I love you...

like a [phat] kid loves [cheese]cake

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dear 3 a.m..


...we have to stop meeting this way. You are really great, but honestly, I would much rather sleep with you.

Love, Shikha

This is the third day in a row where the clock has ticked past the 3 a.m. mark and I am still awake feigning homework while actually just snacking on cereal sweetened with maple syrup soporifically. The first day really did involve homework; then I transitioned into late-night baking and now, late-night blogging. Phail.


But I did promise to post about what I did with the last of the pumpkin, and I do try to keep promises, so here it is. A few weeks back, Cal hosted the Taste of Berkeley to celebrate local foods and restaurants, and I was asked to provide some goods to sell for personal profit. I wanted something simple yet appealing and representative of me, so I went for cheesecake. (On a side note, I'm not sure if choosing cheesecake as my representative dessert of choice renders me to be a complete fatty, but I don't think there is any other way to metaphorically describe a person vis-a-vis a cheesecake in any other way).

For me, cheesecake is one of the easiest things to make. It was the first thing I ever made when I was beginning to explore my skills in the kitchen. I even wrote my college essay about cheesecake (See? It is more useful than you think). Once you know the basic ratio for this dessert, you are able to experiment freely with different crusts, baking temperatures, and of course, the filling, which is what I did by adding in the final bit of pumpkin pie mix from my fridge. Since this canned stuff was already sweetened, I just cut down on any added sugar. I also found some mascarpone that had been leftover from some raspberry tiramisu I had made the week before, so I made a simple topping to finish the cheesecake with.


Although I originally planned to sell 16 slices, things got messy to cut after I got too much cake residue on my slicer (how cool is that device, by the way?), so I just made eight. Needless to say, I did end up selling out, so all is well that ends well.

And anything that ends in cheesecake always ends well.


Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Crust

  • 1 box of Nilla wafers, finely crushed
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
Filling
  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin pie mix
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Topping
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
Preparation
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
  • Combine the cookie crumbs and butter in a small bowl til the cookies look like wet sand. Press into the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate while making the filling.
  • On medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, until just blended. Add in pumpkin pie mix and salt until combined.
  • Pour into pan and set pan in a larger pan filled with hot water (This prevents the cake from cracking on the top). Bake for 70 minutes until center is barely moving.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely. Cover and chill at 4-6 hours or overnight.
  • Before serving, beat together mascarpone and maple syrup until smooth. Spread over cheesecake befores slicing.