No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
You want to pull out all the stops with a creamy, dreamy cheesecake. But you don’t want to fuss with a water bath…or turning on the oven at all, for that matter. Pastry chef and author of The Fearless Baker Erin McDowell’s no-bake key lime cheesecake checks all the boxes: With a press-in crust and easy filling, you’ll hardly have to lift a finger to reach dessert bliss.
“Somewhere between a cheesecake and a key lime pie,” McDowell says, “is this super-easy cheesecake. With tons of key lime flavor and a classic graham-cracker crust, it’s great to make in the summer when it’s too hot to turn on the oven,because it tastes refreshing and is incredibly easy to make.”
“It’s also easy to unmold and slice,” she continues, “so it looks fancy—like a traditional cheesecake—without having to use the oven or mess with a water bath.” That, friends, is music to our ears.
The only difficult part? Waiting for it to be ready to eat.
9 (136g) whole graham crackers
Pinch of fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
24 ounces (680g) cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (57g) confectionrs’ sugar
Zest of 2 limes
¾ cup (170g) heavy cream
14 ounces (398g) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup (115g) key lime juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
Lime zest, as needed for finishing
1. Make the Crust: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and salt until they form fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until fully combined.
2. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press into an even layer. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for 20 minutes.
3. Make the Filling: When the crust has been in the freezer for 15 minutes, start to prepare the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and lime zest until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the heavy cream in a slow, steady stream. Whip the mixture until it forms medium peaks, then add the sweetened condensed milk with the mixer running on low speed.
5. With the mixer still running, add the key lime juice, vanilla and salt. Whip until the mixture is well combined (it should be thick).
6. Pour the filling on top of the chilled crust. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24.
7. Run a small offset spatula or paring knife around the outside of the cake to help separate it from the outer ring of the springform. Remove the ring and gently transfer the cake to a platter.
8. Garnish the rim of the cheesecake with lime zest. Keep chilled until ready to serve.