Posts Tagged 'cheesecake'

Pipe Dream #35: To Control The Weather

Remember when I asked you to pipe up and tell me your favorite cheesecake flavors because I was trying to plan for my sissy’s grad party?

Well, in the weeks before the party, I realized that making several flavors of cheesecake might be a bit much for my nerves. In order to avoid all the flutterings and spasms (name that movie), I decided to make one cheesecake. A white chocolate vanilla bean cheesecake, for which the recipe will follow in a few days. Also concerning my nerves, the weather was supposed to be crappy. I woke up, peeked outside the window, saw the sunlight and praised the Lord out loud. Amen for sun.

More on that later. Much more. In the meantime, please note the cuteness of cutenesses graduation sign that I made for Waynes. I think I might love it more than she does. I poured my soul and a pint of blood into making it. No kidding–I sliced my finger something awful. Word to the wise, don’t use razors to cut thick cardboard when you are super angry because your sister used all of your sour cream after you had been out to the grocery store for hours that day and had no patience to return so you could make twelve cheesecakes.

Whatever. I’m over it. Moving on…

My dear mother was the real mastermind behind the party. I was just there to facilitate things and ply people with third helpings of cheesecake.

She made several toppings for the cheesecake, the star of which was the strawberry rhubarb compote fresh from the garden. Rhubarb, the spice of life.

And there is the skinny minny herself, standing at “the shrine.” The shrine is our name for the obscenely decked out table that houses the sum of her life’s accomplishments. Girl is loaded. My mother was good enough to put my college graduation photo on the back corner of the table about halfway through the party. I will probably forever live in Waynes’ shadow.

P.S. That dress is a Calvin Klein silk that I got for three dollars at the Salvation Army. That place is a veritable trove.

There were drinks. Namely, coffee. Iced ou non.

To write love in her coffee ice cubes. We mixed in cream with coffee and then put in pre-frozen coffee cubes to keep it undiluted. We like our coffee strong he-ah.

There was also pop. I just like this shot. Hi Wades.

And here is what you have all been waiting for. Vanilla cheesecake with a graham cracker crust and a layer of white chocolate mousse. Ooh baby.

We had a bin filled with ice to store them on until they were nabbed. The quickness of the nabbing made the ice almost unnecessary.

I have titled this shot “Fulfillment.” This cheesecake is as it should be.

All in all, the grad party was a great success. Much love to my Auntie, without whom I never would have managed. Congratulations, sister! I am excited to see where your life leads. You can check out her blog at measuredsunrise.wordpress.com.

May your life be filled with free grad party food,

L

Pipe Up! On Cheesecakes

Remember this?

I do.

And I’ve been hired to make more of them. You see, a certain beautiful lady is graduating. She is my sessy. She likesa the cheesecakes. New York style. Vanilla. Her personality is anything but vanilla, but I can expound on her exquisitely interesting self later.

It’s kind of an in-house hire, but do you think I’m complaining? I am not. I’ll proudly add this to the list of things which I have been hired to bake for in my life (that is, two). (By the way, “in house hire?” That pun was intended. Am I allowed to explain my not-funny humor? I’m such a blog noob. I’ll err on the side of caution. P.S. I think my own jokes are funny about twice a week, no more, no less [name that movie]).

Point of the story, I need to make about 10 cheesecakes, maybe more. I’ll probably make some straight up vanilla in honor of our graduate, but I want something different too. I want these cheesecakes to really shine. Be on my baking A-game (ha) for the 100+ people who may show up. It’s good promotion. And besides, if I possibly end up having to give these cheesecakes away to people because no one showed up, wouldn’t you like to get a cheesecake in a flavor you like?

So here’s the deal: pipe up and tell me what kind of cheesecake I should make in the comments section. Your favorite kind, one you’ve always wanted to try–there is no cake too extravagant. Except if you want me to pipe rosettes. In return, you will receive my Undying Affection, which is right under ‘Eternal Salvation’ on The List of Awesome Things You Can Receive in This Life. But only Jesus can give you eternal salvation.

Ok go! And thank you.

-L

Pipe Dream #1: To Soften Fats Well – Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

I am refraining from calling this cheesecake the ‘Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake’ because I really resent mass media branding. I blame the U of M Journalism School. Besides, I knew I could come up with a more descriptive name for you all. :]

This cheesecake is super extravagant. I mean, most cheesecakes are super extravagant, but this one ‘takes the cake,’ as they say. My own father could not finish his small sliver. He tells me that this is not because it wasn’t good, it was just “too rich.” Well ok. It’s extravagance is owing to its brownie bottom crust (an interesting deviation from the average graham cracker crust), peanut butter cup filling, peanut butter cheesecake, and chocolate ganache topping.

Some Issues

Alas, a perfect cheesecake is still a pipe dream for me. I had several problems with this recipe.

First of all, I did not wait for the cream cheese I was using to soften to room temperature. This is a baking problem I always have; it probably has deep-seated emotional roots in my high school years or something. Lots of recipes call for butter or cream cheese ‘softened to room temperature.’ Usually, I forget to take the butter out of the fridge several hours before I need it. (Actually, let’s be real. I’m on top of the game if I decide to make something a few hours in advance.) What ends up happening is that I try to cheat and warm it up in the microwave, which leads to butter that is either too melty or too hard. I manage because this only sometimes affects that quality of the recipe.

Cheesecakes, however, require perfectly perfect room temperature fats. Else ya get this:

See those little flecks of white? Yeah. Cream cheese chunks. I probably didn’t scrape down the mixer bowl enough either.

In addition, the recipe calls for a water bath, so the oven temperature moderates and the moisture level is high. Prevents cracks, so they say. I didn’t use one–partly because I didn’t want to have to deal with a leaky springform pan and partly because I actually couldn’t find a dish large enough to hold a springform pan.

The disadvantages of this were twofold. First, I got a nice large crack in the top of my cheesecake. That could be due to a myriad of other reasons, but I’m just assuming it was because of the bath. Second, I overbaked the cake a bit–I checked it 15 minutes before it was supposed to come out and panicked because it was so brown.

Luckily, the recipe made so much ganache that I covered the entire top and burned-ish sides of the cheesecake with ganache. It was the baking equivalent of sweeping the dirt under the rug. And I did it. So…

There’s always next time,

L

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

You can definitely use Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for this recipe, but if you want to be pretentious and high-minded about mass media branding’s ill effect on society (read: poor) like me, you can use generic peanut butter cups. If those even exist. Why would they even exist? Not worth asking, I suppose.

BROWNIE CRUST
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-¼ cup Sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons flour
⅓ cups unsweetened cocoa
½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
6 whole peanut butter cups, quartered

CHEESECAKE FILLING
2 pounds cream cheese, softened!
5 whole eggs, room temperature!
1-½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup smooth peanut butter
½ cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DECORATION
½ cups whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
6 peanut butter cups, halved

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease a 10 inch springform pan with butter. The recipe calls for a 9 inch pan, another reason I overbaked this. If you go with a 9 inch, yours will probably turn out better.

Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with spoon or wire whisk. Add eggs; stir until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well. Spread in prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until brownie begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Immediately sprinkle the crust with chips and chopped peanut butter cups. Turn the oven down to 325º.

While the crust is baking, make the filling. beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sugar, peanut butter and cream; mix until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour filling onto crust.

Double-wrap the springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent water seeping in and place springform pan into a larger baking pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake 1-1/2 hours, or until firm and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for one hour.

I took mine off the pan bottom using a Macgyver-ed spatula/fork contraption. It was difficult. Go carefully. Then refrigerate for another four hours or overnight before you decorate.

To make the ganache, scald the whipping cream in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the semi-sweet and peanut butter chips. Stir until melted and smooth. Drizzle this over the cake prettily (or glop it all on and fill in the cracks) and then add peanut butter cups around the edge of the cake.


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