Monday, April 27, 2009

On an island in the sun.... this mic on? Oh it is... um.. let me first get this first part off my plate.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Now that we got that checked off our list. Let me give you a bit of background information. This month's challenge required us to put our thinking caps on. We are to take a basic cheesecake recipe and be creative. So I ponder what I could make.

My dear friend Shenny gave me the idea of doing something tropical islandy. At first I was not too keen on the idea and was leaning towards something chocolately, but decided tropical was the way to go.

Are you ready? You sure? Here it goes... I present to you guava/coconut cheese cake with a shredded coconut/macadamia nut shortbread crust. It is topped with a guava puree gelee.

Holy cheesecakes batman! ( I got that from Cassie at HTEAC) This recipe was soooo delicious. Creamy, fluffy, and very rich. I heart shortbread cookies so having it as a crust made me a happy woman. I took the rest of the cheesecake to work. I received mixed reviews as my office has a high ratio of chocolate lovers. They would have preferred if I made a cheesecake with chocolate. Don't mess with people and their chocolate.

The Verdict

Papa Bear: His tummy was growling for more. He loved it. He is a cheesecake man.

The other bears: They were busy running up and down the stairs chasing each other to be bothered. Oh is there loss.

And now I present to you...the recipe.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake. Items in red are my edits to this recipe

crust:2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
(I used a shortbread recipe found here I just doubled the recipe.)

cheesecake:3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature

1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs1 cup /
8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice

At this point I split my batter in half so I can make it half guava and half coconut.1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean) I used 1 tbsp of coconut extract and 1/3 cup of guava nectar.

Guava Gelee

2 C Guava juice

1/2 C Sugar

1/4 C Cornstarch

DIRECTIONS:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into a springform pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

I baked my shortbread for 15 mins so I would not get a soggy yucky crust.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Cover the bottom of the pan with foil. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter.

While the cheesecake is cooling, make your gel.

In a medium sauce pan, bring the 2 cups guava juice and sugar to a boil. Make a paste out of the cornstarch and a small amount of water. Remove guava juice from heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return to heat and bring back to a boil and boil for one minute. Cool in refrigerator.

Pour the gel on top of cheesecake. Use a spatula to spread if needed. Place is the refrigerator overnight.

Once cheesecake is cool, cut and serve.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mellow Yellow....

A friend of mine brought me some lemons from her tree about a week ago. I was racking my brain on what to do with them. Its like the gmail gods were listening. I get an email from Kate from The Clean Plate Club announcing April's challenge. April's challenge is brought to you by Holly of Phemomenon.

Without further ado, I present to you Toasted Almond Lemon Bar (tarts in my case)

Yes, I know..the carnival challenge was to be bars, but I found these cute mini quiche tarts at Bed Bath & Beyond on sale with a 20% coupon. Toot Toot. I hope my fellow Cookie Carnival buddies aren't upset that they are not bars, but tarts. :)

The only concern I had about the lemon bars was the lemony filling is white on top.
When you cut into the lemony fillings, its yellow delish. Did anyone else who participated in this challenge have the same issue? Did I miss something?

So last month's challenge, I pimped out my little girl Mei Mei. This month, I give you Ozzy! Mei Mei's brother. Ozzy really wanted to eat this lemon tart, but I think the hubs (Papa Bear) got to it before he did.

The Verdict:

Papa Bear: Refreshing. Tasted better the next day out from the fridge. Yep, he ate two tarts.

Me: Very yummy. I love citrus baked goods. Shortbread crust was kick ass to die for. I bet it would be super yummy alone with a nice cup of tea. Yum!

Other Bears: As you can see Ozzy really wanted a taste of it. Sorry Ozzy, not this time. He did get a milkbone biscuit.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Feeling a bit creative...

I was approached by my coworker to make some cuppycakes for her twin nieces' 6th bday party. I asked if there was a theme. No theme, but she told me to use colors: purple, yellow, and pink. So I thought about it. What does a 6 year old girl like? Come one Linda, you can were 6 once. I drew a blank.

Then it came to me..bumble bees, butterflies, purple hippos, and doggies. If you can't tell by now,
I heart doggies.

I hope the 6 year old twins like the cupcakes. I test tasted one and it was super delicious. They really were tasty. I am not being biased at all.

So what flavor cupcakes did I make you ask? Martha's one bowl chocolate cupcakes

filled with strawberry filling and topped off with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream.
The buttercream recipe was created by the lovely Cassie from How To Eat A Cupcake.

We also have a lovely vanilla cupcake courtesy of Billy's Vanilla Cupcake. Since it was for a birthday, I added rainbow jimmies for a confetti effect. Papa bear shoved his cupcake down his throat so fast that I was not able to take a picture. I topped it off with some vanilla bean buttercream. This was something that I just thew together.

Happy Birthday Bella and Sophia! I hope you like your cupcakes.

Oh..Happy Birthday to my other 4 legged friends Ginger and Sir Davis. Ages 4 and 2 respectively.