Monday, April 27, 2009
Daring Bakers: April
I had mixed feelings about the April challenge from the start. While I loved the absolute freedom and opportunity to be creative with this recipe, I was a little uninspired by the choice of cheesecake. Add in a hectic month at work, the Easter long weekend, a little trip up the coast and a bout of the flu on the last weekend of the month, and I’d say it’s a near miracle that I got the challenge done at all! But I’m glad that I made it, because even though I was a little delirious on account of the flu medication and running a fever at the time of making the cheesecake, it was an easy (and very forgiving) recipe that still turned out beautifully.
The April Challenge consisted of:
• Abbey’s infamous baked cheesecake recipe, adapted in any way we want, with any flavour modification and presentation we could dream up.
I decided to make little maple and cinnamon cheesecakes with a hint of cinnamon and ginger in the crust, served individually in ramekins with a crackly burnt sugar top. I only made one third of the original recipe, which was just enough for the four of us. I thought that the flavours were perfect for the cooler autumn weather we’ve been having, a nice balance of sweetness and spice. The toffee top gave it a wonderful crunch that I loved and made this challenge extra daring!
I will say though, that it was intensely rich, I think it was far too rich for my taste. I could barely eat two spoonfuls before I’d had enough, but then I feel that way about most cheesecakes. I would quite probably serve it in smaller portions again if I were to make it in the future. My favourite part about this challenge was to see the amazingly diverse and original flavour combinations that other Daring Bakers came up with for their own cheesecakes. I have written the recipe below with the modifications as I made it.
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Maple and Cinnamon Baked Cheesecake
Makes 4 servings
• 60g cookie crumbs (I used Marie biscuits)
• 40g butter, melted
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
• 250g cream cheese, room temperature
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/3 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 4 teaspoons brown sugar (for brûléeing the top, optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Begin to boil a pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the ingredients for the crust in a small bowl and press evenly into four small ramekins. Set aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream together until smooth. Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl. Add cream, lemon juice, vanilla, maple syrup and cinnamon and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Divide mixture between ramekins and tap on the counter to expel all air bubbles. Place in a larger square or rectangular pan and pour in the boiling water until it reaches halfway up each ramekin.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until they are almost done. They should jiggle a little in the center but not be fully cooked yet. Close the oven door, turn the heat off and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This allows the cake to finish cooking and cool down gently so that it won’t crack on top.
6. After one hour, move the cheesecake from the oven and lift carefully out of the water bath. Let it cool to room temperature and then cover and place in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
7. To brulee the top, spread about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar over the top of each cheesecake. With a small blowtorch, caramelise the sugar evenly.