This is one of my favorite dessert recipes. I’ve been making it for years, really since I first saw Nigella Lawson make it, which at this point has got to be some 15+ years ago. This version is based on a recipe I saw her make on Nigella Bites. I just adapted to suit me. I swapped in Oreos for the chocolate cookie base and use key limes, at least when I can get them. Love a key lime.
I can inhale this cheesecake, which is the reason I’ll only make it occasionally. Usually if Ry requests it. He loves cheesecake, so between the two of us, this cake will last maybe two days. The crust here is no-bake, just the cookies and butter. Super easy. Very delish. And the filling, or cheesecake part, is very, very limey. It’s sour, fragrant and has a super smooth, just barely set texture. It doesn’t have that chalky texture some cheesecakes can get.
So, full disclosure here, I only like the cookie part of an Oreo. I could care less about the filling. I like that dark crumbly choco goodness. So even though this is a no-bake crust, there is a bit of finicky prep stuff to do. And that’s scraping, or squeezing, out the filling from all the cookies. It really doesn’t take that long, and you don’t need to be super disciplined about it. Just get the majority out. But, if you’re super opposed to doing that, you could also just leave the filling in and omit the butter for the crust. There is enough fat in that filling to compensate for the butter and solidify when cooled. I prefer the taste of butter over the Oreo filling, so I’ll take the extra few mins to scrape it out. You pick you own adventure.
He loves cheesecake, so between the two of us, this cake will last maybe two days.
Key Lime Cheesecake
with a no-bake chocolate crust
- 200g chocolate cookies – I like Oreos with the center scraped out, usually about 1/2 a pack.
- 4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick) – melted
- 3C (3 Packets) Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Make sure it’s room temp. I’ll leave mine out overnight if I have enough forethought.
- 1C sugar
- 4 eggs + 2 yolks
- Juice from 10 Key Limes or 4-5 regular limes if key limes arn’t available
- Pinch of salt
- Boiling water for your bain-marie, it’ll depend on how big your roasting tin is. You’ll bake the cheesecake in a water bath to help everything cook nice and evenly and give you that super smooth texture.
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C
Line an 8” spring form pan with foil. Place foil on the base, secure the exterior ring part and then fold the foil up the sides. This is what Nigella Lawson did, just a little insurance to make sure there are no leaks since you’ll be baking this in a water bath. Plus it also helps me unmold it when I’m ready to serve. You can add an additional layer of foil to the entire outside too if you like. Can’t hurt.
To make the crust, pulse your scraped cookies in a food processor till they are nice and crumbly. You can also crush them in a plastic bag if you don’t want to use a food processor, don’t have one, hate cleaning it, etc. Add in your melted butter and pulse, or shake, to combine. Tip everything into your cheesecake pan, and press down firmly with your knuckles or use a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup to make it nice and smooth. Stash in the fridge while you get your cheesecake filling together.
Add your room temp cream cheese into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add in your sugar, beat till combined. Then add in one egg at a time, mixing to combine, then the two yolks, and keep mixing until everything is nice and smooth. I do this just to make things a little easier on myself. It all incorporates better when I add one egg in at a time, or at least the first two or three, rather than everything at once. Finally, add in your lime juice, pinch of salt and mix.
Time to bake. Pour your filling over the base and place in the center of a large roasting tray. Place in the oven and then pour hot, just boiled water into the tray just until it reaches about halfway up the sides of your pan.
Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about an 1hr 10 mins. You want to check at around 1hr or so. It’ll be soft set and should still have a slight wobble in the center when you nudge it. It’ll finish setting up once you let it cool.
Remove your cheesecake from the oven and immediately tear off the tinfoil from the outside of your pan to ensure no excess moisture makes its way to your chocolate crust. Let the cheesecake cool at room temp and then stash it in the fridge for about an hour before you go slicing into it. The wait is worth it. Then, go ahead and eat up!