Thursday, March 13, 2014

Margarita Cheesecake

Disclaimer: Don't let the "blah" pictures turn you away from this post.  It's tax season and this treat was shared at my office where there are no fancy serve ware, dishes, or linens and every surface seems to be covered with a tax return in-progress!
Our office manager has worked with my Hubby & I for over 32 years.  Note that I say "with", not "for".  She is an integral part of our business and a big part of our success is due to her efforts. She's loved by our clients and we consider her family.  My Hubby and kids call her Mama.  We celebrate holidays with her and everyday gatherings, too. She goes on every one of my Hubby's biking adventures, driving the truck to the next campground, setting up camp, cooking dinner, as well as sight-seeing. It has been the custom for many years now that my Mom makes Annie this margarita cheesecake for her birthday. If Annie thinks it might get forgotten, she requests it! Last week we enjoyed our annual serving of this cheesecake. I don't know why I don't make it more often, it's such a yummy treat!
The recipe comes from a 1980's cookbook, The Joy of Cheesecake.  I don't know who bought the book first but Mom & I both have a copy.  It's got some amazingly good cheesecake recipes in it.  This margarita cheesecake is very light and fluffy, due to the addition of the whipped cream and beaten egg whites. You can use a graham cracker crust but I think the pretzel crust is the only crust to make with this recipe.  The saltiness of the crust, with the tart sweetness of the lime/tequila filling is wonderful!

                         MARGARITA CHEESECAKE

Pretzel crust (see below)

 1 envelope unflavored gelatin

½ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup tequila **

½ cup lime juice

1 teaspoon grated lime rind

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

4 large eggs, separated

1 pound cream cheese, softened

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, or the top of a double boiler, combine the gelatin, sugar, tequila and lime juice.  Stir in the grated rinds, then add the egg yolks, thoroughly mixing all ingredients.  Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens, then remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is light and smooth.

Add the gelatin mixture to the cream cheese and mix to blend all ingredients thoroughly.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until they form stiff peaks.  Fold the whites into the cream cheese mixture.

Whip the cream until it is stiff, then fold it into the cheese mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and chill for 4 hours, or until set.

 ** Rum can be substituted for the tequila, making it a Daiquiri cheesecake.
Pretzel Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Place the crumbs in a mixing bowl and add the butter and sugar; blend well.
Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and partly up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.  Smooth the crumb mixture along the bottom to an even thickness.
Bake for 10 minutes. Cool before filling.

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