Variations on a Cheesecake Theme




After work last Friday I spent a few salubrious hours producing two cheesecakes, one as a gift for a good friend and the other for a family gathering. Here’s the recipe:

I start with 8-10 butter cookies, use a food processor to grind them into a powder, then add a couple of spoons of melted butter to create the base of the cake. Next I put 4 packages of cream cheese in a blender (I refuse to use non-fat cream cheese!) plus one cup of sugar. You can use white or brown sugar; the brown sugar makes the cake darker. Then add 4 eggs, one at a time. You want this to blend really well, at least 2 minutes.

Press the base into a cheesecake dish, then pour the cream cheese mixture on top. I melt 60% dark chocolate to create the swirl pattern on top with a knife. Bake in a 350-degree oven for one hour. Turn off the oven and leave it for another hour, to prevent cracking. Remove and refrigerate for at least a few hours. Serve chilled, for taste and consistency.

It’s too boring to make two cakes exactly the same, so for the second I melted 5 ounces of apricot jam in the microwave, then added 1.5-2 cups of blueberries to the jam, tossing delicately and spreading on the top and sides of the cake.

I dropped off the first cake at 9am to my friends in South Orange. They are Michelin star quality hosts, so the addition of another dessert on their menu did not go amiss. A few hours later we drove up to Putnam County to put the other cake on a dessert table at the family BBQ.

My husband cannot understand how I could possibly come home after a dinner out on Friday night and spent a few hours baking. For me, it was far more relaxing than a couple of hours staring at the tube. Probably better for me, too, so long as I don’t consume the product.

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