I am the two left feet dancer of baking. Every time I try to make a pastry, I end up failing royally: I tend to cook with ingredients based on need or how I see fit, and there is something about specific quantities and temperatures as well as timing that put me on the edge. So I was a tad nervous about this challenge.
First stage: the shopping – Friday 29th
I headed to the supermarket with my mom, after a long day. It started with my boss getting all frustrated and rushing me from home to look for a document we did not even have.
Then I get a call from my pupil’s mom telling me they are going to be late at school and she postponed the regular appointment. At the prearranged time, I take my umbrella (since it was a rainy day) and head to my tutoring session;
but just as I walked halfway, it decided to pour a flood and poor me gets a little cold shower. SO, I go ALL the way back,call to postpone tutoring again, get a hot shower and wait till rain stops so I can go back to my pupil. The second trip happens without any (bad) adventures and even my pupil was predisposed to study.
Then comes the time for shopping, I wanted to get those tinfoil baking sheets since I did not have one specific for cheesecake. To my surprise they were more expensive than the cheesecake one. Obviously, I went for the cheaper option.
Next step the cheese and the cream. I had to buy five packs of cream
cheese of 200g for the supermarket did not have the 500g ones. You should see the stack they made!
Then I look for the sour cream and as I could not find it, I ask an employee there and he leads me to the cakes’ items aisle (what the hell?). Obviously the guy never heard of sour cream, and remembering that I saw cheesecakes made with regular cream(Clint gave the tip too), I tell myself I will get one of those. Now the big decision: heavy cream or whipping cream! I stand in front of the creams for like ten minutes before I go for whipping cream.
I planned to make the cake after shopping, since it needs chilling and we decided it would be a good treat for my brother-in-law, whose birthday is Sunday, since my sister and her family are visiting on Saturday.
But by the time we got home it was almost 8 pm, and I was so tired I could really not lift a finger, let alone make a cheesecake.
Then it hits me, our food processor has a mixer, but the last time I used, the cream turned into butter! I did not want that to happen again, did I? Luckily, my aunt lives nearby and she has a mixer. The downside? Of course there is one, somehow it got chipped, still functional but needed a scotching operation.
Things were not looking good for me!
Stage 2: The cheesecake – Saturday 30th
Saturday 8:30 am: cheesecake baking time. Luckily my sister was around to offer council. She has always been good at baking and she has the eye for pastry.
The whole process went more smoothly than I dreamed of. There were no setbacks except for the final cooking temperature. Our oven tends to shut down if it goes under 130˚C. We ended up adjusting the time to fit the temperature change, but still the cake cracked a bit on top after it was removed from the oven.
I waited for it to cool before I undid the baking sheet’s spring and then chilled it for an hour or so before I covered it with homemade strawberry jam.
I also replaced the Graham cracker crumbs suggested by the recipe with Mcvities Digestive’s, which is a whole wheat cookie. I also forgot to add sugar to the crust but we did not really miss it, since the sweetness in the cheese/jam composition was enough. I think it would be the case for anyone who like me, does not have a sweet tooth.
We also made sablés which my sister is the expert in, as the cake ‘s accompaniment. I helped a little but she did most of the job.
A small trip to the florist and we were set to surprise my brother in law for his birthday.
It all went great, the cheesecake was a success although I think I should have used the juice of half a lemon, as I have seen on TV a week or so ago, to compensate the absence of the sour cream. It tasted really good but very creamy.
I was really happy with the result since it is the first time I get to make cheesecake, and the recipe was not very detailed as to how the consistency of the cheese should be after whipping or how the crust texture should be. Weird enough, I have watched cooking shows lately that all had a cheesecake recipe to offer. So I think some of the advices stuck in my mind.
The challenge was exciting in a way, since cooking usually is an easy task in my opinion, this was an aptitude test for me. After all I think I needed some sort of motivation to make sweets, since I am not really a pastry eater.