Wow. It has been a while. I have missed my kitchen terribly. I started a new job and have been working very hard. So by the time I get home and get Kathryn fed, bathed, read to and in the bed..... I crash. I think about baking all the time and am constantly on the lookout for new recipes and ideas.
I read Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl in about 2 days and have since fallen deeply in love with her and her writings. I started Comfort me with Apples a few days ago and am almost finished with it. I love the way she incorporates her life story in with the recipes. Her lifestory told with food. All cookbooks should be this way..... I found a recipe in Tender for ArtPark Brownies that called for fine chocolate and I cannot WAIT to make them. Those are on the agenda for tomorrow night.
Last night I made the Chocolate Rum cheesecake that I learned at my cooking class the other week. A good friend of ours is not a huge dessert guy but it was his birthday and I heard he really liked cheesecake and also had a thing for chocolate. I immedately thought of this recipe.
For the crust:
1 pkg Nabisco Famous Wafers, crushed
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
6 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate
1/4 cup rum
1 lb. cream cheese
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
4 extra-large eggs
Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 325 F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and cover the outside with aluminum foil, shiny side out.
In a mixing bowl, combine the chocolate cookies crumbs and granulated sugar and stir to mix. Add the butter and stir until blended. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add the superfine sugar and continue beating until blended. Then beat in the sour cream,vanilla extract and the rum. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer and set it over a pan of simmering water but not touching the water. Warm the mixture, stirring constantly, until completely smooth and very creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the chocolate mixture to the batter and whisk until blended. Set the bowl back over the simmering water and stir until creamy and smooth. Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until the cake is set around the edges and the center is still a little loose, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool to room temperature, remove the rim from the pan and refrigerate overnight. Serves 10 to 12.
Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook by Chuck Williams
This cheesecake was a huge hit. The birthday boy loved it!! I was really shocked that it turned out perfectly. There was not a crack in sight on this pretty baby. Baking in a water bath really does help in the crack department.
The texture was so wonderful. It was so creamy and dense without being heavy. The chocoalte married beautifully with the rum. I really tried to use the finest ingredients I could find. I had been using the Baker's chocolate that is sold at the supermarket until the chef at my class told about all the nasty stuff they put in that chocoalte to make it last on a store shelf. So, I decided to buy the Scharffen Berger chocolate and was enamoured with it as soon as I opened that little blue box. What is it about us food people that we get off on something like a bar of chocoalte?? It was like a little bar of black gold. I loved the heaviness of it and the silky texture. It's taste was rich and complex and lingered in my mouth for quite a while. It really did make the cheesecake. I am sold on the virtues of good chocoalte. I am beginning to learn the absolute importance of good quality ingredients.
While I was in Williams Sonoma lusting over all the kitchen candy, I found a neat little recipe for a Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake. It called for lady fingers (of course) and I have had 4 packages here in my pantry for a few weeks now... just waiting to be used. They met their beautiful fate late last night, as they became soaked in rum and arranged in a springform ready for the coffee ice cream. I had to kinda wing it on the recipe because I didnt want to buy the cookbook so I just tried to remember the vital parts. But come on..... it's an ice cream cake. How hard can it be......
Here is the recipe I used.
4 packages LadyFingers
Rum for soaking
2 pints good quality coffee ice cream
8 ozs Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
Arrange the lady fingers in a 9" springform pan. Brush all fingers with rum...
Allow coffee ice cream to soften and spread into awaiting lady fingers. Cover ice cream with plastic wrap.
Freeze for at least 6 hours.
In mixing bowl of electric mixer whip the mascarpone cheese, vanilla, heavy cream and sugar until fluffy and smooth.
Remove the plastic wrap from the coffee ice cream and spread cheese mixture over the frozen ice cream. Place plastic wrap on cheese layer and freeze for at least 6 hours. Sprinkle with cocoa before serving.
This was DELICIOUS!! So good and it looks adorable. Great for an after dinner summer dessert. I was lucky and ran upon some Starbucks coffee ice cream that had chocolate chunks in it and it was soooooo very good. I had no idea Starbucks made ice cream!! It was like a little slice of frozen frappaccino... mmmmmm.....