Key lime pie is one of my favorite summertime desserts. Cool and creamy, it is easy to make and always refreshingly zesty. Key limes are known for their sharp, bright flavor and it goes well with other creamy desserts besides key lime pie. These Key Lime Mini Cheesecakes are a good example and a current favorite way to enjoy their flavor.
The cheesecake filling is made with a mixture of cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. The sweetened condensed milk adds a little extra sweetness to the filling, but it also gives the cheesecake a hint of its distinctive flavor, which is a huge part of a traditional key lime pie. It is flavored with both fresh lime juice and lime zest. Key limes will give your cheesecakes a great flavor, but you can use regular limes instead if you can’t find them in your local grocery store. Be sure to use fresh lime juice (not bottled) and fresh zest to ensure that your mini cheesecakes get as much citrus flavor as possible.
Chocolate and lime are actually a very good combination, and so I used the same chocolate crumb crust that I used for my Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes with this recipe. You can easily substitute graham crackers in place of the chocolate wafer cookies if you would prefer to use a graham cracker crust instead. Both flavor options create a crumb crust is be a great base for the little cheesecakes, with just enough crispiness and flavor to balance out the creamy filling.
The finished cheesecakes have a bright lime flavor that goes extremely well with the tangy cream cheese. I particularly like the way that the chocolate crust adds an extra layer of flavor to the filling. They’re the perfect size for a single-serving – small, but still big enough to be satisfying – because they are baked in muffin tins. The cheesecake isn’t too dense or heavy, but it has a nice creaminess to it that will hit the spot when you are in the mood for cheesecake. If you want to dress them up, you can plate them and garnish them with a lime twist and a dollop of whipped cream, or you can simply peel back the muffin wrappers and eat them as-is.
Key Lime Mini Cheesecakes
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
small pinch salt
2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
8-oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 10 cups of a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, make the chocolate cookie crust. Mix together cookie crumbs, sugar and salt and stir to combine. Pour over melted butter and stir with a fork to moisten the crumbs.
Place about a tablespoon of crumb mixture in each of the prepared muffin cups and pack down into an even layer.
In a large bowl, make the cheesecake. Cream together cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, lime juice and lime zest.
Divide cheesecake mixture evenly into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until cheesecakes are set.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan, then carefully transfer cheesecakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before refrigerating.