Archive for the ‘cheesecake’ Category

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

June 9, 2015

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Okay, so I should have posted this before Shavuos, but I just didn’t get to it. Bookmark this for next Shavuoth: super creamy cheesecake topped with soft caramel sauce and shards of milk chocolate. Kind of like a rolo crossed with cheesecake.

The basis for this was my Turtle Cheesecake, which is the same, but also has chopped pecans mixed into the caramel sauce and has a chocolate glaze instead of chopped chocolate. The chopped chocolate is easier to prepare than the chocolate glaze and is much, much easier to cut through when serving the cheesecake. I explain how to make home-made caramel sauce, but you could just buy caramel sauce or dulce de leche for the topping.

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Cookbook Review: Dairy Made Easy & “180 Cal (or Less!) Cheesecake” Ramekins

May 26, 2014

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Disclosure: Artscroll provided me with a copy of this book to review. Opinions are my own.

Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek have released another book in their “made easy” series in time for Shavuoth. Like the earlier books in this series, Dairy Made Easy is a slim book, very attractively designed. The target audience for this book seems to be cooks who already have plenty of comprehensive, basic cookbooks and are looking to freshen up their dairy menus with recipes that are creative but not too much of a patchke.

The recipes in Dairy Made Easy are clearly explained and reasonably do-able for most cooks.  While most of them look fairly easy to make, not all of them are dead simple. Recipes that sound delicious but a little involved: Arancini (deep-fried cheese-stuffed rice balls), chocolate croissants, and cheese buns/babka.

This being a dairy cookbook, the recipes feature lots of butter, cream and cheese. Most don’t have over-the-top amounts, but some do. The Three Cheese Quiche has a pint of sour cream and almost two sticks of butter in the crust and over 2 1/2 lbs. of cheese in the filling. The Cajun Creamy Pasta, the Penne a la Vodka, the Pesto Cream Sauce and the Alfredo sauce all use about a pint of heavy cream.

The authors do include a “Make it Light” page that lists the lighter recipes in the book and provides tips for lightening up some of the richer recipes. A sidebar explains how to use Greek yogurt as a substitute for higher fat ingredients like cream cheese or sour cream. (Throughout the book, the authors suggest using a particular brand of Greek yogurt and another brand of hard cheese.) There is also a “Make it Pareve” page.

Another thing to bear in mind: the book emphasizes pasta and bread, not whole grains and legumes. The main dishes in this book are primarily divided between the chapters “Pizza,” “Pasta,” and “Soups, Salads & Sandwiches.”  There are ten pasta dishes, five pizza/calzone recipes and four sandwich recipes. Besides these bread or pasta main dishes, there is one fish recipe, one quiche recipe and one frittata recipe.

All that being said, the bottom line with any cookbook is whether or not the recipes are appealing and actually work. On this count, the authors definitely deliver. I have liked everything that I have made from this book and there are a number of other recipes I want to try. Here is what I have already made from this book:

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Cinnamon Challah Croutons with Berries and Cream (Decontructed Blintzes)

May 20, 2013

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Apparently, dessert croutons are a thing, lately. There are places that sell toasted cubes of cake to eat as snacks or use in desserts or salads. The LA Times recently published a recipe by Nancy Silverton which featured bread croutons as a garnish for a rich chocolate dessert (Bittersweet Chocolate Tartufo with Olive Oil Gelato and Olive Oil Fried Croutons). And there are recipes featuring fruit, ice cream or some other creamy mixture, and sweet croutons (see here and here).

Anyway, I was thinking about a recipe from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great American Desserts called Top Secret Topping. It is nothing more than plain or lightly sweetened cottage cheese, which is somehow transformed by being pureed in the food processor into a luscious creamy smooth topping for fresh fruit. Maida said she swooned when she first tried it over strawberries, and her friends couldn’t guess what it was (yogurt? sour cream? creme fraiche? cream?) (here is her original description, reprinted in Maida’s Heatter’s Pies and Tarts).

She says you can use 1% or 2%, but you really need to use 4% to get the full effect. The extra fat in the 4% makes it possible for the mixture to whip up and increase in volume. The increased airiness as well as the smoothness of the pureed cottage cheese creates the impression of creme fraiche or whipped cream.

I decided to add cinnamon challah croutons to Maida’s combination of strawberries and top secret topping. The result: a taste I can only describe as deconstructed cheese blintz. I also tried the croutons on strawberry spinach salad with my fat-free orange dressing. It was nice, but I liked the combination of creamy cheese, berries and cinnamon croutons a bit more.

The cinnamon challah croutons remind me a bit of those mock blintzes made from toast stuffed with cream cheese. Made with coconut oil, they are pareve, but taste dairy, almost buttery.

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Almost Fat Free Cheesecake

May 13, 2013

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What would you say to cheesecake that is about 200 calories per (4.5 ounce) serving? Pretty good right? I tried making my ultra light cheesecake with only fat-free yogurt cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon and vanilla, and it came out delicious. I forgot to add the flour and accidentally cut the amount of sugar in half, which ended up not mattering much, so I saved some calories there, too.

I dusted the sides of the baking pan with some crushed Italian lady finger cookies (the crisp kind you use for tiramisu). You can skip the crushed cookies, but it doesn’t add much in the way of calories (you need only 4-5 cookies) and it gives the impression that there is a crust of some kind without the heavy calorie load of a graham cracker crust. The cookie crumbs also add a little extra sweetness to what is otherwise a very lightly sweetened cheesecake.

Here is how I figure the calories:

24 ounces yogurt cheese made from a 32 ounce container of Greek yogurt: 560 calories
3.75 ounces sugar: 384 calories
4 eggs: 280 calories (about 320 calories for extra-large eggs)
5 Italian ladyfinger cookies: 110 calories

Total calories : 1,334, which yields 8 servings, each about 4.5 ounces, at 167 calories per serving. The fat should be mostly from the egg yolks, which comes to 2.5 grams per serving.

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Wordless Wednesday: Too Good For Words Turtle Cheesecake

May 9, 2012

Since you need some words to make this:

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New York Style Cheesecake

June 13, 2011

One of my favorite cheesecakes was one served at a long gone kosher dairy restaurant in NYC. It was so soft and light I was sure that the recipe involved whipped egg whites. All other cheesecakes seemed unbearably leaden in comparison.

I never made anything close until I made Nick Malgieri’s Sour Cream Cheecake. The lightness does not come from whipped egg whites, but from a large amount of sour cream, which gives the cheesecake a super soft texture and a delightful tang.

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Ultra Light Cheesecake

May 29, 2011

Made from low fat vanilla yogurt and reduced fat sour cream, this cheesecake has a very delicate texture: light and airy, like a souffle or meringue, but moist and creamy. It is crust-free, which saves both effort and calories.

Per serving (1/8 of whole cheesecake,about 4.5 ounces): about 224 calories, 6 g. fat, 8 g. protein.

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Homemade Labneh: Make Low Fat “Cream Cheese” with Yogurt

May 25, 2011

I had lots of plain yogurt leftover from Passover that I had to use up before the pull date. Plain yogurt is one of those things that I buy with the best of intentions, but it usually just languishes in the fridge, buried behind all the sugary flavored yogurt containers.

Once I turn it into yogurt cheese, though, it gets gobbled up in a couple of days. (more…)

Super Easy Delkelech, Dairy-Free

May 15, 2011

I was wondering if I could apply the principal behind the dairy-free cheese danishes to delkelech. With those pastries, a dip in a lemon-vanilla syrup gives the cheese-less crescent rolls a dairy taste.

For my dairy-free delkelech, I filled puff pastry squares with frangipane–a French almond cream. I also added some black currant jam to some of the pastries. After baking, I dipped the pastries in the lemon-vanilla syrup.

Chilling in the fridge helps bring out the dairy flavor, but this combination of frangipane and pastry is so classic, it does not depend on simulating cheesiness to be delicious. (Note: some like these better warm, or at least room temperature)

My husband loved these so much, I made the recipe again, but filled some of the pastries with a Tofutti “cream cheese”-based filling.

I had lots of filling towards the end, so I turned the last eight delkelach into mini-cheesecake tarts. These tasted the most like delkelach because there was the highest ratio of filling to pastry, and the moisture from the pastry softened the puff pastry so that it was less flaky/crisp and more flaky/chewy like real danishes.

This recipe is super easy because it relies on puff pastry.  And, yes, you can make cheese danishes with puff pastry. This is what the Barefoot Contessa used to do at her Hamptons store, and it is a shortcut even some old-fashioned bakers have taken. In a discussion of Mindel Appel’s recipe  for  delkelech (first printed in a Joan Nathan, NYT article), a Chowhound confessed: “‘I hate to tell you this, but my Hungarian mother – who passed away at 93 just a few years ago – used to make delkelekh with frozen puff pastry dough. The filling was similar to the NY Times recipe, though. I have had delkelekh very much like what was described in the article, but we all liked the puff pastry version so much better. I don’t know when she adopted this shortcut, but it didn’t seem to faze her a bit.” (more…)

Passover Cheesecake

April 27, 2011

Two small cheesecakes, one vanilla and one chocolate.

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