Monday, April 27, 2009

Did someone say Cheesecake?????

Woohoo! it's that time of the month again.
I have to admit after sitting out of last month's challenge I was ready to go for this month. I am so glad we had a great recipe to play around with for our challenge, all credit going to Jenny and her Abbey's infamous cheesecake recipe.
For my cheesecake I went with a little bit of an Italian flair. I stole a few ideas from David Rocco. You know who I'm talking about ladies, that gorgeous Italian man that parades around Florence speaking Italian and looking hot while doing it oh... and he cooks. Anyways he featured a Ricotta Torte one episode and ever since then I've been hooked.

BTW, P if you read this, you are short 1 bottle of Obikwa Shiraz. I needed it for my pears. Thanks.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups amaretti crumbs
1 stick melted

2 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each room temperature
1 tub ricotta, drained
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Poached Pears:
1 bottle red wine: when I say 1 bottle, pour 1 glass for yourself and then the rest of the bottle in the pot
5 tbsp sugar
5 pears, peeled

Bring wine and sugar to a boil.
Place pears in syrup for 15 minutes
Turn off heat and let steep for 3 - 4 hours
Take pears out and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use
Boil wine syrup until the consistency is thick, place in bowl and set aside until ready to use.

Makes about 1 cup of syrup once reduced.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bathing in Caramel

You know when you make up a recipe and cross your fingers that it all works out, well this one worked and then some.
I could bathe in this stuff. In fact I made this while no one was home and for a 30s. period... maybe... actually... ok... I did consider it.
I paired this with Tartelette's version of Dorie Greenspan's Burnt Sugar Ice Cream.
What was nice about Tartelette's version was the elimination of half the sugar called for. This ice cream came out perfect for those of us without that aching sweet tooth,
That sauce however could possibly produce a sugar coma, especially if bathed in....I really have to stop talking about that.
The addition of maple syrup, from a recent trip to the sugar bush, was amazing. In fact it brought the flavour up to another level. My friend described it as peanut brittle-ly with maple. In fact, once she tasted it we both discussed bathing in it.


Maple Caramel Sauce:

1/3c. heavy cream
1/4c. maple syrup
1/4c. sugar
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel, or any good salt...maybe not table salt cause it's too harsh

- Combine sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil till suagr turn amber, about 6-8 mins.
- Add maple syrup and cream and then continue to boil till thickened
- Add salt once you take the sauce off the heat, stir and then set aside until ready to use.

The recip for the ice cream is linked here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mmmm those waffles are yammy!!!!

I'm not really in the mood to post with a story today. I took a bunch of photos, so enjoy. Obviously, I gave you the recipe which I got from Whole Grain Gourmet.
These were amazing btw!

Sweet Potato Waffles:
Dry ingredients
2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup natural unbleached sugar
1 Tbsp aluminum free baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Wet ingredients
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mashed baked sweet potatoes
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature

Pre-heat your waffle iron. Depending on the type of iron you have, you may need to lightly oil it.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk them until well combined.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites, reserving both.
In a medium bowl, combine the milk, sour cream, mashed sweet potato, melted butter, and egg yolks. Whisk until well combined.
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites at a high speed for about two minutes. Stiff peaks should form when you lift the beaters. Set aside.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Whisk until well combined, but do not over mix. The batter should be nearly smooth.
Fold in the beaten egg whites.
The batter is now ready for your waffle iron. The amount of batter and cooking time will vary according to the size and temperature setting of your waffle iron.

Serves 4 : full size Belgian waffles