Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers-Cheese Cake Revisited

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

For this month’s challenge, Jenny picked a cheesecake, courtesy of her friend Abbey. If you would like to see the original recipe please visit Jenny at

I normally use a cheesecake recipe from Spago dessert cookbook which I love, it is light, not too overpowering, and very delicate, but decided to try this recipe and twist it a little. Initially I wanted to try it with goat yogurt, but then realized I had some chevre in the fridge so I used that instead. Buttermilk was also used instead of the cream for an extra punch. I decided to forgo the crust since no matter what you use it ends up soggy, so I used a pistachio streusel as a substitute crust and as a dish garnish.

I love pairing citrus fruit with cheese cakes or anything that has lots of fat, it tames the heaviness, and since I had lots of blood oranges around, they were the pick of choice. I made the citrus tuiles with juice from the blood oranges, and the batter turned out a beautiful pink color that was unfortunately overcame by the sugar browning during baking. They still retained a beautiful color though.

To stay with the orange theme I candied whole slices of blood oranges in simple syrup to use on the plate. Some of the orange flavored syrup was also used for both garnish and flavor on the plate.

I liked the taste of the goat cheese, it wasn't too overpowering and it added zing to the recipe. What I didn't like was the texture of the cheese cake, and I am not sure it was due to the slow cooling in the oven, which might have overcooked it, or to the addition of the chevre and buttermilk. I will have to try my recipe and method with the addition of chevre to compare.

Chevre Cheesecake

16 oz of cream cheese, 2 8-oz packages, at room temperature
8 ounces chevre
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz buttermilk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath. Spray ten 6-oz ramekins with vegetable spray.

2. Combine cheeses 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 buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice, and blend until smooth and creamy.

3. Pour batter into prepared ramekins. Place ramekins into a larger pan and pour boiling water until halfway up the side of the ramekins.

4. Bake 25-30 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.

Citrus Lace Tuile

adapted from The Last Course

1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup blood orange juice
2 tablespoon lemon juice
7 ounces butter, melted and cooled
3/4 teaspoon grated blood orange zest
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and the flour. With the mixer on low speed, drizzle the juices and mix until smooth. Drizzle the cooled butter and the zest.. Increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 325F. Spoon the desired amount of batter on a baking sheet lined with a silpat and bake for 10 minutes (anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on the final desired size). The batter spreads quite a bit, so don't bake more than 6 tuiles at the time. When the bubbles have subsided, and the tuiles are nicely browned evenly remove from the oven, let cool until you are able to handle the tuiles, lift one at the time and wrap around the handle of a wooden spoon for cigarettes, or around a rolling pin for round tuiles.

Pistachio streusel
adapted from my former mentor, Pastry Chef DMcG.

equal parts in weight of:
pastry flour
granulated sugar
finely ground pistachios
cold butter, cut in small cubes

Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cold butter and mix until it just starts coming together. Cool for at least an hour in the refrigerator (the unbaked streusel keeps for few days). When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 325F. Spread the desired amount on a baking sheet lined with a silpat and bake for 10 minutes. When the sides start coloring, remove the pan from the oven and break any lumps with a bench scraper, mixing the streusel for even baking. Cook for another 5 minute and repeat the mixing, so no lumps form. When the streusel in nicely colored but still soft looking, remove it from the oven, repeat the breaking of the lumps one more time and cool completely. Keep in an airtight container. This is such an amazing recipe and it can be made with other nuts, and sprinkled on anything. Warning, it is addictive!

Buon Appetito!


Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

WOW!! What an amazing presentation! I love how creative you were with this cheesecake challenge--I will be following your blog from now on.

Dragon said...

Your cheesecake is perfection. Great job on this month's challenge.

Lauren said...

Mmm, your cheesecake looks awesome!! I love your flavours =D.

Audax Artifex said...

POW WOW that was my 1st thought on reading your posting. Very creative and it looks so impressive. Bravo yours from Australia, Audax.

Y said...

How pretty! I like your substitutions - makes it sound tangier and 'fresher'.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous!

Kitchenlander said...

Beautiful presentation, very delicate!

Laura said...

Thank you everyone! I had fun with it, and can't wait to see what the next challenge will bring.

You guys too did wonderful jobs on the challenge, a very creative bunch indeed.

Chantal said...

yummy presentation

natalia said...

Cara Laura mi hai fatto ridere ! Si stamattina mi sono svegliata presto e ne ho approfittato per postare ! La pace è una rarità in questi giorni ! Ma quanto è bello il tuo cheeecake !! Io forse l'ho cotto poco perchè il centro era forse troppo sul morbido però non era male ma mi sono attenuta alla ricetta . Quella di Spago è quella di 'dessers by the yard' ? Ma tu a che ora vai a letto ????

ice tea: sugar high said...

That is seriously amazing plating! Love your flavour combo

BICE said...

Ciao Laura, è bellissima questa ricetta!
Poi lo steuseul con i pistacchi!!!
Lo proverò. Per curiosità, lo hai messo dopo intorno alla cheesecake, oppure si fa prima e poi si usa al posto dei biscotti?
Mi intriga tantissimo!
Un'ultima cosa riguardo al gusto, questa aggiunta di questo formaggio di capra che tipo di influenza ha sul sapore finale?
Grazie mille per aver condiviso questa ricetta così particolare.

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and it looks absolutely delicious.

Laura said...

Thank you for stopping by. I am glad to be part of this eclectic community.

Cinzia, ho messo lo streusel dopo aver cotto la cheese cake, momenti prima di servirlo. Il gusto non cambia tanto, il caprino aggiunge un gusto piu' interessante, ma e' appena percepibile.

Lien said...

Mmmm, delicous. You make a work of art of everything you make.

BICE said...

Grazie scusa per la curiosità, ma io vado matta per i pistacchi.
Grazie a presto.

Unknown said...

This sounds delicious - the perfect blend of savory and sweet. Thanks for being a part of the April Daring Baker's Challenge!

Jenny of JennyBakes


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