Chili-lime cheesecake may sound a little on the strange side, but I actually won a cheesecake contest last year with this recipe, so swallow your skepticism and give it a try.

The base of the cheesecake incorporates coconut; the actual cheesecake is lime-flavored; and once it has baked and cooled, the cheesecake is drizzled with a chili syrup—a dreamy marriage of a few key Thai flavors.

The holiday of Shavuot is almost upon us, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah by hearing the Ten Commandments being read in the synagogue. Some of the customs specific to this holiday include decorating our homes with greenery and eating dairy foods.

Prepare the pan:

  • You will need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe. If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a regular pan, but the cake will be difficult to remove. You may need to cut it while it’s still in the pan.
  • This cheesecake cooks best in a water bath, so you’ll need a larger pan that the springform pan can sit in.
  • Wrap the outside of the springform pan in 2–3 layers of foil. This helps keep the water from seeping through the crack around the base.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. (120 grams) tea biscuits, crushed
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • 8 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt

Crust Directions:

  1. Optional: toast the coconut first. To toast, spread the coconut out on a pan and bake at 350F for 3-5 minutes until golden. Keep a close eye on it because it can quickly over-toast, ie. burn.
  2. Crush the tea biscuits to a fine crumb, and mix with the coconut, sugar, salt and melted butter.
  3. Press the mixture down firmly into the base of the springform pan. Use the back of a spoon to help compress the mixture.
  4. Bake at 350° F (180° C) for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 24 oz. (680 grams) cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • Zest of 4 limes
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream

Cheesecake Directions:

  1. Let the cream cheese come to room temperature.
  2. Using an electric mixer (stand or handheld), beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the eggs one a time. Wait until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Pour in the lime juice, lime zest and salt. Mix. Slowly pour in the heavy cream, and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour the cheese mixture over the base.
  6. Place the springform pan into the larger pan, and add 1 inch of water to the larger pan.
  7. Bake at 350° F for approximately 60–75 minutes. In order not to overcook the cake, turn off the oven when the center is still jiggly (but not completely wet). Leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven for an hour. Then remove and let it cool completely.
  8. Refrigerate cake until cold. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, then gently release the springform.

Chili Syrup Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 red chilis, de-seeded

Chili Syrup Directions

  1. Cut the chili peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds. Dice very finely.
  2. Place the sugar, lime juice and diced chili into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5–10 minutes. Refrigerate.
  3. If serving the entire cheesecake at once, drizzle syrup over the cake and serve. Otherwise, cut the cheesecake and drizzle syrup over the individual pieces you are serving.