Luscious Lime Tart

Above the sounds of car doors opening and closing, luggage being loaded, and 30 women exchanging “goodbyes and well wishes,” comments regarding their retreat could be overheard. They were all very positive, especially those regarding their meals. Many of these women love to cook, and are very attentive to—and appreciative of—what they are served.

From what I overheard, their final dessert was the ultimate perfection, and had made quite an impact, sending them off on a high, happy note. As I thought on all of this someone quietly appeared offering me a luscious looking lime creation garnished with a fresh mint leaf and whipped cream on a crystal clear glass dessert plate. Suddenly I was reminded of a favorite verse of scripture in the Old Testament where God in referring to prayer says: “Before they call, I will answer.”

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Luscious Lime Tart
SERVINGS
8servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
8mins
PREP TIME
40mins
READY IN
3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

Crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until blended. Transfer to a medium bowl and add coconut flakes and melted butter. Toss to combine completely. Pour the crumbs into an 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Set aside to cool completely.
Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Stir until thick and well incorporated. Set aside.
  2. Place the gelatin in a small bowl and cover with water. Let stand two minutes to bloom. Microwave in 10-second bursts until gelatin is dissolved. Cool the gelatin to near room temperature, but do not let it set—very important.
  3. Add the whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. (If you don't have a stand mixer use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer.) Whip the cream for one minute on a medium speed. Slowly add the sugar to the cream. Turn off the mixer and check to see that the gelatin has cooled, but not set. Add the gelatin and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Separately reserve about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping for garnish.
  4. Spoon about 1/2 cup of whipped cream into the key lime filling and lightly stir to combine. Add the rest of the whipped cream and fold completely into the mixture, careful not to deflate the cream too much.
  5. Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust and smooth over with a spatula.
Topping:
  1. Garnish with whipped cream and thinly sliced lime as desired. Refrigerate for at least two hours for a cloud like dessert. For a frozen tart, freeze at least two hours.
  2. To serve, remove the tart from the freezer and let it sit out on the counter for 10-15 minutes to soften a little before slicing it.

Triple Lemon Cheesecake

My hopes for spring were dashed this week when the Northeast was blasted with a chilly snowstorm.
Monday morning. April Fools? No less!

Well, a little chilly weather and white dust on the ground weren’t going to hinder our plans this week. We are hosting Lumen Christi: Easter Encounters with Art with art historian Msgr. Timothy Verdon and artist Gabriele Wilpers. This is a unique opportunity for artists and those who love art to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. A festive dinner to welcome our guests was on the docket.

Our opening celebratory meal was a Cape Cod theme with clam chowder, coleslaw, fresh cod with salty and buttery crumbs, corn pudding, and vegetables. We featured a luscious triple lemon cheesecake for dessert. Doesn’t just the word lemon conjure up images for springtime? This was probably the best cheesecake I ever put in my mouth — delightfully creamy, and just enough of that citrusy tartness to whet your palate for another bite.

Read more about Lumen Christi here:

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Triple Lemon Cheesecake
SERVINGS
12people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
70minutes
PREP TIME
30 minutes
READY IN
100minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

Toppings:
  1. 1/2 cup lemon curd, heated over a double boiler until warm and easy to pour (I used Stonewall Kitchen Lemon curd)
Directions
  1. ​Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. ​Butter the bottom and side of a 9" spring form pan. Have a ready roasting pan. Put on a kettle of water to boil for the water bath.
  3. Stir together crumbs, melted butter and sugar with a fork in a medium bowl until combined. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan (not up the sides). Bake 8-10 minutes or until crust is set; let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  4. ​Process sugar and zest in a food processor until zest is finely ground.​
  5. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese beginning on low speed and​increasing to medium-high​speed, until light and fluffy. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP; IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR A LUMP-FREE, FLUFFY CHEESECAKE.​
  6. Gradually add sugar mixture, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula, continue beating until smooth.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, ricotta, salt and lemon juice; beat until well blended.
  8. Wrap the outside of the spring form pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, then pour the filling into the pan; set it in the roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour in enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the side of the spring form pan.
  9. Bake for 70-75 minutes or until the center is almost firm and set. DO NOT OVER BAKE. The cheesecake will firm as it cools.
  10. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and water bath, turn off the oven. Return the cheesecake to the oven (keep door cracked slightly) to let rest for about 5 hrs. or until firmly set.
  11. ​Remove the foil and run a table knife around the inside edge of the pan; remove the pan's sid​e, wrap in plastic and freeze until ready to use. I find freezing the cheesecake makes it much easier to slice. Slice and thaw the cake as needed - return unused portions to the freezer, well covered with saran wrap.​
  12. When ready to serve, heat the lemon curd slightly over a double boiler or in the microwave and drizzle over the top of your slices. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.  ​Enjoy!​
  13. ​**PLEASE NOTE, once the cheesecake has been in the freezer overnight, you can then remove the bottom of the pan from the cheesecake more easily, and then re-wrap the cake well in plastic wrap and return to freezer.​

Little Fresh Lime Tartlet

Last week’s Elijah concerts at the Community of Jesus were amazingly successful……..full house attendance for both nights accompanied by so many heartfelt comments of how touched and moved listeners were by the richness and beauty of the singing and music.
The brass and organ concert the following week was very different in many ways, yet equally impressive and received enthusiastic applause and compliments from the energized and invigorated audience.
Both concerts were followed by a spectacular reception of both sweet and savory specialties. Among the desserts that received the most acclaim was our favorite little fresh lime tartlet…..so appealing to the eye as well as the palette, so perfect for this time of year.

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Little Fresh Lime Tartlet
SERVINGS
10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
12-15mins.
PREP TIME
35mins.
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Crush the graham cracker squares in a food processor or place in a gallon size bag and roll with a rolling pin.
  2. Add sugar and butter and mix into the crushed graham cracker.
  3. Press 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a cupcake liner. I put 1 tablespoon in and then pressed down with 1/4 cup measuring cup. You have the option to bake this at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes so that it can harden.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together egg whites, condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and Greek yogurt. Mix well.
  5. Fill the cupcakes about 3/4 of the way full with the mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool.
  6. Top with whip cream and garnish with lime if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

​​Mascarpone Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of those “back pocket” desserts that I always like to have on hand.  It freezes well, and you can even slice it frozen and re-freeze what you don’t use.  I have my favorite NY Cheesecake recipe that I’ve used for years, and it’s a no-fail,  but when I was living in Italy, I didn’t have the same access to graham crackers and cream cheese as I did at home, so I had to do a little improvising.  That’s when I stumbled upon this recipe for a Mascarpone Cheesecake.  This was something I always had on hand  – mascarpone is pretty much a staple in Tuscan homes, and much less expensive than it is here.  But if you’re looking for something different,  give this a try.  It is light and delicious, and lovely served with fresh berries tossed in sugar!

A few tips to making a successful cheesecake:

  • Always start with room temperature cream cheese and beat the cream cheese ​until very smooth and ​before ​adding any other ingredients.
  • Have your eggs at room temperature
  • Using the zest from fresh limes, oranges or lemons is what will give your cheesecake a flavor boost.  Zest contains the essential oils, which adds the depth of flavor without the tartness and “liquidity” of juice.
  • Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil and cook the cheesecake in a water bath to prevent cracking, just make sure you have a tight fitting springform pan to do this, otherwise the water will leak in. You can also bake cheesecake without a water bath, but use a lower temperature oven.​
  • When the baking time is up, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake just sit for an hour or so​.  This helps​ the cheesecake to set up well.
  • If not using right away, remove the spring form pan sides and wrap ​tightly in plastic wrap, leaving ​the bottom​ of the pan on​, and freeze.
  • After a day, you can remove the pan bottom and re-wrap the cheesecake.
  • Slice your pieces while still frozen and put the rest back in the freezer.
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​​Mascarpone Cheesecake
SERVINGS
12people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
110min
PREP TIME
15min
READY IN
180min

Ingredients

Instructions

For the Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Butter the inside of a 9-inch springform pan, and wrap the bottom of the pan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Place the prepared pan on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt. Add the butter and stir well to moisten all of the crumbs. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and use your fingers to press gently into an even layer on the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. If you are having trouble getting the layer even, use a straight sided glass or measuring cup to gently press the crumb mixture onto the sides and into the corners. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes while the oven heats.
  3. Slide the pan into the oven and bake until the crust is lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325º.
For the filling
  1. Using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until it is light and very smooth, about 4 minutes.
  2. With the mixer running on medium low speed, slowly pour in the sugar, then the salt. Beat for 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a full minute after each egg. Scrape down the bowl, reduce the speed to low. Add in the mascarpone and mix thoroughly. ​ Wrap foil around the outside of the pan (see picture below) and pour the mixture into the prepared crust. The batter will come to the top of the springform pan.
  4. Place the springform pan into a roasting pan​ and fill the roasting pan with enough (very) hot tap water—or boiling water—to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan​ ​and place on the center rack of the oven. ​Close the oven door and bake the cheesecake until it is lightly golden on top and the filling is set, but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 90 minutes.
  5. Turn off the oven and prop the door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake cool for one hour in its water bath. After an hour, gently remove the roasting pan from the oven and lift the springform pan from the water. Carefully remove the foil from the bottom of the pan and set the pan on a cooling rack. Run a knife around the top edge of the cheesecake to release it from the pan. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature, then cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before slicing—an overnight chill is best if you have the time.​

Andiamo Mangiare!​