13 Feb
2013
Posted in: food
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Will You Be My Valentine?

Ahhh Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (tomorrow!) and whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with your special sweetheart or having a “Galentine’s Day” with your BFFs, ladies and gentlemen, I have the only recipe you need:

MY AWESOME CHEESECAKE

Yes, people, I love you. I love you so much, you’re getting *THE* cheesecake recipe of the century.

I love you.
I love you.
I love you.
I love your smile.
I love your laughter.
Most of all, I love to see your eyes roll back in your head when you try my yummy desserts.

I have a very special friend whose birthday is today.  She moved away from Buenos Aires and that makes me miss her a ton since I saw her only once this entire year. But this holiday reminds me of her. It’s a celebration of love and joy and happiness and for our group of friends, it was always a time to get together as a group and drink champagne and eat cupcakes with little hearts on them. So this recipe is also dedicated to my friend and my little cousin who will be celebrating her birthday tomorrow. They’re both super chicas who are beautiful and amazing, creative souls!

This recipe is based on Dorie Greenspan’s cheesecake. I modified this particular cake a little by adding a raspberry and fig coulis to the cake itself and for topping.  It comes out flawless every time.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cheesecake
Crust:
1 3/4 cups (175 g) graham cracker crumbs (in Argentina, I use Lincoln Logs – vanilla flavored)
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 stick (113 g) butter, melted
pinch of salt

Filling:
4 – 8 oz boxes of Philadelphia cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 1/3 cups (300 g) sugar (regular, granulated sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract4 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) heavy cream

For the Coulis
1 cup (@120 grams) frozen or fresh raspberries
1 cup (@120 grams) fig marmelade
1 cup (220 g) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) water

You may notice that although some of the measurements say “1 cup”, the gram measurements differ depending on the ingredient. That’s because different ingredients have different weights – and actually, it’s more accurate to measure everything with grams and mL instead of cups. But if you don’t have a balance to weigh your ingredients in grams, use the cup measurements and consider investing in a scale for your kitchen.

Make the crust: Butter a 9″ springform pan and wrap the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.  I actually find that I like to make a larger cheesecake and I usually have enough left over to make a small cheesecake – so I butter a 4.5″ pan as well and double wrap that in layers of aluminum foil. pans-in-foil
Stir the crumbs, sugar, salt together and add the melted butter. Mix until everything looks kind of moist. crumbs

Turn your ingredients into your pan(s) and using the back of a spoon, try to smooth over the crumbs to create an even layer on the bottom of the cake.  It’s a matter of taste, but I like to push the crumbs slightly up the sides. I like that.
crust

Pat away!

Once you’ve got your crust just how you like it, put your pans in the freezer. Use this time to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).  While it’s preheating, let’s make the coulis.

Basically a coulis is a mix of fruit. You don’t need to make a simple syrup for a coulis, but I like this way.

I put the water and sugar into a saucepan and stirred it around a little until the sugar was dissolved and the liquid was bubbling. Once it comes to this point:
simple-syrupturn off the heat and let it sit.

Then I took the raspberries and figs and added them to my food processor.

rasp-an-figs

I processed them until they were a lovely little mix.

puree

Then I slowly added the syrup mix while processing and let it mix for about 20 seconds.

I then STRAINED my berry-fig mix through a very fine strainer.  It looked so smooth and silky.. (That’s the extra mile). It will look something like this:

coulis

Once you’re done with the coulis, you should have a pre-heated oven. You can now put your pans with the crust in the center rack of your oven on a baking sheet for 10 minutes.  It gives your crust a lovely crunch. Meanwhile, start making the cheesecake filling.

Boil a kettle of water.

One important thing in Argentina is that regular cream cheeses are not really right for making cheesecake. I recommend only using Philadelphia Cream Cheese for this. It just comes out right.

So get your Philly Cheese.

only-use-philly

And put it into your mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. And beat that cream cheese for at least FOUR whole minutes. Slowly (like rain) add your sugar and salt. Let your baby keep mixing.

mixing

Let it beat for another four-ish minutes. Beat in the vanilla.  Add the eggs one by one – letting that batter beat for a full minute after each addition. Now you can slow down the mixer a little and add your cream. Mix about 30 seconds more and stop the machine. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, just to make sure that nothing is stuck to the bottom. Look at how silky that is!

silky-batter

Make sure you took your crusts out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (162 degrees C).  Pour your batter into the pans and remember, cheesecake rises, so don’t fill it up to the top.  Now, you can leave that as is and put it in the oven – or you can add your coulis in a few different ways:

I dropped spoonfulls of the coulis in the batter and the gently – ever so gently swirled it around on the batter..

Step one:

dots

Step Two:

sopretty

Okay, now this goes into the oven in a roasting pan with just enough of that boiling water (remember you put a kettle on to boil?) to come up about halfway up the sides of the springform dish – for an hour and a half (until the cheesecake has started to get a little browned on the top – see photo below).

finishedSee? Not too browned. Barely, in fact. But it’s solid. After the hour and a half in the oven, I turned off the heat and opened the door just a bit to start cooling the oven off. I left the cake in there for another hour and a half.

When you take this out of the oven, be very careful in case there’s water still left in the pan. Take the springform pan out of the roasting dish and leave it to cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Then carefully remove the tin foil. There could be some hot water stuck in there, so be extra careful. I learned that lesson the hard way. Once the cheesecake has cooled down to room temperature, put it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

This cake that I made for this post was actually made for my mother in law’s birthday. I must say, right before the birthday cakes came out, Bruno hit his head on a table and I was busy putting ice on his head in the kitchen. I quickly ran a knife around the cheesecake before removing the sides – and that was it! I saved some of the coulis to drizzle on top of the cheesecake. You could easily just pour the whole coulis over the entire cake once it’s cooled – that would also be lovely.

Anyway, I really wanted to take a picture of the finished cake – with a slice of cake on a plate with some of the coulis on the side – but I got a miserly sliver of the cake while I was taking care of Bruno and in 15 minutes flat, the cake was gone. No more.  But you can make this yourself now.

And it’ll be fabulous. Happy Valentine’s Day.

So, what do you think?