When it comes to making dessert for guests, I’m really drawn to cheesecake. I’ve come across a few great cheesecake recipes this year, and Margarita Cheesecake from the May 2004 issue of Everyday Food is one of them. This is a “hot water bath” recipe and it requires a little extra effort, but the results are worth it.
First, I made the crust. I buttered a 9 1/2-inch springform pan and set it aside. Then, I used my Cuisinart Mini-Prep food processor to grind 4 ounces of salted pretzels to fine crumbs. I added 1/3 cup of sugar and 4 tablespoons of melted butter and processed until everything was combined.
I pressed the crust evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. The recipe said to go about 1 inch up on the sides; I think I went a bit too high this time around. (“Not as pretty” still tastes good, though!) I put the springform pan on a baking sheet and baked the crust for 5 minutes at 375 F. When the crust had finished baking, I set it aside to cool.
Next, I reduced the oven temperature to 325 F and prepared the filling. I used my stand mixer to beat 3 8-ounce bars of cream cheese until light and fluffy (about 1 minute). I mixed in 1 cup of sour cream, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of Triple Sec, 1 tablespoon of tequila, and 1 tablespoon of grated lime zest and beat the mixture until it was smooth. I added 4 large eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each.
I poured the filling into the cooled crust and lined the outside of the springform pan with foil. (This prevents water from seeping in during baking.) I put the pan inside a large roasting pan and poured hot water into the roasting pan until it came halfway up the sides of the springform pan. I carefully placed the pans in the oven and baked the cheesecake for 1 hour at 325 F. I removed it from the hot water bath and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Once it had cooled, I chilled it overnight in the refrigerator and served it the next night.
This is a really tasty treat. One of the friends we had over for dinner compared the flavor to toned-down key lime cheesecake. The texture is just fantastic, too… It’s not super-dense like Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, but it’s not quite as fluffy as the Pumpkin Cheesecake I made back in November. I’ve made this one three times so far, and I’m keeping it in my repertoire.
TIPS: I hadn’t experienced this problem previously, but my pretzel crust was initially too dry this time around. I was trying to press it into the sides of my springform pan and it was just crumbling down – it wouldn’t stick. I put my crust back in the food processor and added 1 more tablespoon of melted butter to resolve the issue.
I would strongly recommend using wide heavy-duty foil to wrap the springform pan for the hot water bath. I’ve tried overlapping two pieces of regular foil to cover the underside and sides of the pan, but I’ve had water seep into my crust each time. The wide heavy-duty foil did the job beautifully.
Finally, I’ve had great luck freezing individual slices of this cheesecake. I just wrap each one in plastic wrap and store the wrapped slices inside freezer bags. Then, I thaw the slices overnight in the refrigerator. The cheesecake should keep well in the freezer for about 3 months.
Recipe link: Margarita Cheesecake