For the past couple of years, I treated my mother and sister to a gourmet brunch as a special Mother's Day gift. My mother has the craziest diet restrictions, so this is no easy feat. This year, my sister had to work Mother's Day morning, so while brunch was pretty much out of the question...dinner was not. Personally, I like brunch better because I never treat myself to yummy breakfast foods like french toast and sweet breads - my breakfasts usually consist of buttered toast and a glass of juice.
Each woman had a special request...my mother really wanted Butternut Squash Soup. My sister asked for Corn Chowder. 2 soups you say? No problemo! My sister also requested cheesecake, minus the crunchy eggshells. Smartass. (My brother requested cheesecake for his birthday last year, and I didn't do what I tell everyone else to do: crack your eggs into a separate container. A small bit of eggshell got into the batter and disbursed so that every bite had a cruch to it! Apparently, no one likes that added bit of calcium in their cheesecake!) Good thing for her that I have been jonesing cheesecake for several weeks now, ever since I spied Amanda's salted caramel sauce on her blog.
So, this is what my menu looked like:
Butternut Squash Soup, with a bit of grated fresh ginger
Bacon, Potato and Corn Chowder
Pork Tenderloin with a Cherry Reduction
Cherry and Apple'sauce
Grilled Skewered Vegetables (colorful bell peppers, yellow summer squash, mushrooms and tomatoes)
Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce
Sometimes cheesecake can be a real hassel. My cheesecakes have a tendency to crack (and I mean crack!) and the result is not the pretty smooth cake that is always pictured in cookbooks. This time, I settled on a new cheesecake recipe that turned out really, really delicious. It was smooth and creamy and mile high! The baking technic was a little different than I had seen before, but it totally worked because it came out with only one small crack that was easily hidden with the caramel sauce. No gaping craters!!! Horray!
See? Isn't it beautiful? No trick photography here!
SMOOTH SPRING CHEESECAKE
For the cheesecake:
5 (8 oz.) bricks of creamcheese,
1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Graham Cracker Crumb:
1 1/2 cups (5 oz) finely ground graham crackers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 550°F.
Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 9-12'' springform pan. Set aside.
Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, and zests with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Put springform pan with crust on a large cookie sheet. Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and bake on cookie sheet (to catch drips) in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes, or until puffed. Reduce temperature to 200°F and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour more. Turn off oven and allow the cake to sit on oven rack for another oven. Remove cake from oven and run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen. Cool completely in springform pan on a cooling rack. Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Serve as is, or with any kind of fruit, chocolate or caramel sauce.
Oh so good with just a slight hint of lemon and orange flavors from the zests of the fruits. It made the cheesecake come alive and dance on your taste buds. Beware though, this cake is rich!!!! Cut small slices and don't be ashamed when you have lots leftover. Share the love by bringing the remaining cake to work!