Happy Endings

May is a great month for entertaining. The weather is warming up nicely, the produce that's around is a welcome change from the limited root vegetables of winter and just about everyone feels like celebrating. So take a trip to the farmers' market and let the offerings plan your menu for you. Then, to end your party right, offer this month's amazing margarita cheesecake.

It takes a bit of time to put together, but the results are absolutely amazing. If you are going to make cheesecake from scratch, I think choosing amazing ingredients and making it well worth the time investment is important. This one boasts two kinds of citrus peel and a burst of flavor from orange liqueur. I'm also a big fan of the cookie crust and using both cream cheese and sour cream in the filling. It will taste like the richest margarita you've ever enjoyed!

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Margarita Cheesecake

  • 7 T. butter, cut up
  • 5 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 8 oz. (65 wafers) vanilla wafer cookies
  • 4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 container (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 1/4 c. orange-flavor liqueur or orange juice
  • Orange and lime slices, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Wrap the outside of 10" by 2 1/2" springform pan with foil to prevent leakage. While the oven preheats, melt the butter in the springform pan in the oven.

Meanwhile, from the limes, grate 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of the peel and squeeze 1/2 cup of the juice. From the orange, grate 1/2 teaspoon of the peel. In a food processor with the knife blade attached, pulse the vanilla wafers and 2 teaspoons of the lime peel to make fine crumbs (you should have about 2 1/2 cups crumbs). Stir the crumbs into the melted butter in the springform pan, then press the mixture onto the bottom and 2 inches up the side of the pan to form a crust. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, with a mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with a rubber spatula. Gradually beat in the sugar and salt until it's blended. Reduce the speed to low; beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, sour cream, liqueur, orange peel, lime juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon of lime peel just until blended and smooth.

Pour the cream-cheese mixture into the crust, making sure to scrape any peel on the beaters into the batter. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes (the cheesecake will still jiggle slightly in the center). Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour to cool slightly and set.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 6 hours, until well chilled or up to 2 days.

To serve, carefully remove the side of the springform pan. Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes for better flavor. If you like, arrange orange and lime slices on top of the cake for garnish.

  • Yields: 20 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes