Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cheesecake! Cranberries!

As you may or may not know, the latest season of Top Chef is coming to an end. Some friends had a few people over for dinner last night and to watch the episode. Naturally, I brought dessert. They made grilled sandwiches with cheddar, braised pulled beef short ribs and pickled onions. YUM! I brought a cheesecake. Just a plain vanilla bean cheesecake, the way the good lord intended it, and I made a spiced cranberry jam to go on top. It was a hit.

This is the New York cheese cake from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. It's a great book, I highly recommend it! Unfortunately, I thought I had more sugar than I did when I went to make it. It was also 7:00 AM and I had been to the grocery store one already (needed a cheap aluminum roaster for the water bath) and wasn't about to go back. Oh and it was raining like crazy. I still can't believe I ran out of sugar. I have four kinds of flour and malt syrup for pete's sake! Anyway, the recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups of granulated sugar. I used 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar and 3/4 cup of brown sugar. It worked really well! It's not quite as snow white as the picture, but darn tasty. I also used cinnamon graham crackers as the crust. It worked really well. (Someone at the dinner thought I used teddy grahams. I like the idea of grinding up teddy bears to make cheesecake crust. I may have to try that.) Oh, I also used a half of a vanilla bean instead of the extract. The cheesecake baked for about 15 minutes longer than the book called for because my oven is a little slow.

The only problem with the recipe is that it made too much batter. I could have filled up the springform pan the whole way, but that would have been precarious to say the least. It just so happened that the left over batter filled 12 muffin cups perfectly. I baked these at 300 degrees, a little lower than the whole cake. I also didn't use a water bath. I wasn't so concerned with cracked tops like I was with the big one since I'll most likely be eating these in front of the fridge with the door open they are just for me. Next time I would cut the recipe in half.

This is the cranberry jam I made to go with it. It was the easiest thing in the world. Rinse a bag of fresh cranberries, place in large sauce pot. Add 1/2 cup of water, 2 cups powdered sugar, juice of three clementines, zest of one clementine, the left over half of vanilla bean, and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Simmer until the cranberries begin to break down and the juice thickens. It was, like, 10 minutes. For reals. Because there is a bit of cornstarch in powdered sugar, the sauce thickened quickly. Let it cool. It made about 24 ounces.


Kristina P. said...

I love cheesecake. My favorite one I've made is a pumpkin one.

And go Kevin!!

peewee said...

That cheesecake looks beautiful. I LOVE making cheesecake because it's so easy but everyone THINKS it's so hard!

Meg said...

Shhhhhhhhhhh! Don't tell them!

Cellar Door said...

What do you say you come over sometime? We could have a movie night, I'll bring the movie, you bring the cheesecake!

Meg said...

With your weather CD, I'd better bring a week's worth of cheesecake.