Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It has taken me far too long to write this post. I don't really have a great reason, but I do have a few pretty good ones. One, I had a hellish take home exam in American Lit. this week. The thing is, my teacher does not grade any of our previous work, and the test is based on our previous work, so I really have no idea what I should be improving on, thus, generally resulting in a not so stellar grade in both areas. For a girl with an overall GPA of 3.85, this doesn't sit well. Working really hard hours upon hours on something only to have it fail (twice) doesn't feel good. Any baker would know what I'm talking about here. Take that slab of puff pastry you've been working on for days that doesn't puff perfectly in the oven, or the bread dough that just doesn't want to rise. It happens to us all, this I know. Sometimes, that just doesn't necessarily make it any easier to swallow.
Onto number two, amidst my seemingly busy schedule (which is basically a balancing act between school, odd jobs, and other various life distractions) I managed to meet up with a dear old friend yesterday. Maybe I can't say 'old' yet. I'm in my early twenties, perhaps I should wait another 10 years before I can deem a friendship 'old'. And now that I write this, the word old seems rather unfitting, it's connotation is almost negative in nature. . . . so let me rephrase. I saw a very dear friend yesterday. A girl I've known for, oh lord no, can it be? About 12 years. Okay, that's half of my life, so perhaps if I still wanted to deem the friendship 'old' I could. It's not stale old, at all. I don't think either of us see or speak to each other often enough nowadays. But from the first moment we met we were instantly close. For many years inseparably so. My dear friend was recently in a horrific car accident. While she looks as healthy and as beautiful as ever, you can see that she's still healing when she walks. She does however have one of the swankiest canes a girl could ask for, that sparkly thing is going to make more than a few retirees jealous, I'm sure of it! She's been in town for a couple of weeks recuperating, so it's absolute stupidity that we didn't connect sooner. There is something so oddly comforting about friends you've had for a long time (not old). Even if you don't see each other, or talk as much as you should, there's this feeling of complete affinity. It's like family really. No matter how much time passes, there's a sense of love, comfort and warmth. Something until the last couple of years was likely impossible for me to experience. I believe that one will always have a different connection to the people they grew up with than the friends they make later in life. So, the two of us had a lovely long chat over a couple of black tea lattes and a few sweet treats. Really made me wish we had the opportunity to do it more often. But, c'est la vie, right?
Onto my not so good reason, which might be apparent due to the novella I've written above, I've been putting this post off. Don't ask me why, because I don't really know. I've mostly been enjoying looking at the pictures, who needs words anyway? I joke. Without words there would be no recipe am I correct? So, what are these delicious mini's? Well, as I'm sure you've guessed already, they're cheesecake. But, they aren't your typical cheesecake, oh no, these are key lime cheesecakes that sit atop a crispy crust of graham cracker and coconut. Each little one is topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of lightly toasted coconut. These would be an incredible addition to a summer dinner or backyard barbecue. They're easy to make in advance and keep in the fridge, but they're so fresh, cool and scrumptious. The lime is very prominent (and increases in intensity the longer it sits), some might even call it domineering, but that's what I was going for. Nobody wants to eat a sissy key lime pie, why would they want their key lime cheesecakes to be any different? If you don't have a mini cheesecake pan/mold you could make this recipe in an 8 inch spring-form pan. However, I'm a firm believer that everything is better when you make it a mini (well, almost everything).
Recipe: Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes
Makes appx. 48
2 cups of ground graham cracker
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 stick of butter (you may need a little more depending on how blended your crumbs are, you want the mixture to come together enough to press firmly into the bottom of the pan, so add 1 TBS more at a a time if crust mixture doesn't look 'wet' enough)
3 TBS sugar
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1/8 cup cornstarch
10 key limes (they're much smaller than standard limes) zested and juiced
2 large eggs
1/4 heavy whipping cream
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
1. For the crust: Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, coconut and 3 TBS sugar into a mixing bowl. Mixture should be moist enough to hold together when pressed into the bottom of your pan.
2. Place one of your packages of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, and the cornstarch in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-low for 2-4 minutes, until mixture is creamy.
3. Add remaining cream cheese, sugar and increase speed to medium-high.
4. Add zest and lime juice and mix thoroughly
5. Blend the eggs, one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next (about 30 seconds).
5. Add the cream until just blended and stop the mixer.
6. Pour batter over crust prepared pans (whether they be mini or spring-form pan)
7. Place in preheated oven and bake : Mini's take 25 minutes to 1/2 hour. Until almost set (the middle should still be a bit soft). Regular size: One hour.
8. Remove from oven and place on counter for another 45 minutes.
9. Cover and refrigerate (preferably overnight, but at least four hours)
10. Top with whipped cream and coconut and devour!
Posted by miss mallory opel at 12:30 PM