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Key Lime Cheesecake Pie in Coconut-Pecan Crust
From Starting with Ingredients: Baking, by Aliza Green

Tart and tangy, yet voluptuously creamy, this no-bake cheesecake is easy as can be. A crunchy, coconutty, pecan crumb crust ideally made in a deep, French fluted quiche pan encloses the smooth filling. Make the cheesecake a day or two ahead of time. I like to decorate it with paper-thin slices of Persian limes (Key limes have too many seeds). Last time I made this pie, I broke the rule of not using anything for garnish that's not in the dish by arranging colorful Clementine orange segments in pairs around the outside of the pie with thin slivers of green candied angelica sticking out of their ends like stems.


For the Crust:

1/4 pound (1 cup) shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 pound (1 cup) pecan pieces
1/4 pound biscotti or graham cracker cookies, crumbled
Pinch salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Filling:

1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
7 fluid ounces sweetened condensed milk
7 fluid ounces fresh Key lime juice
Grated zest of 1 Key lime (2 teaspoons)
1 lime, thinly sliced


Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the coconut, pecans, cookie crumbs, salt and sugar, and process until medium-fine. With the processor running, pour in the butter, continuing to process until well combined. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch fluted French quiche pan (or a 9-inch springform cake pan). Chill for 30 minutes to set the crust.

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Fit a piece of heavy-duty foil onto the dough and fill with beans or other pie weights. Blind bake (just pastry crust, no filling) on the bottom shelf of the oven until the crust is cooked through but not yet browned, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and the weights, reduce the oven temperature to 325F (160C), and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the crust is evenly and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Make the filling: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth and shiny, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the condensed milk, lime juice, and zest, and beat until smooth. Whisk by hand to ensure that no lumps remain in the batter. Spoon the filling into the crust. Decorate with the paper-thin slices of lime, and chill to set, at least 2 hours. Store lightly covered and refrigerate up to two days. Wrap in foil or freezer paper and freeze (without the lime slices) up to one month.

Yield: One 9-inch pie, 10 to 12 servings


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