the remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice. It will bubble vigorously. Wait for it to cool, but still warm, so it doesn’t set, and pour over the cheesecake to allow to (hopefully) set.