mango-lime-cheesecake

My friend’s husband recently begged her to start making cheesecake more often.  Anna, this recipe is for you.

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I used brown sugar when I was testing this out and taking pictures.  However, when I was using the leftover batter to make little mini cheesecakes, I just threw together a new crust and used regular sugar.  I liked it much better.  So that’s why the recipe says granulated sugar, when the picture shows brown sugar.

Speaking of the “extra batter,” I used an 8 inch pan to make mine, though I am sure a lot of people out there may have a 9 inch pan.  Whether you have an 8 inch or 9 inch, when you fill in the batter, make sure it doesn’t come more than three-fourths up the sides of the pan.  I once had a cheesecake rise too quickly and then spill over the top into the bain marie.  It was a mess.

And while we’re on that subject, I think that cake I referred to above rose too quickly because I am at high altitude.  But I think it was also because I used boiling water in the bain marie (“Bain marie” just means a little hot water bath that you cook custards in.  You basically just place the custard [or cheesecake or whatever] into a larger pan that’s halfway filled with water.  It’s supposed to help whatever you’re baking cook more evenly and slowly.).  This time I just made up my bain marie with cool water, and I avoided the erupting cheesecake fiasco.  Be my guest to try it with boiling water.  This was just how it worked for me.

mango lime cheesecake bars with macadamia nut crust

2/3 cup (112g) raw unsalted macadamia nuts (mine were from the health food store)
2/3 cup (125g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup (100g) unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 8 ounce (226g each package) packages cream cheese
3/4 cup (145g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 eggs

for the topping:

1 ripe mango, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
juice and zest of 1 lime
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 (180 degrees celsius).  Line a 9 inch square pan with a strip of 9″x14″ parchment paper.  (If paper keeps falling down, use metal clips to keep it in place).  Set aside.  In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse together macadamia nuts, sugar, salt and flour until it resembles coarse meal.  Pour in the melted butter and process until the mixture comes together.  Press nut mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes, just until the edges barely begin to brown.  Remove from oven to let cool.

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2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla extract, lime juice, zest, salt,  flour, and cream and beat until well incorporated.  Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating each well after each addition.  Pour cream cheese mixture on top of the macadamia nut crust.  Place a clean kitchen towel in the bottom of a large casserole dish or a roasting pan, and place the cheese cake on top.  Pour cool water in the roasting pan, directly on the dish towel, until it comes to about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is almost not jiggly.  Turn off the oven, and keep the oven door partially open while the cake cools.  Remove after about 30 minutes, and allow to cool completely, then transfer to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.  Cover with plastic wrap only after cake is completely cold.

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3.  Prepare the topping.  To cut the mango, make a slice on either side of the pit.  Take each large piece, and with a sharp paring knife, cut into the flesh vertically and then horizontally to break up the fibers.  Flip the piece inside out so that the squares of mango splay out.  Use your knife to slice off the pieces of mango.  Repeat with the other side, then peel off the skin from the middle section of mango and slice off as much of the fruit from around the pit.  Cut into small pieces.

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4.  In a small saucepan, bring sugar and lime juice to a boil.  Swirl the pan if necessary to help the sugar dissolve.  Boil for 1-3 minutes, or until the some of the water evaporates and the syrup thickens.  Allow to cool for a few minutes, then pour into a bowl and mix in the mango pieces and lime zest.

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5.  When cheesecake has set, use the sides of the parchment paper to gently lift the  cake from the pan.  With a warm knife, cut the cake into rectangles, cleaning the knife after each cut.  Top each bar with mango topping.