Is this a thing of beauty, or what?

Sweet Baby Jesus,  y’all.

I have waxed eloquent about my cheesecake recipe on here before. (Recipe here.) I am here to report I have Sweet-Baby-Jesus-ed that thing to another level, and I encourage you — no, I DIRECT you — to go out and get you two quarts of strawberries while strawberries are still available, and make one yourownself.

It will win you all manner of plaudits and you can simply smile graciously and pretend you came up with the idea out of your own little brain. I don’t mind.

One takes this cheesecake recipe, linked above, and makes up the batter, and prepares two springform pans. This is too much batter for a nine-inch pan; it’s about right for a nine-incher and a six-incher, so you can make one to take somewhere fancy, and one to have at home, and the family will love you, and the pot-luck you’re taking it to will be impressed as all hell.

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Cooking Crimmis

December 22, 2016

cherry cheesecake

OK. We have made this.

Lawd have mercy. It’s Crimmis, all up in here!

I have been to Kroger more times than the legally allowable limit this week, I think. Because today, I realized I was Almost Out of foil, and you cannot cook Christmas dinner without foil. It just won’t work. And Child A had bemoaned that I had not made fudge, and “I don’t care if you make all those other kinds, but you know, we’re all gonna eat that peanut butter fudge, and my sister (that would be Child B) will be heartbroken if there is no peanut butter fudge.”

So I got marshmallow cream. And another bag of sugar. And foil. And stuff for a coconut cake, though that won’t be for Christmas, because it takes four days aging, and I don’t have that in the calendar, but we will have coconut cake early in 2017. It’s in the freezer. Have already told friend Kate, who is all about some coconut cake, that I need five days’ notice when she’s coming to visit, so I can make one and get it started aging.

Anyway. Christmas dinner is tomorrow, to accommodate Child B’s schedule, so she and her family can get back home and actually have Christmas morning in their own home for a change, and I think that is a Good Thing, and I’m perfectly happy to change my dinner plans to help it happen. Not to mention that it means Child A and Lucy and I can hang out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, go to church, and eat fun things like waffles and pigs in blankets and all such, and generally be slothful and highly enjoy it.

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It’s a babycake!

July 21, 2016

Not the prettiest one I ever made, but pretty tasty.

Not the prettiest one I ever made, but pretty tasty.

I love cheesecake. I have an absolutely marvelous cheesecake recipe, and I make it for special occasions or when there’s going to be a crowd to feed, because my recipe makes a nine-inch springform pan plumb full.

So on the eGullet forum, folks started talking about making cheesecake in the Instant Pot. Now, I would not have had an Instant Pot in the first place, were it not for eGullet, and I’ve picked up a lot of good tips and such there. Not to mention that I learn very quickly about assorted accessories for different kitchen appliances that I’d have never thought about otherwise.

Like a 6 1/2 inch springform pan that, gee whiz, fits perfectly inside the Instant Pot so you can steam your cheesecake while not tying up your oven for the hour and a quarter it takes to bake, plus the four hours it has to sit in the oven after you turn the oven off. Without opening the door. You think THAT won’t put a cramp in your cooking style, think again.

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This cheesecake, y’all

December 1, 2015

Cheesecake No. 1: Cherry.

Cheesecake No. 1: Cherry.

Seriously. You need a go-to cheesecake recipe in your life. This is it. This is purely and simply the best cheesecake recipe I have ever made in my life, and I’ve made a lot of ’em.

This recipe, which is credited online to one Janet Spaulding, and my hat is off to her, has been reprinted in Southern Living and on a host of recipe websites. It makes a New York style cheesecake — heavy, creamy, rich. A nine-inch springform pan yields 12 generous serving-size slices. And be advised it will make enough batter to fill your nine-inch springform pan to the very top; you may wish to cut it back by a 8 oz of cream cheese and sour cream and an egg, or have a graham cracker pie crust ready to hold the overflow.

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Say cheeeeese

June 4, 2012

Ricotta Cheesecake. It’s a marvelous thing. Do this.

If you will recall, a while back, we were cheesemaking with some abandon. And we quit, mostly because we couldn’t get raw milk for a while. And then we got on that fling with kefir, which has since gone by the wayside. And I got to jonesing for some cheese.

So I got a gallon of milk from the Mountain Pastures people, and I set about making a batch of ricotta over the Memorial Day weekend. It would’ve been mozzarella, but for the fact I’d left my Whole Foods bag with the rennet in the fridge at work and I didn’t feel like going back down there and fighting the alarm system, which doesn’t like me. So, ricotta.

I heated the milk to 185 degrees, poured in a quarter-cup of cider vinegar, and let it sit. Went away for 30 minutes, let the curds form. I kind of drug the spoon through it, and instead of whey, found….milk.

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As usual, Sunday is my day for kitchen experimentation.

So far, I have made pie crust dough, for the tomato pie I’ll cook later today, and I have a cheesecake just out of the oven. And later on, I’ll make the pasta with peas  and pancetta. Maybe. If I don’t save it until later this week.

I have this thing with pie crust. I don’t do it well, or at least never have, and then Pillsbury came out with those rolled-up-in-the-dairy-case numbers. But I volunteered to test this recipe for Food 52, so I’m obliged to follow it to the letter, or at least as nearly so as I can.

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Well, I can tell it’s getting close to move day; I’m getting wired. It’s past midnight and I just left the kitchen. I have done some prep work for the frittatta — fried up the potatos, browned and drained the chorizo. They’re in plastic bags awaiting transport to the mother-in-law’s (Child B’s, not mine). I’ve made the cheesecake. I’ve made the salsa, a smidge of which I stole as a mixer for some rum.

Come to find out, the Key Lime cheesecake out of Calypso Cooking is pretty close to Grandma’s, as best I recall. Thusly:

FILLING:

  • 3 8-0z packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup Key Lime juice*
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour*
  • 3/4 cup sugar

TOPPING

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar

*In deference to Child B’s gluten allergy, and because I was doing the salsa, I cut the lime juice back to 1/4 cup and used regular limes because I had them and wanted to use them up, and left out the flour. You need the flour if you’re going to use that much lime juice, else it’ll never firm up. I also omitted the crust, just using a cooking spray pretty liberally on the pie plate. One day, I shall have to splurge on a springform pan.

Blend all filling ingredients with a mixer or food processor until creamy. Pour into graham cracker crust or greased pie plate, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes; lower heat to 300 and continue baking for 55 minutes. Cool. Mix topping ingredients, spread over cooled cheesecake, and bake for 10 minutes at 400. Chill at least 24 hours before serving (mine will chill closer to 12, but that should do it).

For the salsa, I made some adaptations based on stuff I didn’t have, and didn’t want to buy a big quantity to get the small quantity I needed. Here’s my version:

Delta Rumrunner Fruit Salsa (Adapted from Calypso Cooking)

  • 1 pound container frozen sliced strawberries in sugar, thawed
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1 tbsp coconut extract
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 diced bananas
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, halved or quartered, depending on size
  • 1 cup diced pineapple

UPDATE: I have, above, changed the orignial 2tbsp of coconut extract, which Ihad adapted from 6tbsp coconut rum, to 1 tbsp. 2 is way too much coconut.

Blend, in a blender or food processor, first six ingredients (strawberries through lime juice). Pour over fruit, and fold gently to blend. (There’s enough blender mix to sneak a half-cup and use it to mix yourself a rum fruity thing. Since the rum’s out there on the counter already and all.) Refrigerate overnight, and up to a week.

I could SO see this over ice cream, pound cake, pudding, angel food cake, or damn near anything, up to and including straight out of the bowl with a spoon. It might could do with a bit less coconut; (NB: Yeah, it could. See above.)  I will reserve judgment until the flavors have a chance to blend tomorrow. (NB2: Doesn’t help.)  If you had a bounteous crop of strawberries, there’s no reason you couldn’t macerate a couple of pints in maybe 1/4 or so cup of sugar and not use the frozen ones.

Child B’s mother-in-law (whom I think I will abbreviate as “the mother-in-law” as Child A’s M-I-L is deceased and Child C has not yet acquired one) is making creme brulee in the morning. I may die. If so, I will die happy. I love creme brulee more than, well, lots of things. And she’s making cheese grits, and a fruit tray, and I dunno what all else. And we are going to eat copious quantities of everything. Because we can. And then I’m going to come home and go borrow a pickup truck and go get bookcases, so the movers can move them.

And I’ve got to be out in East Jesus (Cordova, TN) at 9:30. So I guess I’d best go to bed. Tell y’mama ‘n ’em g’night.