- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 4 cups lightly packed fresh bread crumbs (they must be fresh - not the kind from the can!)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped giardiniera (Italian-style pickled veggies in a jar - find them in the pickle aisle)
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped - optional (I didn't use these, but if you have some in your pantry, try throwing them in)
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (parmesan, romano, or a combination of the two)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 4 red bell peppers (I used 3 peppers, since the peppers I had were COLOSSAL)
- (2) 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes (not drained)
Monday, September 14, 2009
Oddly enough, I'd never made my own cheesecake from scratch. I literally have dozens of cheesecake recipes clipped from various sources and stored in my recipe binder, but for some reason had never made one...until now.
I chose my aunt's birthday as the perfect occasion to test my cheesecake baking skills - risky, I know, especially because cheesecakes are finicky. Not only that, I chose to alter a recipe that I'd never even tried. Ever since I saw a picture of Martha Stewart's gorgeous pink-and-white layered Strawberries-and-Cream Cheesecake, I knew I had to make it. However, in late August, strawberries are out of season, and I wanted to use in-season fruit from our local farmers' market. I used blackberries instead, but blackberries are more tart than strawberries, so I knew I would have to make some adjustments. I also found that some of Martha's proportions were off - so I started changing things and crossed my fingers that the experiment would be successful.
By the end of it, my kitchen looked like the set of CSI Miami (blackberry juice looks rather gruesome), words that should not be published on this blog had escaped my lips several times (why does the bottom of my springform pan go missing every time I need to use it?), and I had a perfect, crack-free, and impressively purple cheesecake. It was delicious.
I will warn you that this recipe is involved and takes quite a bit of time. Also, it will wreck your kitchen. But the results (and oohs and aahs from your guests) are worth it.
Roasted Blackberry Cheesecake
For the crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (you can buy these in a box instead of crushing graham crackers yourself)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 pound blackberries
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1 pound + 13 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- approximately 1/2 pint fresh blackberries
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place blackberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle berries with corn syrup and bake for 45 minutes. Transfer blackberries and juice to a medium bowl and smash berries with a fork. Add 1/4 cup sugar and puree the mixture with an immersion blender. Pour the mixture through a sieve to strain out the seeds. Discard the seeds.
Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the crust and press the mixture into an even layer in the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust 10 minutes, or until the crust is firm to the touch and has just darkened. Let the pan cool completely on a wire rack, then wrap it in two layers of aluminum foil.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Put the cream cheese in a large bowl and use an electric mixer on medium speed to mix until creamy - about 2 minutes. Gradually add 1 cup sugar and the salt. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mascarpone, and mix until very creamy and no lumps remain - about 3 minutes.
Transfer 3 cups of the cream cheese mixture into a bowl with the pureed blackberries, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture on top of the crust in the springform pan and smooth to an even layer. Carefully, spoon dollops of the remaining white cream cheese mixture on top and smooth with an offset spatula.
Set the aluminum-wrapped springform pan in a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with very hot tap water until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. (The water bath will prevent the cheesecake from cracking in the oven - it really does work!)
Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees F for 60-70 minutes or until set. (The center of the cheesecake should still be slightly jiggly when you take it out of the oven - it will continue to cook once out of the oven.) Remove the springform pan from the water bath and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, refrigerate the cheesecake overnight. (Cheesecakes are always best the day after you make them!) Before serving, decorate the top of the cake with a ring of fresh blackberries.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
This chocolate cake was good – actually, the best I can remember eating. I’m seriously not a baker, but it hardly took any more effort to make than if I had used a box (and tasted way better!) I also don’t have much of a sweet tooth (Rachel can attest to my excitement at the Liberty Tavern when I discovered that cheese sometimes appears on dessert menus) but I found myself wanting to dig into this.
The cream cheese frosting went with the cake particularly well. I used my variation on a recipe off the back of the powdered sugar box, but I added extra cream cheese after an initial taste. It was so smooth and light that it made the actual frosting of the cake easy. A buttercream frosting would have been stiffer and hidden the seam between the layers a little better but nobody seemed to mind.
Dark Chocolate Cake
By Marg on recipezaar.com
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 and 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup Dutch process or dark baking cocoa (you can use regular cocoa if you prefer, or half of each kind)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 to 1 cup boiling water (see note below)
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8 inch or 9 inch round baking pans, or one 13x9 inch pan. If you use 8 inch rounds, make sure they are at least 2.5 inches deep or the batter might overflow.
In large mixer bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Stir in boiling water by hand (your batter will be very thin, but not to worry). I used 3/4 cup boiling water because I live in a swamp, but you may want to use a full cup if you’re at a high elevation or have very dry weather.
Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 45 minutes for rectangular pan, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks.
If you plan on making a freestanding cake that you’re not going to serve right out of the pan:
1. Use a pan with a removable bottom or a springform pan.
2. Line the bottom with a cutout of wax paper or parchment paper.
3. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup baking cocoa
- 1 dash salt (to taste)
- 4 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon milk or cream
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, cocoa, salt, milk or cream, and vanilla, and mix well. Spread on top of cake.
If you’re making a layer cake, frost the top of the first layer and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. This will help the frosting set up a little bit before you put the second cake layer on top of it.
This recipe makes more than enough for a two-layer round cake. In addition to a few tweaks, I made one and a half times the original recipe because I hate running out. So if you follow this recipe, you’ll have probably an extra ½ cup of frosting. If you don’t like extra frosting or are making a square cake from the pan (and just frosting the top), this recipe can be cut into 2/3 very easily.