Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rock Your World - Key Lime & White Chocolate Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust

For those of you who follow my blog, you may be surprised to see a dessert posted here. You’ll note that I never said I don’t know how to make desserts; it’s just that I’m not a big dessert maker/eater. Plus, since the youngest member of the family can’t have wheat, desserts in my house usually boast sliced fruit or some such thing.

However ...

Youngest member deserves a huge “shout out”. You see, my petite 9 year old bambino auditioned for and then performed in the school talent show this week. There were about a dozen “acts” that performed including unbelievably talented piano solos and duets, Irish dancing, tap dancing, team dancing, and lots of singers. My little gal just wanted to sing. Unlike some of the other kids performing, she doesn’t take singing lessons or anything like that. She just wanted to give it a shot. Kind of like her version of American Idol. So, up she went in front of the student council, other performers, and the vice principal to audition. Oh the guts it took to do that, especially since she was getting over a bad sinus infection, and her voice was very weak and Elmer Fuddish. To her delight, she found out the next day that she got the thumbs up to perform at the talent show to be held the next week.The day of the big event, my hubby and I as well as my son decided that we would go and show our support for her. I admit I was a tad anxious about her performing because my little miss has been dealing with some anxiety issues this year. She’s loads better, but being the mom I am, let's just say that my protective radar was up and running. The talent show was held in the community center with the entire student body in attendance, as well as all the teachers and staff, plus parents. It was packed ... standing room only ... with about 350 people there. So, they introduce her and she walks up to the stage area and stands before the microphone. Despite all the people there, it was perfectly quiet. As soon as she began singing, I could see everyone’s jaw drop open in amazement. All the other singers sang along with prerecorded music or the actual cd from the original artist or at the very least with a piano accompaniment. My little gal performed a cappella. She totally ROCKED the house down. No one expected that rockin’ voice to come out of that tiny package, especially those who had been at the audition when she was still getting over her cold and you could hardly hear her. She sang the song, “Girl Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae.At the end, the crowd roared their appreciation with clapping and hooting, and gave her a standing ovation. She was the only performer to get one. I, of course, had happy tears and kept getting hugs from parents and teachers who came up to offer congratulations. Ah, it was a very proud parent moment. Later that night, when we were having our end of day snuggle time, I was telling her how proud I was that she followed her heart, took a chance and did something new. She confided that there were two older girls at the audition who snickered at her cold-affected voice when she was auditioning. She said that those same two girls were dancing in their seats when she sang at the actual show. I told her how persevering and being brave doesn’t mean that it’s easy but rather it means that you keep going even when it’s tough. Having two older kids snicker at you would intimidate most kids, and how immensely proud I am that she didn’t let them rain on her parade. Way to be the change, baby girl. This will be a great memory that she’ll hold onto forever. Not bad for a little gal who uses a hairbrush for a microphone!

So, in honor of her awesome debut, I figured she deserved a yummy dessert, gluten free of course. I remember seeing this recipe in a National Parks Cookbook, and it fit the bill perfectly.The pistachio crust is AWESOME. It’s salty, sweet, and crunchy. The cheesecake ... no bake I might add ... is both tart and sweet. We served it with additional whipped cream and strawberries. AWESOME!Key Lime & White Chocolate Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust (Adapted from the recipe served at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Nat’l Park)

Crust:
2 cups shelled pistachios
2/3 heaping cup of sugar
¼ heaping cup melted butter, more if needed

Filling:
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped into medium peaks
1- ½ 8 oz bricks cream cheese, softened
6-1/2 oz white chocolate, melted (I used Giradellli chips)
6 tablespoons Key lime juice
1 packet gelatin (I used Knox)
1 tablespoon water

Finely grind the pistachios and sugar in a food processor. Add the melted butter and process briefly. Mixture should hold its shape. If not, add more melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom of a springform pan. NOTE: I used juice glasses and a pie plate.

In a clean food processor bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar. Pour in the melted white chocolate and combine. Scrape the bowl and mix again.In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and water. Stir to soften. It will clump up fairly quickly. In a heavy weight sauce pan or a double boiler, combine the lime juice and gelatin, and stir until gelatin completely melts. I did it in a very heavy small sauce pan on low heat. Cool slightly and add to the cream cheese mixture. I did it by pulsing a couple of times. Next, add the whipped cream mixture and pulse until just combined. Pour into the crust and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with additional whipped cream and fruit.So, to all those kids out there who are following their heart, taking chances, and making their dreams come true, this dessert is for you. It'll rock your world!

17 comments:

Pam said...

Way to go! She looks so happy standing there!

OhioMom said...

WTG baby girl ... I am giving you a standing ovation!!!! We are all so very proud of you. I know all about the "protective radar" :)

This desert is perfect for a hot summer day, trust me I will be making it ... big plus "no stove"!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Congrats to your daughter for the talent show. She lloks like she is just beaming!

What a creative idea for the crust for your pie. It looks delicious. Key Lime Pie of one of my favs!

Manggy said...

Aw, I'm all verklempt here reading that story! I hope that her confidence soars from now on. I just love those moments of brilliance when someone realizes, "hey! I'm pretty great at this!" Yay for bravery!
And yay for white chocolate-lime cheesecake! I am celebrating with you in spirit! :)

Marjie said...

Hooray for Little Miss! I'm proud of her, too, knowing what issues she's faced! And hooray for you, coming up with these adorable desserts. I'm on the hunt for others for you!

And despite the fact that I make lots of desserts, I'm no big fan, either. I get sugar overload and can't touch the stuff for a week. Fortunately, I have many people who help me by consuming dessert, and saving me from it!

prairierunner said...

Awww, you made me cry! You have to be a proud mama!!!!

Grace said...

aw, how terrific! i'm proud of her too, and i wouldn't recognize her if i passed her on the street. :)
you're darn right she deserved a reward, and that cheesecake's a great one. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

All I heard was cheesecake and I started drooling...Congrats to your girl!

Lynda said...

How exciting for your daughter, and for you! This will really boost her self confidence.
Great dessert too, for the upcoming summer months.

noble pig said...

OMG that is the best story I have heard in a long time. Just the greatest news. As the mom I would have been beside myself in happy tears. Absolutely fantastic!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I would be standing and clapping for her and shouting out Woo Hoo!
What a brave, confident and very talented daughter you have Paula!
Thanks for sharing. Great post!

Pam said...

I got chills reading about your daughter - good for her!!

The dessert looks amazing, I really love the pistachio crust.

Peter M said...

Congrats...a wonderful story and thanks for sharing.

The cheesecake sounds delish...those pistachios peeking out...me want.

Joyce said...

Congrats to your cute daughter. The recipe is awesome. I am going to make this for my company in a few weeks. I am licking my lips just gazing at the photo and I am suppose to be on a diet:) Happy Mom's day to you.

MrOrph said...

What a touching event. Wow. Congrats to the bella donna and to the proud momma!

Mrs. L said...

My heart is swelling with pride for your daughter and all I can think of is "You go girl!" Thanks for sharing.

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