A sweet-tart holiday

September 06, 1998|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

At the beginning of the summer, I thought of creating a daiquiri cheesecake flavored with lime, lemon and rum. I reasoned that such a confection, though rich, would be a refreshing dessert for the warm-weather months because of its citrus accents.

For one reason or another, I never got around to working on the recipe, and then, looking at the calendar the other day, I realized that summer was almost over. Labor Day - that official holiday that ends the summer season - was almost at hand. If I was going to devise this treat, now was the time.

It took several attempts to get the cheesecake perfect. I made a graham-cracker crust and baked it so that it wouldn't get soggy when the filling was added. Next, the cream cheese mixture, seasoned generously with juice and zest from both limes and lemons, and with a hint of light rum, was added. After the cake was baked, I spread a thin layer of sweetened sour cream over it, and just before serving I garnished the top with a border of chopped pistachios.

The results yielded a smooth, creamy cheesecake, finely balanced in both sweet and tart notes with a crisp bottom crust. This splendid cake, which is better when made a day ahead, would be ideal for a Labor Day celebration because it easily serves 12. It would be delicious after a backyard barbecue that included spareribs, grilled steaks, chicken or hamburgers. Or, if you want to take it to a picnic, you can leave the cake in its pan, place it on a bag of ice and easily transport it to a distant site.

Daiquiri Cheesecake

Makes 12 servings


1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for pan

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar


2 pounds cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest (color portion of skin)

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (color portion of skin)

2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons light rum

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 eggs


1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/3 cup chopped unsalted pistachios

To prepare crust, place melted butter, crumbs and sugar in buttered 9-inch springform pan. Mix well with 2 forks, then press firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees on center rack 8 minutes. Remove and cool, but retain oven temperature.

To prepare filling, beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer on medium speed while gradually adding sugar until well blended. Reduce speed and add both zests and juices, plus rum. Beat in cornstarch. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake on center shelf until wood pick inserted in middle comes out almost clean, 45 minutes. Turn oven off and remove cheesecake.

To prepare topping, in small bowl, whisk together sour cream, sugar, both zests and juices. Spread mixture evenly over top of cheesecake. Return cheesecake to turned-off oven and close door. Leave in oven 45 minutes.

Remove cheesecake from oven and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

To serve, run small knife around inside edges of pan. Remove sides from pan and transfer cake to serving plate. Make 1-inch border on top of cake with chopped pistachios.

Pub Date: 9/06/98

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