By Eileen Goltz
What better time to try out a new dairy recipe or two than Shavuot and of course, when I use dairy and Shavuot in one sentence, I usually come up with a cheesecake recipe or two
There are a few basic tips you need to know before you start cracking the eggs and adding the ingredients.
1. Have your cream cheese at room temperature to make mixing easier.
2. Beat in the eggs one at time.
3. Don’t over beat (too much air into the cream cheese mixture).
4. Use the spring form pan size suggested in recipe.
5. Check oven temperature to make certain that cheesecake is baking at correct temperature. (If necessary, bake cheesecake in a water bath. Wrap the spring form pan tightly in foil to prevent water from seeping in).
6. Cool the cooked cheesecake for at least 1 hour before removing the sides of the spring form pan. (To un-mold, run a knife around the inside of the pan before releasing the tension.
7. Cool the cheesecake for 2 to 3 hours on a rack before chilling it in the refrigerator.
8. Remove cheesecake from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you want to serve it to bring it up to room temperature.
9. You do have to pay critical attention to the oven’s baking temperature. Cheesecakes generally bake at 300 to 350, slow and long. If the oven temperature is too hot, the cheesecake can puff and crack open on the top. If that happens, you’ll have to camouflage the cracks with a topping of some sort.
Just before my cheesecakes go into the oven I give the pan a little tap on the counter top just to make sure I get all of the air bubbles out of the batter.
It’s very important to follow the baking directions exactly. If they call for a water bath then use one. I just place a towel (to prevent splashing and help distribute the heat) on the bottom of a pan big enough to hold the filled spring form pan (sometimes I use the disposable kind). I place the filled spring form pan in the larger pan, on top of the towel, place both in the oven and then slowly pour water into the larger pan. You need to add enough water to come between half and two thirds up the side of the cheesecake. You don’t have to go any higher than that or you’ll just steam the cake. The cheesecake should be placed in the middle of the oven for cooking, not the top third.
SMOKEY AND SAVORY CHEESECAKE (dairy)
24 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces sour cream
2 large eggs
6 ounces smoked trout, diced
1/3 cup chopped chives
3 ounces melted butter
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups crushed bagel chips
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, egg white, and the bagel chips. Press them into the bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan. Bake for 8 minutes to crisp up. Remove from oven and cool. Reduce the heat to 250. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, blend the cream cheese, cornstarch, salt, and sour cream. Once this mixture is thoroughly combined, add the eggs, one at a time until they are combined with the rest of the batter. Fold in trout and chives by hand and then. Pour the batter over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the pecans over the top of the cheesecake. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven for an additional hour without opening the door. Cool on a rack for at least 4 hours. Carefully un-mold. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10
CHOCOLATE LOVERS CRUSTLESS CHEESECAKE (dairy)
A drizzle of chocolate syrup and a dollop of whipped cream take this dessert into the realm of the extraordinary.
1 pound cream cheese — softened
1 pound ricotta cheese, part skim milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs — at room temperature
1/4 cup margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sour cream
Preheat oven to 325. In a large electric mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and sugar. Mix them together until smooth and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, and beating well after each addition. Add melted and cooled margarine, flour, cornstarch, and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in sour cream by hand. Pour the batter into an un-greased 9″ spring form pan. Bake, in center of oven for 1 hour. The cake will be soft in the center. Turn off the heat.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT open the oven door. Leave the cheesecake sit for 2 hours. When the cake is completely cooled loosely cover it and then let it chill for 2 hours. Remove the cheesecake from pan to serving plate just before serving.
TIRAMISU CHEESECAKE (dairy)
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon of rum
12 ladyfingers split
1/2 cup strong black coffee
1 cup thawed whipped topping
1 square semi sweet chocolate, shaved
chocolate covered coffee beans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add the egg, one at a time and mix until blended. Stir in the rum… Arrange ladyfingers on bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate; drizzle with coffee. Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared pie plate. Bake for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Top with whipped topping, chocolate covered coffee beans and shaved chocolate just before serving… Makes 8 servings
Eileen Goltz, a professional chef and caterer, is the author of the new cookbook, Perfectly Pareve.