Call off the Department of Social Services. The kids don’t actually drink tequila in this story. For the third year in a row, I had the tremendous honor of making dessert for the East Central Court Appointed Special Advoctes (CASA) Fire & Ice gala in Brookings, S.D. The fundraising event benefits children who have been victims of abuse and neglect.
The menu description for my Key Lime Cheesecake with Patrón Sauce: Like a margarita sitting in the sand, tart Key lime filling nestles into a graham and vanilla crust. The cheesecake is topped with whipped cream and served with juicy Key lime cream spiked with Patrón Silver 100% Blue Agave Tequila.
Two years ago for Fire & Ice I made raspberry white chocolate truffle cheesecakes, and last year I made Italian Tuxedo Trifle Parfaits stacked full of amaretto brownies, silky white chocolate cream and fresh strawberries. This year we went tropical and from what I could tell, these babies were a hit. It might have something to do with the pre-gala Bel Brands VIP Reception — it added an extra hour of wine drinking before the meal. *Wink. Wink*
On the other hand, how often do you eat cheesecake with a shot of juicy Key lime Patrón sauce drizzled over the top?
The sauce is simple to make — a sweet mix of sour cream, sugar, Key lime juice, lime zest, and tequila.
People often ask me how I make baby cheesecakes. The cuteness comes from these Chicago Metallic mini cheesecake pans.
The first 50 or so didn’t turn out so well. I believe weather can sometimes affect your baking. This happened…
…because this happened on baking day:
So to ease my frustration, I went outside and took pictures of a female woodpecker that knocked herself into a no-fly zone after hitting her head on our French doors. The pesky robin kept photobombing the picture!
And then I went back in the house and baked more than 260 beautiful baby cheesecakes.
I want to give a shout out to Mike, Ben, Chris, and Evan at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Brookings. Mike (not pictured) is the produce manager and for the last three years, he has hooked me up with fresh, juicy raspberries, strawberries, and Key limes for my Fire & Ice desserts. When I went to pick up my limes this year, Mike was gone and Chris, Evan, and Ben (pictured from left to right) made sure I had the best-looking bunch of Key limes. So I took their picture – the best looking bunch in the produce section. You know the tune, “Where there’s a helpful smile in every aisle.”
Thank you also to the Brookings High School Honor Society and the event staff from SDSU Catering. The kitchen was a harmonious frenzy that night and you helped pull off the dessert presentation and service with swift and gracious style.
Lastly but most importantly, to Julie Wermers, Executive Director East Central CASA, and Darilyn Odegaard, President East Central CASA, and to the East Central CASA Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and Fire & Ice committee — thank you for giving a voice to children who would otherwise be unheard, and for giving them hope for the future.
Key Lime Cheesecake with Patrón Sauce
- 1 9-inch springform pan
- ¾ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
- ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 24 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature , 3 (8oz) packages
- ¾ cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
- 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs, large, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- ½ cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed to room temperature
- ⅓ cup Key lime juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Key limes for garnish
Sugared Patrón Sauce
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons Key lime juice
- 1 teaspoon Key lime zest
- 2 teaspoons Patrón Silver 100% Blue Agave Tequila, or tequila of your choice
- Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease springform pan.
- Mix crushed wafer and graham cracker crumbs with sugar and melted butter. Stir until well combined. (I use the food processor.) Press crust evenly into pan. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the sugar and sour cream, beating until smooth. Beat in the flour. At this point, make sure the cheesecake filling is creamy.
- With the mixer on low speed, beat in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, gently scraping down the sides after each one.
- Add the limeade concentrate, Key lime juice, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Pour the filling over the crust. Bake at 350°F 15 minutes. Turn down the oven to 200°F and bake for another 60-70 minutes. The center should be a little jiggly but shouldn't look wet.
- Cool to room temperature. Place in refrigerator for at least 12 hours for the best flavor. Serve topped with tequila sauce.
Key Lime Patrón Sauce
- Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, Key lime juice, lime zest, and tequila. Top with whipped cream and tiny slices of Key limes and zest.
All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets