Vegan key lime cheesecake bars ... hold the tofu!
So yesterday when I managed to get our rambunctious toddler and colicky newborn to sleep at the same time, I jumped at my chance to get in the kitchen and make something other than dinner (although I did that later too).
My husband's favorite things in this whole wide world are spicy foods (not to be mixed up with the time I made cupcakes that were way.too.spicy for even him), lime and cheesecake (of the vegan variety of course).
I'm a pretty big fan of cheesecake as well, however, most of the vegan versions I've found require tofu and while I can get past it, I'd rather not have to. (I don't mind tofu, but when it comes to something as delicate as cream cheese flavored items I'd prefer to not mix the two).
This time I decided to try a homemade lime curd in place of the tofu, basically because it's got a gooey texture like eggs and I wanted to flavor it lime anyway.
The results were outstanding. It still tastes like the cheesecake you used to remember and the texture is a little bit lighter, but still familiar. I apologize in advance for the crapola, in-the-pan close up photo, we've been using recycled paper plates for the last two weeks to lessen the dish load while we adjust to life with two. So this is the best I have to offer right now!
Key lime (hold the tofu) cheesecake bars
(makes 12 servings)
1 cup lime juice (you're looking at about 7-10 limes, you can use extract, but it won't be as delicious)
1 cup sugar
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup butter (we used Earth Balance)
3 TB corn starch dissolved in 3 TB cold water
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 stick butter
2 tsp cinnamon
2 8oz containers of vegan cream cheese, I used Trader Joes but you can make your own!)
1 cup white sugar
1/2-3/4 cup lime curd
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Curd: Cook the lime juice and butter in a saucepan and cook on medium heat. Add sugar until dissolved and bring to a boil. Stir in cornstarch/water mixture. Turn down to a simmer and whisk until the consistency begins to thicken (usually around 10-15 minutes). The texture will be pudding-like. Transfer mixture into heat-proof dish and place in the fridge to cool.
Crust: Take two cups of graham cracker crumbs and mix in sugar and flour. Add melted butter and stir until mixture is crumbly but smashes together. Scoop mixture into a greased 9X9 square pan and smoosh it down to form the crust. Set aside.
Cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 325. Soften cream cheese (I microwaved it for about 20 seconds) and then scoop into a medium bowl. Add lime curd (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup depending on how limey you want it) and vanilla extract. Stir in sugar and flour and whip with a hand mixer until smooth. Pour into your square pan (with the crust smooshed in) and bake for 45 minutes. Allow it to cool on the stove and then transfer to the fridge for at least one hour.
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