Food For Thought

(Dec. 28, 2018) Whether it is by chance or by choice, we have become a society where convenience and mass production has become the “norm.”

Modernization can be a good thing, but at the same time we need to preserve our culture and continue the tradition of our forefathers.

It is a pity that homemade desserts are being passed up for boxed mixes. The holidays are about extravagance and prepackaged goodies do not meet the criteria.

If your sweet tooth happens to be craving a decadent dessert and do not want to settle for anything less, consider trying your luck at a luscious cheesecake.

There is no need for intimidation; a few tips will bring out your best. An understanding of science also helps add to your success. With that thought in mind, let us delve into the specifics for a mouthwatering cheesecake.

Room temperature cream cheese is a must; it blends better with the other ingredients. If the cream cheese is too cold, the consistency will be lumpy and so will your finished cake.

If you are pushed for time, all is not lost. Remove the foil wrapping from the blocks of cheese and place them in a microwavable-safe bowl and heat just until they get soft.

Sometimes the smallest details can make the biggest difference; add a touch of cornstarch or flour to your recipe. This simple step causes the starch to interact with the egg proteins and prevents them from over-coagulating.

In other words, your cheesecake will have a creamier texture and will be less likely to crack.

There is no getting around it; a springform pan is well worth the money. The removable sides make the task of removing the cheesecake from the pan to the serving plate a breeze.

Mixing the cheesecake batter is a delicate balance of mixing and timing. You have to mix the cream cheese enough to avoid lumps, but do not overmix because the batter will absorb too much air.

The end result – your cheesecake will rise too rapidly which causes it to collapse and increase the chances for cracks.

Cooking a cheesecake in a water bath is imperative for a successful dish. A water bath is the technique of putting your cake pan in a container of water while baking. The water helps the heat disperse evenly, which again helps avoid cracks.

Lastly, it is important to allow the cheesecake to cool gradually. After the cheesecake has finished cooking, turn off the stove and keep the oven door closed for a period of time. Resist the temptation to open the door and peak at your finished dessert.

The first of the year is here and eggnog cheesecake is a festive way to use leftover “spirits.” The following recipe is delicious and straight forward. The whipped topping is optional.

Enjoy and have a Happy New Year!

Eggnog Cheesecake

Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

½ cup salted butter, melted

3 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, allspice, and cloves

aluminum foil

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.

2. Combine the dry crust ingredients in a small bowl. Then, add the melted butter and mix thoroughly. Press the mixture evenly in the bottom of the springform pan. Using the back of a spoon, press the edges down so the crust is perfectly smooth.

3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.

4. Cover the outside of the pan with aluminum foil so water from the water bath cannot get in. Set prepared pan aside.

Filling

24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup eggnog

¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, allspice, and cloves

4 large eggs, room temperature

5. Reduce heat to 300 degrees.

6. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar and flour on low speed until well combined. Using the low speed helps keep less air from getting into batter. Scrape down the sides to ensure even distribution of ingredients.

7. Add the eggnog, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves and continue to mix on low speed.

8. Add the eggs one at a time, and scrape the sides of the bowl after each egg.

9. Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and spread evenly.

10. Place the pan inside a larger sheet pan. Fill the sheet pan with enough warm,water to go halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

11. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

12. Turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 30 minutes.

13. Crack the door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 30 minutes.

14. Remove cheesecake from the oven and remove the old foil. Wrap the entire cheesecake in new foil and refrigerate overnight.

Whipped Topping

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

ground nutmeg as a garnish

15. Place a medium bowl and whisk in the freezer for 20 minutes.

16. In the chilled bowl, whip cream until soft peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat; otherwise, the cream will become lumpy and butter-like.

17. Pipe whipped cream onto the cheesecake and top with a sprinkling of nutmeg.

Secret Ingredient – New Beginnings. “The beginning is always today.”

– Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.