Wednesday, October 31, 2007

One cake with no flour... is a cheesecake!

What did we do this week?

It's been a wild wacky end of October. So much so that it's now November.

I spent the last two weekends in Boston teaching a class for a chain of salons. It was all good, but boy is that a long ride from Peekskill to Boston (3 hours). Ok. It's not that long of a ride, but it does take its toll on you when you do it alone.

Guess I'm in trouble since M and I are going to Indiana for Thanksgiving. Well, that's not a big deal. The big deal is that we've decided to drive. That is a 12 hour drive. I'm happy to have some one to share it with. Here's a picture of my home state:

Again with the diversions. What did we do this week? Oh, yeah, the cheesecake. (Glad J wrote the title or I'd have forgotten.)

The Cordon Rose Cream Cheesecake (pg 81) is treated more like a custard by RLB in that she has you do a water bath (a bain marie in French cooking terms). Bain Marie is really a double boiler. I never thought of a cake/custard in a pan half full of water as a double boiler. To me, that is a pot inside a pot. But I guess extrapolated, a pan in a pan is very similar to a cake pan in a roasting pan.

Ok, this'll teach me to search something on Wikipedia:
The term bain-marie originates from alchemy, where some practitioners needed to give their materials prolonged periods of gentle heating, in an attempt to mimic the supposed natural processes whereby precious metals germinated in the earth. It was said to be an invention of Mary the Jewess, an ancient alchemist traditionally supposed to have been Miriam, a sister of Moses. The name comes from this tradition: balneum Mariae in medieval Latin, from which the French bain de Marie is derived, although, in the French wikipedia the coinage of the term is attributed to the medieval German philosopher, theologian, and chemist/alchemist Saint Albert the Great (1193-1280).

Probably more information than any of us need on that subject.

One of the things that J and I noticed was that the recipe had a tremendous amount of lemon juice (3 tablespoons). It was definitely tangy, what with the lemon juice and the 3 cups!!! of sour cream to only 1 lb. of cream cheese.

She suggests adding a tablespoon of cornstarch to help it thicken and not leach water after unmolding. Interestingly enough, we used the cornstarch and it did seep a bit- a lot really.

You do get to incorporate one egg at a time much like when we added flour in the butter cakes. Speaking of butter cakes, this cake also contained no butter. Wow, that has to be a first..... well, except for the vegetable cakes that used oil.

This cake came together with out any fuss or fight. It poured into the prepared springform pan just like we thought it should. It was a bit tangy as mentioned before. We had that wonderful Raspberry Puree (pg 337) from a previous cake in the freezer, and added a lovely swirl of it to the cheesecake. We put it into the bain marie (see long dissertation on that above). Set it in the oven and waited.

While we waited, we discussed our plans for a birthday cake for a young friend of ours (she'll be 3) whose mom asked us to bake a cake for her. Her only requirements are that it be pink and princess-y. I know, hard to imagine a child who likes pink AND princesses. But Lila does.

So excited were we by the discussion of the birthday cake, we didn't notice that the oven was still on and we cooked to the cheesecake for an extra 18 minutes. We then let it cool and refrigerated it overnight as the recipe stated.

I stopped by the next day after tricker or treaters (or in the case of J & K's house, right in the middle of the steady stream) for the taste test.

This wasn't our favorite. It was too tangy, lacked a certain creamy/cakiness, and really seemed off. Now, it could be the overcooking of it. But, since the instruction was to turn the oven off and let the cake sit for an hour immediately after baking, the extra bit of time should not have been a large factor given our complaints. And in fact, one would expect that extra time would create a firmer, perhaps more cake-like consistency. Instead it was a too-fluffy, too-tangy, too- wet, absolutely not New York style cheesecake. That's fine, not every cheesecake has to be NY style, but RLB took pains to describe it as such. This is one instance where not making every variation listed is a very good thing indeed. We would not have been happy with 4 or 5 times as much cheesecake. This one didn't even get distributed, that's how little we thought of it. Currently it sits in the freezer. Who knows maybe we'll need it as an ingredient later on- raspberry cheesecake ice cream?? Cheesecake ice cream doesn't sound any better today than it did when it first came out 20+ years ago.

Personally I like creamy desserts: cheesecake, flan, tiramisu, creme brulee (not as much as one of my coworkers who sometimes sneaks downstairs to have one as a late night snack -- I won't say who, but she knows who she is), but I couldn't get it to like this one. Even with the best Raspberry Puree in the world.

Here is a picture.....

I hope you are enjoying the first bits of real autumn (or is it fall?) at least here in the North East.

Bake Through,



B-java Coffee, Tea, and Art said...

You had better stop in and see me!
5510 Lafayette Rd take the Lafayette Rd exit off of I-65 go north to Eagle Creek Plaza. I will be here from 7AM to 5PM the day after Thanksgiving and from 7 to 5 on that Saturday! (that is the shop, not my house)

Julius said...

I was wondering when you guys would post again. =)

Maybe you can salvage the cheesecake as a sort of cheesecake filling for a buttercake?

Deborah said...

I like just about every kind of dessert, but I especially love cheesecake!!

bala murugan said...

How absolutely heavenly!! I am still so impressed by your amazing energy level - baking cakes and raising a beautiful baby all at once! You're incredible!

Bain Maries