A Sweet & Sour Decision, Part 2

After making dinner went smoothly, it was time to focus on the missing link.  The sweet and sour sensation that it is, Key Lime Cheesecake Pie (adapted from this recipe) with a homemade vanilla wafer crust, was the dessert I had in mind to end the night on a sweet note.  Now how I forgot about this one, I will never know.  But the truth is that when I found myself at home from work at 5:00 on Friday without any preparation and with no refrigeration time available, I highly considered rushing to the Dorothy Lane Market and getting a prepared treat instead.  I knew it was a long shot, but I really wanted to give it a try and make this pie from scratch, crust and all.  I wanted to show I had put effort and time into the dessert as a gift to Tim’s mom.

So my weekend began like this..

Analyze whether this can be pulled off on the way home from work.

Rush in the house and convince my husband how fun it is to use the new vacuum and floor mop to clean.  He is a wonderful helper!  In the mean time, I cranked up the oven to 350 degrees and got to work.

I quickly got out the food processer, roasting pan, spring form pan, mixing bowls, and hand mixer.


2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

5 tablespoons melted butter

3 packages cream cheese (I used Neufchatel-1/3 less fat)

1 cup sugar

7 tablespoons lime juice

3 eggs

2 tablespoons sour cream

To make the crust, blend in food processor enough vanilla wafers to make 2 cups of crumb.


Melt butter in microwave.


Mix melted crumbs and butter together and spread along bottom and sides of greased spring form pan.


Bake crust at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, then set aside.

For the filling, beat together cream cheese and sugar.




Mix in key lime juice.



Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and sour cream.


Pour filling into pie crust.


Instead of simply sliding the pie into the oven, I decided to bake mine in a water bath instead.  I used the brand new Calphalon roasting pan I had gotten as a wedding gift. 


All you have to do is foil wrap the bottom and sides of cheesecake pan, then pour water into roasting pan, until the water level is half way up the spring form pan.


Place roaster in oven for 45-50 minutes, depending on oven temperature, until fully cooked through.


This is where my issues began.  The directions call for the pan to cool off for 30 minutes, and then refrigerated until cheesecake solidifies, maybe 5-7 hours, or preferably overnight.  I however didn’t have that time and needed the pie to cool fast!  I did let the cheesecake cool out of the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, but I took a chance after about 2 hours of refrigerating to cut and serve.

Look how beautiful this pie turned out!  It popped right out of the pan, there was no split down the center, and it let off the most delicious citrusy sour scent.  It looked perfect and I couldn’t wait to slice it.


I took out the knife and slid it right down the center, but…


It wasn’t perfect.  The pie wasn’t done cooling and the filling melted faster than a popsicle in the middle of July.  I remember feeling a pang of annoyance at myself for not making the pie Thursday.  For a split second I wished I would have went to the grocery and picked out a store bought cake.  Sometimes it’s hard to accept mistakes, but at this point I had to bite my tongue and tell my pride to get in the backseat.  I began to think about all the hard work I put into the pie.  I wanted it to be perfect, but nothing is perfect, just like life right?  It was a good lesson for me and I took it with a grain of salt.  I was proud of this pie, whether it looked like a slice or a pile of pudding.



You know what though, it tasted absolutely delicious!  The citrus balance was nice and light.  The vanilla wafer crust was buttery and crumbled just the right amount.  I may have delivered the pie with a visual disclaimer, but I was completely proud of how tasty this was.  Everyone at the table seemed to really enjoy it as well, and the smiles on their faces put one on mine too.  I can’t wait to try and make this pie again, but next time I will allow plenty of time for cooling.  You live you learn though, both in the kitchen and in life.  Besides, would it have been better if it had looked gorgeous, but tasted dry and flavorless?  Yep, I would say this pie was the perfect balance of sweet and sour, just like this dessert had been on my day.


Questions for the Readers

Do you ever have a hard time cutting yourself some slack when you make a mistake  Why is wanting to be perfect such a goal for so many, including myself?

Have you ever had a kitchen disaster that turned out to be a delicious blessing?

12 thoughts on “A Sweet & Sour Decision, Part 2

  1. Yess! To both those questions!!
    Yesterday was a prime example. My yoga class I taught didn’t go smoothly in my eyes although I was told it was great by some of my students…and I felt HORRIBLE afterward. It’s impossible to be perfect..but I think we have such high standards for ourselves that if we fall flat, we end up beating ourselves up about it long after. Even for the smallest things!!

    And as for the kitchen disasters, all the time. Mainly with cookies/muffins. One time, I baked muffins that somehow came out of the ovens as cups. They must have bubbled and popped halfway through baking, I don’t know. I ended up putting jelly or peanut butter right into the cups and eating them straight from the pan- haha!

    • I agree that we are typically our own biggest critics. Usually when we think we have completely failed at something, the truth is others usually don’t even notice the flaws until we try and point them out.

      I bet those muffins tasted even better with the peanut butter and jelly than if they would have looked perfect and been without!

  2. You know what? I honestly believe that taste matters more than presentation 99% of the time! I mean so long as it doesn’t look like complete garbage, the love you put into making it + every other aspect BUT whether the pie stayed together is what’s going to make it a hit! I totally had a pumpkin pudding/pie “mistake as well, but people told me it tasted great as is and reminded them of lava cake! (haha did that give you any indication as to how my dessert came out?)

    As for your question about caring so much to be “perfect”…it’s like how us girls try and make sure we look absolutely perfecttt for our man–we think there’s a hair out of place, and we freak out! But you know what? We just have to learn to RELAX and realize that the darn guy doesn’t even know the difference between a chignon and a french twist so STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF;)

    Can’t wait to see your next attempt at this if you ever do decide to do it again=)

    • Ha ha I bet your “lava” cake still tasted delicious! 🙂 My favorite trick when I mess up a cake is to put together a trifle with the crumbly cake, pudding, whipped cream, etc. So good, and your guests never know that a trifle wasn’t in your original plans!

  3. Disasters in the kitchen are a good way to learn to take everything in stride. When things don’t work out the way we think they should, we have to accept the result and move on, learning the lessons a mess delivers. Great pictures and love the vanilla wafer crust.

  4. i don’t care what the cake looked like – it sure sounds incredible!! please come visit and make this for me? 🙂

    on a more serious note, i’m way too hard on myself at times… it’s something people are constantly telling me – “ashley, don’t be so hard on yourself.” i suppose i have a determined and perfectionistic personality which does help me reach my goals & succeed, but it also causes a lot of stress and anxiety for me at times which is NOT a good thing. this “balance” is something i’m constantly trying to work on… not always easy!

  5. Even though your dessert didn’t go exactly as planned, it still looks like it was delicious! It’s definitely hard to let go of mistakes when you REALLY want everything to go perfectly – especially when it involved cooking food for lots of people! For a Christmas dinner with my boyfriend’s family, I was in charge of rolls. And I messed them up. Rolls, for goodness sake! They tasted fine, but were pretty flat.

    The important thing is that the evening was still wonderful 🙂

    P.S. I think I have the same plate! Crate and Barrel?

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