Daily Archives: 5 April 2019
I love cheesecake! It’s so rich that don’t eat it very often, but when I do, I always think I should try making one myself. I prefer the dense New York style cheesecake to lighter airier ones. I was excited when reading the headnote for this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe challenge for Dee’s Fantastic Cheesecake to see that Dee originally hailed from New York and created this recipe in Paris to recreate the flavors of home.
The only “unusual” ingredient was fromage blanc, a style of soft and creamy fresh cheese from France. I was unable to find this (in spite of searching the Vermont Creamery website to determine which stores in my area stocked fromage blanc; the search results turned out to be inaccurate). The substitute recommended in the recipe (cottage cheese blitzed until smooth) was untenable as I cannot stand the sight of cottage cheese – the curds completely gross me out. Some googling in the grocery store indicated the quark, which was in stock, made a suitable substitute.
As far as effort goes, this cheesecake couldn’t be easier. The ingredients are combined in a stand mixer until they are smooth and creamy. There is no crust, just creamy filling. The mixture is turned into a buttered springform pan (wrapped on the outside with foil to contain any leaks) and baked, then rested in the oven with the heat turned off. I sampled the batter before it baked, and it had the right flavor profile for a New York cheesecake. The hardest part was waiting for it to cool enough to serve at the optimal temperature.
Once adequately chilled, I cut slices for tasting. Sadly, the texture wasn’t what I’d been anticipating. It wasn’t at all dense. Howard even described the texture as feathery. I’m not sure whether the issue is the recipe or me. Admittedly, I made a half recipe, baking it in a 6-inch pan. I winged it on the cooking time adjustments. For the initial baking step, there weren’t any clues to doneness in the recipe. I reduced the baking time from 70 minutes to 55 minutes. After that, it took an hour-and-a-half for the center to be set but still jiggly. And even though the texture isn’t what I was hoping for, maybe it’s the way the recipe is meant to be. Hard to know.
I want to put in a plug for a new cookbook I discovered while browsing at the bookstore last week. It’s hot off the presses, from someone I’d never heard of. As you probably know, I love figuring out the best way to use as much of an ingredient as possible, saving vegetable scraps and bones for stock, herb stems to infuse vinegar, etc. The Nimble Cook by Ronna Welsh has so many new ideas to aid my quest! I’m so excited for spring vegetables to start a season of trying out some of her suggestions.