21 April 2008

the last of the curd.

I have been in the midst of taking stock of all the food in our freezer and cupboards to try to start using is up (and also to save a little money). The meyer lemon curd of yore has been waiting patiently in the freezer and I've had a box of graham cracker sticks in the cupboard for a while that needed a mission. So when I saw the recipe for Meyer Lemon Cheesecake on The Kitchen Sink I knew that we had a winner.

My big plan was to take it for dinner at a friends house where we were going to watch the final four. My inexperience at making cheesecake hindered this plan because I didn't realize that I needed to chill it for at least 8 hours before eating it... and that is after letting it come to room temperature, which takes about six. Our little cheesecake made the trip to our friends house, sat tempting us for the evening, but never had the time to properly chill, so it traveled back home with us and became our dessert for the next night.

Cheesecake was a lot easier to make than I expected and I am excited to try new flavors. I will say that the recipe for the crust was fantastic and will be used again. I changed a little bit from the original recipe for the cheesecake, adding some more fattening cream cheese to make it a little richer. It is pretty yummy!

Graham Cracker Crust
Adapted from Gourmet

1 1/3 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (5 oz)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Invert bottom of springform pan (to make it easier to slide cake off bottom), then lock on side. 3Stir together crust ingredients in a bowl, then press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan and bake 10 minutes, then cool crust completely in springform pan on a rack.

Lemon Swirled Cheesecake
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
3 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) blocks full fat cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 cup lemon curd (find recipe here)

To prepare the filling, beat cheeses at high speed of a mixer until smooth. Add 1 3/4 cups sugar and the next 4 ingredients (1 3/4 cups sugar through salt); beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture into prepared pan. Spoon mounds of Lemon Curd over filling, and swirl together using the tip of a knife. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake is almost set. Remove cheesecake from oven, and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

15 April 2008


And sick. In between traveling for work last week and having my dad in town for the weekend I caught my first sickness for the year. And I totally thought that I had bypassed it this year. I have a great post on Meyer Lemon Cheesecake on the burner... but for now I leave you with this courtesy of my friend Kelly over at Design Crush.

Welcome to my weekend.

02 April 2008

my first vanilla bean.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to find a reason to use a vanilla bean. I watched in envy as food network chefs split the bean and scraped out the seeds to make something really tasty. But I just never found a reason to use one. I didn't have an ice cream maker until recently, so there was no vanilla ice cream to be made. And I just never really had a recipe that required the skinny, little bean. Until now.

Hooray! It's Guinness Ice Cream Day!

I will say, that this ice cream turned out much better than my last attempt. The flavor was great. Like fabulous vanilla ice cream with a hint of the Guinness sharpness. Like a Guinness float! Yum! The perfect treat for St. Paddy's Day.

Guinness Ice Cream
adapted from Emeril Lagasse on foodtv.com

1 can Guinness stout
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 egg yolks

In a large saucepan, simmer the Guinness until reduced by 3/4 in volume, about 8 minutes. Combine the cream, milk, and sugar in a medium, heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and add the vanilla bean halves. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.
Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, to the hot cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 170 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to keep a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove from refrigerator and add the Guinness reduction, whisking until well blended. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.