Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer Disasters and a Key Lime Cheesecake Pie from Cleo Coyle

Yes, the apples, pumpkins, and pears are rolling into our local produce aisle already, and I'm looking forward to seasonal fall baking, but (all things being equal) autumn isn't due for another week.

Today, therefore, I'm saying goodbye to summer. Frankly, after an East Coast earthquake and its aftershock (surreal), a nerve-wracking hurricane (thanks so much for the mopping workout), and a Staycation of mostly work, I'm not exactly sad to see summer's back. But I will miss the summer produce. 

This week, I gave an embarrassing yip of joy (right there in our little green market) when I came upon a display piled with bags and bags of Key limes.

Back in June, I ran a taste test, sharing the differences between Key limes (named for the Florida Keys where they once were grown), and the larger, seedless Persian limes, which are more commonly found in the US. For the heck of it, I threw in a bottle of Key lime juice and summarized the differences among the three, which may make a difference to you when selecting a flavoring ingredient for a lime recipe. 

To read my Key lime taste-test post, click here. My Key Lime Cooler cookies are in this post, too, which can be made with Key limes or the more common Persian lime. (Scroll down the post or click the photo for a downloadable PDF of the recipe.)

And while I'm at it...

A few more lime posts made an appearance on this blog over the summer. 

My Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lime can be found here (or click the photo for a PDF) and... 

Mary Jane Maffini's Shrimp in Coconut-Lime Glaze can be found here

BTW - Happy CONGRATS to Mary Jane this week as she travels to Bouchercon. Her award-winning tale for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine is up for the prestigious Anthony Award for Best Short Story. To see the list of nominees, click here

We are all so proud of you, MJ! 
Good luck!

As for my recipe today, it's not that I don't thoroughly enjoy a traditional Key lime pie, which is very easy to make (Key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk). But when one is distracted and under-counts the number of eggs in her pie, one gets this mess...

My Key lime disaster.
Not as devastating as Irene, but close.

I'm sure our resident pie maven, Ellery, would not make that mistake. (Click here to see Ellery's latest--a Banana Puddin' Pie.) 

As I said, it's not that I don't enjoy traditional Key lime pie, but I do loves me my cheesecake, especially the no-bake, no-fuss kind. And this cheesecake pie is a refreshing treat on these sticky, humid, end-of-summer days.

It's also my husband's favorite dessert. The original recipe came from Marc's mom, but I've tweaked it since, using different ratios to get this simple pie to come out exactly the way I want it (i.e., unlike the mess above, firm enough to slice).  ------->>

It's almost as easy as Elizabeth/Riley's Pink Lemonade Pie, which kicked-off our summer recipes back in late May (click here). Her pie is so easy, her young daughter made it for us.

So here it is, my culinary bookend for the season, my last Key Lime Cheesecake Pie of the year. Well, almost last. I do have two
more bags of limes.

Cleo Coyle, who can't decide
whether this is a cheesecake
OR a pie is the author of
Coffeehouse Mysteries

Cleo Coyle's 

Key Lime 
Cheesecake Pie 

Sweet and dreamy, 

tart and creamy...

To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.


1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup Key lime juice 
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 graham cracker pie crust
(optional) Sweetened whipped cream


(1) Place the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and softened cream cheese in a blender. Blend on high (my blender calls that setting "max/ ice crush" speed) for 3 full minutes. Reduce to medium speed for another 3 minutes.

If you have a low-power blender, you may need to stop the blender and give the mixture a stir at the bottom. You want the cheese to be whipped with the other ingredients until it’s a smooth liquid, the consistency of a thick milk shake.

(2) Pour the mixture into a 9-inch graham cracker crust. A pre-made crust is fine to use. I often use it to save time, dropping the foil pan into a glass pie pan for stability (as you can see in my photos).

(3) Chill for at least 6 hours, overnight is even better. Slice, garnish with whipped cream, and…

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Murder by

Now a national
bestseller in hardcover

"...a tasty tale of crime
and punishment,
lightened by the
Blend's frothy cast of
lovable eccentrics."
~ Publishers Weekly

Before I depart,
I have a
 fun contest
to tell you about...

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Your favorite CM

The prize package includes a gourmet chocolate tasting in a box, a Gimme Coffee Latte Cup (made in Italy), and a signed copy of my new Coffeehouse Mystery Murder by Mocha

To learn how to enter click here.

Good luck, everyone!


  1. Oh yum...It just looks so refreshing. I may have to find me some limes....

  2. This looks great and while out at the store today I am getting all I need to make it.

    As for the earthquake, hurricane, tons of rain we are getting here on the east coast (Like in Jersey) I too will be glad to have Fall. Winter is ok but then again we get hit with a lot of snow here and I am not nuts about too much snow and low low temps. I like Spring and Fall!

  3. Cleo, love the disaster picture. I've had those when I'm not concentrating. Cooking is, after all, a science, and madness does not compute! LOL

    Congrats to all who enter your contests. Your books are great.

    Congrats to MJ on her nomination. I'll see you at Bouchercon.

    And Cleo, love the pie recipe and all the other links. What fun to have a lime week ahead. Love limes!


  4. Cleo, I saw limes in the store last week and thought of you! I can almost taste this pie. Now I wish I had bought those limes I saw.

    I was glad to see your disaster, though. It's always reassuring to know I'm not the only one who has major kitchen disasters. I'm willing to bet the pie that didn't set up still tasted great!

  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one who goes through this! Ha! And...this looks absolutely amazing, Cleo. So easy that I think my daughter could make this, too!

    And good luck to MJ!

  6. It looks fabulous, Cleo! What a keeper. Having said that, I got a great kick out of the disaster picture. Thanks for your kind words and your wonderful recipes and your mouthwatering photos.

  7. It's 104 degrees in my neck of the woods right now. I have all the ingredients (will use regular limes) so I'm going straight to the kitchen to make this for a cool dessert later. Thanks so much, Cleo!

    Congrats, MJ! Hope you and Avery have fun at B'con!

  8. A terrific run down of recipes... you know you all can cook when you have a mind to!

  9. These comments are wonderful! I'm so glad you all enjoyed my Key lime disaster photo. I really should take more pics of my kitchen nightmares (none have involved fire - yet), although I'm on pretty good terms with the local Ladder Company if and when *that* happens. :)

    Congrats again to Mary Jane on the Anthony nomination. We're cheering for you, MJ!

    (Like the Terminator, I'll be back...)

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  10. Love this blog! Although, I think I'd rather go out dinner like my heroine does in The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series.