Thursday, December 29, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I made this delicious cheesecake for my nephew's 15th birthday.  He loves fruit and cheesecake, so I thought this would be perfect for him.  Everyone loved it.  I actually think it is now my very favorite cheesecake ever!

The recipe that I used called for chocolate wafer cookies for the crust.  I don't particularly like chocolate and raspberry together, so I used an organic vanilla wafer cookie.  I made a pretty basic raspberry sauce on the stove, strained out all the seeds and let it cool while I made my cheesecake base.  I used very little sugar in this cake and mostly sweetened it with the melted white chocolate.  I swirled in the raspberry sauce in two different layers.  There was a lot of raspberry sauce left that I intended to serve with the cheesecake, but I forgot it the night of his birthday.  Raspberry sauce is so versatile, though, that it will never go to waste :)  I always bake my cheesecakes in a water bath, and of course this was no exception.  The cheesecake was beautiful, creamy and super delicious.  In fact, after writing this, I am thinking about making another one very soon!

A lot of people complain that when they make cheesecakes, the top cracks.  One reason that the top cracks in some cases is due to over-mixing which causes too much air to be inside the batter which results in cracks  on the surface.  So, aside from being sure to not over-mix your batter, the best way to avoid this is by using a water bath.  Be sure to wrap the bottom of your springform pan in a few layers of foil.  Place your cheesecake wrapped in foil inside a larger pan and fill it with water about halfway up the side of the springform.  Never bake your cheesecake at a temperature higher than 325°.  To get the best results,  let your cheesecake bake gently in a water bath at a lower temperature.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Raspberry Lemon Tart

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I decided to try some different recipes for my Thanksgiving desserts this year.  Lemon tart was on the list, but it didn't quite work out as I had planned, so a raspberry sauce was added.  I came up with an easy, delicious solution to my lemon tart problems.

I started with a basic short dough.  Of course I rolled it out and chilled it for several hours before baking.  I wanted to brown the crust before adding and baking the lemon filling.  When I pulled my crust out of the oven, it was cracked.  I thought I would proceed as I normally would because when this happens with my chocolate tart, the chocolate is thick enough to not leak through.  Well, that was not the case for the lemon.  It leaked all out of the shell and all over the sheet pan I had put underneath it.  I ended up with a very thin layer of a very tart lemon filling in the shell.  I quickly decided to just make a simple raspberry sauce.  I threw some frozen raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, and water in a pot.  I let this cook and thicken then strained it to eliminate seeds.  I poured this on top of the lemon filling.  It set up somewhat in the refrigerator and was a deliciously sweet counterpart to the super tart lemon layer.  It ended up being a hit!

Keeping lots of different kinds of fruits in your freezer is a great way to be able to make all kinds of different desserts and sauces when needed.  You can throw any kind of frozen fruit into a basic muffin batter.  You could make a sauce or a syrup out of lots of different kinds of frozen fruits by just adding some sugar, cornstarch and water.  You could make a fruit pie or turnovers.  So, if you keep a freezer well stocked with frozen fruits, the possibilities are endless!