May 27 2016

Everyone loves Cheesecake! It is one of the best desserts to prepare, to impress your friends at a Sayulita dinner party, and to devour! I have been making cheesecakes for 100 years. Well, not really that long. Ha! Plain cheesecake with fruit, with nuts, decadent triple chocolate, and even savory. I have made them all. As a matter of fact, I had 4 girls in 5 years (my oldest is 45 now) and I had a constant craving for red cherry topped cheesecake, and loved every bite! So, let's get started. 


photo of cheesecakeINGREDIENTS:

For the Crust:

*1 & 1/4 cups finely crushed graham wafers or vanilla wafers. In the carniceria in front of Tacos Ivan, I was surprised but delighted to find a box of original graham wafers. All tiendas in Sayulita sell vanilla wafers in tube shaped packaging. 
-if you are making a savoury cheesecake, crush corn tortilla chips to equal 1 & 1/4 cups 
* 1/4 cup melted butter 
-Combine the 2 together and press into the bottom of a well buttered springform pan* 
-Bake cust at 350 for 10 minutes or until golden 
-Remove from oven and let cool 

* for anyone who is not a baker, a springform is a pan with a removeable bottom that latches solidly in place and "springs" out when latch is released

For the Filling:

* 4 - 250 grm. pkgs. Philadelphia cream cheese (room temperature) 
-In Mexico, you will need:
* 5 -190-220 grm. pkgs. They vary in size, depending on where you buy it. 
*5 whole eggs (room temperature) 
* 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
* 1-3 tsp. pure vanilla extract to taste.Vanilla beans are grown in Mexico and make a very delicious pure vanilla, and can be bought at many tiendas in Sayulita.


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees *
-With an electric mixer or food processor, beat cream cheese until it is nice and fluffy. 
- Slowly add in sugar, pausing to scrape down bowl a couple of times 
- Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to incorporate each before the next goes in 
- Add vanilla at end, beating just until incorporated
- Grease inside walls of springform with melted butter and then pour in filling 
*place 2 small oven proof bowls on rack below your springform pan. This adds moisture to the oven and helps the filling not crack when baked, and also the moisture gives a creamier texture to the baked filling 
-Bake 45 minutes until center just jiggles a small amount 
-Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on a cooling rack
Then very carefully and slowly, run a fine knife along the inside edge of the pan, as the cake sets up the sides can then pull away from the pan easily, therefore helping the top from cracking 
-Let cake sit on the baking rack until totally cool
-Cover with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic wrap sits directly on the top of the cooled cake, smoothing it as you place it so that there is no air between the cake and the plastic
-refrigerate overnight or if you have a freezer, wrap well with heavy duty aluminum foil. Just remember to defrost in fridge still with plastic on top or at room temperature without wrappings

*If I am wanting individual slices frozen, I slice the cake into serving portions and then very carefully place a prepared piece of cut wax paper or parchment paper between each slice so that they will not stick together when you only want to remove 1 or 2 slices at a time. I keep the cake in a round with slices touching each other, but still separeated by the paper. 

photo of jalapeno savory cheesecake*FOR A FRUITY CAKE:

Toss fresh or frozen berries in a bit of flour and fold into batter before pouring into the pan of your traditional vanilla cheesecake. Blueberries are my favorite fruit to fold in. I like to serve a cooked shiny blueberry topping with each slice.

-Cook up a cup or more of fresh or frozen blueberries with 1/4 cup of water. Add sugar to taste then 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. This gives it the perfect sweet, yet tangy flavor. At this point I like to mash about 1/2 of the berries with a fork or a potato masher. This breaks up the berries and makes a much more flavourful sauce. Then stir together 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 1 Tbsp. cold water. This is called a slurry. While berries are still cooking, slowly stir in the cornstarch, cook for 3-4 minutes until sauce is bubbly. At the end I like to fold in a few fresh or frozen whole berries so that they burst with flavor in your mouth!


-Add a can of chopped chilies to prepared batter
-Add a jalapeno, which are plentiful and fresh in Sayulita. If you like a lot of heat, keep membrane and seeds. If you prefer less hot, remove seeds and membrane before chopping 
-Also add 1 cup of plain yogurt. Yogurt can be tricky to buy. Likely if it says Natural, it has sugar in it. It needs to say Sin Azucar, without sugar. 
-Bake as above  


Next week look for one of my favorite appetizer recipes!