Monday, April 27, 2009

Simple and Delicious

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. Yes, I too wondered what dreadful crime or happenstance this cheesecake was responsible for that it should be considered infamous...poisoning, obesity, hyperlipidemia, gluttony on a mass scale? But before letting my mind wander too far afield, I nipped that mental storyline in the bud and just assumed that Jenny might have meant famous rather than adding the sinister in- prefix to the recipe's title.

As it turns out, it's just a good thing that Jenny and Abbey's recipe was not felonious, because this cake became one of the desserts at a co-worker's baby shower. I didn't attend, just the cake did. I didn't even bake it with the intention of donating it to the shower; I actually had forgotten the event was scheduled for lunch that day. Conception/Shower/Cake...it was all so serendipitous. (Please note, I'm trying to squelch the unfounded cynicism that I have regarding baby showers...hey, I gladly donated a cake.) The lemon mirror on the cake was a lovely shiny yellow, which apparently is one of the approved colors for baby shower things. If I had known that it would be a baby cake before I left the house that morning, I really would have decorated it with delicate, beautiful little baby things...see, my cold cold heart just melted a bit.

Baby showers, bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties...I'm sorry, I don't know what it is, maybe I'm just too darned egocentric to buy into these events, maybe it's the lame "oppressed by a straight world" thing, maybe it's a foreign tradition for which I haven't any cultural schema, but they just don't work for me. Yes, yes, yes, I know, it's not about me -- I should appreciate the joy that the guests of honor are experiencing. And I do. I genuinely love that young couples have babies and get to experience the nervous thrill of decorating a nursery. Really, I get that. I've done that. And I fully understand the thrill that goes along with getting dressed up in a gown/costume/drag and throwing a big party. I really know that feeling. And, yes, a celebration of two people in love is very sweet and touching. See...please take note that I did not include weddings on the list of personally questionable celebrations...Nik might have, but I didn't.

Ok, blog as cathartic device, followed by sincere commitment to change...I hereby promise to attend AND ENJOY the next happy-couple-based event to which I am invited. And believe me, this is not an empty promise...there are two other pregnant woman at work and their showers are imminent. But back to the cheesecake.

Vanilla Sour Cream Cheesecake...on an almond-coconut crust...with a lemon curd topping. I know, long name...with two prepositions. I can explain. It was going to be a Mango Swirl cheesecake, but I hadn't gotten to Food City to the the good/cheap mangoes. So then I though about an Almond Joy/Mounds cheesecake...hence the almond/coconut crust. But I didn't have any dark chocolate like I thought I had. What I did have were lemons...

Joconde
Almond Meal.........................2 1/2 oz
Coconut..............................2 oz (dessicated preferably, but I used sweetened and it was fine)
Cake Flour...........................1 oz
Whole Eggs..........................4 3/4 oz
Egg Whites...........................3 1/4 oz
Sugar..................................2 tsp
Butter, melted.......................1 1/4 oz
1. Pulse almond meal and coconut in processor until fine. Combine with flour.
2. Whisk whole eggs until combined.
3. Whip egg whites to foamy, gradually add sugar and whip until stiff (not dry) peaks form.
4. Fold dry mixture into whole eggs.
5. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into mixture to lighten. Fold remaining 2/3 whites into mixture.
6. Spread evenly in parchment-lined 1/2 sheet pan.
7. Bake 7-10 minutes at 400 degrees - do not overbake.
8. Let cool.
9. Cut a circle of cake and a circle of parchment the size of your cake pan.
10. Fit the parchment circle and then the cake into the pan. Brush with simple syrup and set aside.

Cheesecake
Cream Cheese..........................24 oz
Vanilla Bean.............................1
Sugar.....................................1 cup
Sour Cream..............................8 oz
Lemon Juice............................1 Tbl
Vanilla Ex................................1/2 Tbl
1. Rub vanilla seeds into sugar. Pour through a fine sieve before adding to cream cheese.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
3. Add one egg at a time.
4. Add sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract - beat until smooth/combined.
5. Pour into prepared pan.
6. Set cake pan in a larger pan. Fill larger pan with hot water and bake for 1 hour at 350.
7. Turn off oven and let cake sit in oven for additional hour.
8. Remove from water bath, and cool. Chill.

Lemon Curd
Egg Yolks..........................2 fluid oz
Sugar...............................4 1/2 oz
Lemon Juice......................3 fluid oz
Butter..............................2 oz
Salt.................................Pinch
Lemon Zest.......................from one lemon (approx 2 tsp)
1. Heat lemon juice, salt, zest, and approx. half the sugar to nearly boiling.
2. Whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar to ribbon stage.
3. Temper the yolks with a small amount of the hot juice, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk the remainder of the juice into the yolks.
4. Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until thickened. Whisk in the butter.
5. Pour through a fine sieve to remove the zest. Let cool slightly, then pour over the chilled cheesecake. Chill until curd is thoroughly chilled and set.

3 comments:

michelebeth said...

You are too funny! I love the way you write and so enjoy keeping up with you this way....

Kristin said...

I find your writing hilarious and your food photos mouthwatering! So does my mom, but I don't know if she knows how to leave a comment. My hubby is a salty and I am a sweet. :)
Kristin (Terri's daughter)

Jenny Tan said...

Not just "Simple and Delicious", but BEAUTIFUL too! :)