I grew up watching The Golden Girls. Every Saturday night, no matter what we were doing, my Mom and I would rush home in time to see what those four crazy girls were up to that week. Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, Sophia – all characters we knew and loved. Of course, our favorite was Sophia, “Picture it… Sicily… 1932….”.
The Golden Girls would sit around the table late at night discussing their problems over a big fat cheesecake and I would sit there soaking it all in at the age of about 9 or 10, all the raunchy jokes completely going over my head. This show is how cheesecake was introduced into my life.
Isn’t it funny what you can vividly remember from your childhood? How you can play things back like a movie that’s just been held on pause waiting for you to push play? I recall this particular memory I’m about to share like it happened yesterday. One Saturday on our way home to catch The Girls, my Mom asked me what I would like for dinner. I answered the usual “Spaghetti” but then added “and for dessert I want cheesecake.” She was like “Cheesecake? You’ve never had it. You won’t like it, it’s for grown ups” I said “Yes, I WILL like it. It will be my favorite thing in the whole world.” She just rolled her eyes but drove to the store and got us a cheesecake for dessert that night anyway.
That was the night my lifelong love of cheesecake began.
I’ve been doing Tyler Florence Fridays for a while now. One of the first recipes I really honed in on was Tyler’s Ultimate Cheesecake. If you’re a baker that loves cheesecake, seeing that title alone will most likely make you investigate. Then when you see the recipe was rated 5 out of 5 stars from about 685 total reviews on the ‘net, you’ll probably start to think you’ve really been missing something.
The graham cracker crust is refrigerated for five minutes rather than blind-baked. Sweet, I get annoyed with blind-baking. I made a full recipe and used the recommended 8 inch springform pan. The crust was easy to smoosh down on the bottom and up the sides. The filling has a 1:1 ratio of cream cheese and sour cream, eggs, moderate sugar, lots of lemon zest, and a hint of vanilla. It’s so easy to put together, even a person who claims to have no skills in the kitchen could get this done. The cheesecake is baked in a water bath at 325 degrees, Tyler says for 45 minutes. I did bake mine a little longer, more like 55-60 minutes after reading some of the reviews on foodnetwork.com. The cheesecake will still be pretty jiggly after it’s time in the oven, that is how it’s supposed to be. Don’t worry, it will firm up. I refrigerated mine overnight.
One word review: phenomenal.
The sour cream wasn’t overwhelming at all. The lemon zest stood out, it gave a nice brightness. The cheesecake was very creamy and made that deflating type of sound when you put your fork through it. Normally, I’m a Plain Jane with cheesecake but I loved the lemon blueberries on this.
I’m feeling a Golden Girls dvd marathon coming on with my Mom, my two sisters and this cheesecake right in the middle of us all. Maybe I’ll remind my Mom of that day all those years ago when she ended up being completely wrong about my 10 year old palate, but I’ll probably just keep that part to myself. I think I’ll thank her instead for driving to the store to pick up a cheesecake so I could try it even though she thought she’d be throwing her hard earned money right down the tubes.
Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Cheesecake
Show: Tyler’s Ultimate Episode: Cheesecake
Click here to see a how-to video
2 cups finely ground graham crackers(about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream (16 oz)
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract
Warm Lemon Blueberry Topping
Warm Lemon Blueberries:
1 pint blueberries
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons sugar
Click here for directions!
Blueberry Crumb Cake was chosen by Sihan of Befuddlement for the week of March 24th, 2009 for Tuesdays with Dorie. Spring is officially here according to the calendar and the weather is finally starting to catch up (flip flops here I come!). So even though fresh blueberries aren’t exactly in season yet, I was excited to make this cake now to remind me of all the good things to come in the next few months.
At my work we kind of use food as a crutch to help keep our spirits up. There’s always a lot of potlucks and snack days scheduled where everyone brings something in to share with the big group. It’s a nice little break from the norm, that’s for sure. While I love the ideas of these types of things, inevitably I always get myself into a mild panic about what I’m going to BRING Ahhhhhh!!!!
Without a doubt, this Blueberry Crumb Cake will be the next thing I bring in. It’s like one huge blueberry muffin with streusel on top which is in the top two of my favorite kind of muffin list (Cranberry Orange is the other one). These reminded me of the mix my Mom used every single weekend when I was growing up (I believe it was Betty Crocker but I don’t know if they make it anymore). It’s moist, crumbly, full of blueberries and the topping just takes it over the edge.
What I did: Since I don’t go crazy over nuts I left them out of the streusel. It didn’t suffer one bit. I cut the recipe in half and baked in a circular glass Pyrex dish (1.65 L) for 40 minutes. Then the boyfriend and I ate the whole thing over two days.
Thanks, Sihan for a wonderful choice. I loved it! Stop by here for the recipe or check out the Blueberry Crumb Cake recipe on pages 192-193 of Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From my home to yours. Next week it’s Coconut Butter Thins as selected by Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. See you next Tuesday!
Breakfast, as we all have heard, is the most important meal of the day. It’s supposed to get us going, help us concentrate, and keeps weight down just to name a few things. I’ll be honest and say that I skip a balanced breakfast pretty often, replacing it with high calorie Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mochas instead. I’m ashamed.
Anyway, I’m still on an Ellie Krieger kick. I’ve become quite fond of her new book The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life. But aside from one meatloaf recipe I can’t seem to tear myself out of the Breakfast chapter. There’s just too much good stuff in there. I decided to do a couple of posts over the next week or so showcasing some of Ellie’s recipes that I’ve tried.
Let’s start with the Blueberry Blast Smoothie.
This has the most minimal of ingredients – “superfood” blueberries, non-fat yogurt, non-fat milk and honey. The recipe is for one serving size and you get a full glass for under 200 calories. It’s not overly sweet which I had to get used to, but it was really good. This smoothie is a great way to start out the day and you only need about two minutes to make it. Anyone of us breakfast skippers can spare two minutes in the morning, I’m sure. My one piece of advice: check your teeth after drinking this! Don’t go around grinning wide until you’ve looked at yourself in the mirror because there might be tiny antioxidant filled blueberry pieces in your teeth. You’ve been warned. It’s a small price to pay for health, ya know? You can view the recipe here and you can even watch a video here if you like visuals (the video cuts off when Ellie takes her first drink… hehehe, wonder why…)
Next up is Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal. Stay tuned!
I have been wanting an ice cream maker for a while. So this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection of Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity was a perfect excuse for me to get one. I picked up an electric ice cream maker at Target for $30. It wasn’t quite the one I’ve had my eye on but hopefully it will last a while.
I cut the recipe into thirds and used frozen blueberries. Before it was frozen, the mixture tasted very heavy on the sour cream to me. I tried adding a little bit more sugar to balance it out. After it was frozen though, the sour cream flavor was more mellow which was a very good thing. If it hadn’t been, this would’ve been the first Dorie recipe I wasn’t crazy about. But in the end, it tasted very good and my new ice cream maker worked great.
Short post this week… Make sure you stop by Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity to check out the recipe and see Dolores’s Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream. Then go on over to Tuesdays with Dorie to see over 200 others.
Another picture… this time the ice cream is more melty.
Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream (page 434 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours).
I love blueberries. I love everything about them. They’re good for you, they taste good, they’re blue. What’s not to like? So I was happy about this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection Double Crusted Blueberry Pie chosen by Amy of South in Your Mouth. Well, in all honesty, I did have one little fear about it. Pie Crust.
But I got over that fear pretty fast. Dorie’s pie crust recipe is nice because you make it in a food processor. All of my cold ingredients were frozen before I started. I had some problems working with the dough though, it wanted to stick to everything. I may have added too much water but I did add less than the recipe called for. I started out rolling the crust on the counter top but quickly switched to rolling it out in waxed paper. Doing that took care of all my issues and from there I was good to go.
The blueberries came from our local Dutch Market as well as the bread crumbs. I thought the bread crumbs were an interesting addition to the pie and they seemed to worked out great. I made enough dough for a single crust and used a small tart pan to make one mini blueberry pie. It only needed about 40 minutes in the oven.
Saturday, I picked up some blueberry soft serve ice cream to go on top. There is a small ice cream stand on the side of the road near where I live that has every kind of soft serve flavor you could think of. It is always extremely busy and the line is just usually ridiculous. But since it was POURING down raining Saturday… guess what? No line! Next on my list of kitchen gadgets to buy is an ice cream maker, I really would have liked to have tried the Blueberry Sour Cream ice cream recipe in the book.
So, what did I think about the taste of the pie? It was excellent. The crust tasted good and the blueberry filling was really nice. The blueberry ice cream also really added something to the overall flavor. I would make this one again for sure and wouldn’t change a thing.
This Double Crusted Blueberry Pie recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours. Click here to see the recipe and to check out Amy’s Double Crusted Blueberry Pie. Then head on over to the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see everyone else’s. See you next Tuesday!
Here we have my second Daring Bakers challenge. The first one, Opéra Cake, certainly posed various challenges for me. So I was curious to see how I would fare on the June 2008 selection, which turned out to be a Danish Braid chosen by Kelly of Sass and Veracity and Ben of What’s Cooking?.
Danish Pastry is a “laminated” dough, which means that it’s made up of dough and butter layers. There are two components – Detrempe: ball of dough and Beurrage: a butter block. The dough is rolled out in to a rectangle and folded up into thirds like a business letter. This “turn” of the dough is performed four times with 30 minutes of chilling time in between each turn and a final chill time of at least five hours before filling and braiding the dough.
I had no problems making the dough or shaping the braid. I decided to use a filling of Orange Cream Cheese Filling and an Orange Blueberry Sauce. This happened by accident because I thought I was using Vanilla Extract for the cream cheese filling but after I poured it in, realized I had used Orange instead. No worries though.
Update: I did make another mistake that I realized late last night. I never adjusted the oven temp down to 350 after the 10 minute mark….
The filling leaked out a lot but I thought presentation wise it was beautiful. And it tasted as good as it looked to me. It was a long road to get it finished in terms of all the waiting in between each step, but this was a really fun challenge. This is not something I ever would have attempted on my own and as I was finished and enjoying a piece of the final product, I was proud of myself for being able to pull it off. Stop by the Daring Bakers blogroll to see all of the different Danish Braid creations by other members. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for July!
From Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking
Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough
For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Combine yeast and milk in a bowl and mix on low speed. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
1. Combine butter and flour in a bowl and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Makes enough for 2 large braids
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups filling, jam, or preserves
For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.
Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.