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 pie is a favorite dessert of mine in the summertime. This is not only because I like lime in general, but because the pie is so refreshing. These Key Lime Pie Parfaits put a little twist on the traditional key lime pie by dressing it up in neat little dessert cups that make for a very elegant presentation of a classic dessert.
The parfaits have the same components that you’ll find in a regular key lime pie: graham cracker crust, key lime filling, and whipped cream topping. The filling is made with sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest. The lime juice – key lime juice is idea, but fresh juice from regular limes works well, too – causes the sweetened condensed milk to thicken when it is added to it, and since this dessert is to be served in cups, it doesn’t need to get as firm as a regular pie filling would. You could use plain whipped cream for the topping, but I opted for the Vanilla Yogurt Whipped Cream that I used in some strawberry shortcakes the other day, so that the whipped cream would have a little more body and flavor to it.
I’ve seen similar key lime parfaits before and they all have one big problem: soggy crusts. Just like with a regular pie, your graham cracker crust needs to be baked to ensure that it does not immediately get soggy when you add the filling to it. I mixed up my crust mixture, spread it onto a baking sheet and baked it until it was crisp and golden, then broke it up into small crumbs. This gave my parfaits not only a delicious crumb crust element, but one that stayed crispy long after the parfaits had been assembled.
These parfaits are easy to make and are absolutely delicious. I would say that they might even be more delicious than a regular key lime pie, because the crust is always crispy and the filling has a tremendous amount of lime flavor, plus you don’t need to worry about your filling setting up properly in the oven. I used some dessert cups I have to assemble these, but you can use any kind cup, glass or small bowl. I recommend using something clear so that you can see the layers. I’ve given some guidelines for dividing up the three elements here. Feel free to make changes based on your serving dishes and how big you want your parfaits to be!
Buttermilk pie is a favorite of mine around fall and in the winter. The pie is something of a Southern classic, and although I am not from the South, it is definitely a well-liked comfort food dessert to have when the weather starts to cool down. Buttermilk pie is essentially a custard pie made with tangy, buttery buttermilk as the primary dairy component. They’re often flavored with a bit of nutmeg or lemon zest. This Buttermilk Lime Pie has a flavor in it that you don’t normally see in buttermilk pies and marries buttermilk pie with key lime pie, another flavor that I am a big fan of.
The pie has a bright, but not tart, lime flavor that comes from freshly grated lime zest, not from the addition of lime juice. It has an almost pudding-like texture that is fluffier and less dense than the filling of a typical key lime pie. It also isn’t quite as silky smooth as key lime pie fillings tend to be. The result of this is that the pie feels a lot homier to me, and it also is more likely to encourage me to reach for seconds. The pie can be served at room temperature, but I prefer it slightly chilled with a bit of whipped cream on the side.
I used a homemade graham cracker crust for this pie. Graham crackers make for a crispy crust and add a really nice additional layer of flavor to the pie. I generally opt for graham cracker crusts when I make key lime pies, too, so using one here reminds me of key lime pie even more. A pastry crust works perfectly well, with this filling but should be blind baked before adding the filling to it. If you do use a pastry crust, consider adding an teaspoon of lime zest when you make it, to further highlight the citrus in this dessert.
While I do enjoy a good slice of cheesecake, I prefer to make cheesecake bars at home when I’m looking for a cheesecake fix. They’re easy to make, have a short baking time and don’t need to be baked in a water bath. They also make a great basic recipe for putting all kinds of variations on for different flavors. For this batch, I wanted to add a key lime element to my cheesecake bars and get the richness of cheesecake and the tang of a key lime pie in one dessert.
Most of the flavor comes from a homemade key lime curd that is swirled into the cheesecake batter before baking. This curd is a twist on a lower fat lemon curd recipe that I absolutely love. Made with tart key lime juice, the curd is very bright and citrusy. It makes for a nice contrast with the rich tasting cream cheese filling. I simply added a few dollops of the curd into the cheesecake and lightly swirled it around with a butter knife before baking. In some places where there was more curd than others, the lime curd sank below the cheesecake (other places it remained lightly swirled on top), creating a nice layered effect. The whole dessert is much less sweet than key lime pie, with a wonderfully rich cheesecake texture and a very refreshing lime flavor. If you don’t have key limes, you can use regular limes in the recipe for lime curd.
The bars have a vanilla crumb crust that is made with crushed vanilla wafer cookies and butter, and is baked and cooled before being filled with cheesecake mixture. Graham crackers would work for the crust, as well, but the vanilla adds a nice mellow flavor that goes very well with the flavor of the cream cheese. The crust holds up very well to the filling without getting soggy, and while it would be crumbly if you tried to slice it on its own, the filling adds the perfect amount of moisture to keep it together and still slice easily.