Vote for my Shawerma Tuna Flavour for a chance to win AED 15,000

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Baked Cheese Cake - Happy Mother's Day

At times when waters get rough, a mother's warm smile smooths away the tide and makes our worries disappear. Even if for a moment, she makes the world more peaceful. At times when looking for comfort, a mother's encouraging words make us feel like we are capable and the best there is. At times of achievement, a mother's joy makes all the effort worth while. And at times of sorrow, a mother's embrace makes the world safer. At the first step, first bite, first word, and every first, there was a mother to encourage, celebrate and lend a helping hand... a mother to pick us up, to hold us, to walk us through and to straighten and refine us, then to let us go in hope that we will always know what she made possible. A mother is the very definition of unconditional love. Some do it with hugs and smiles, some do it with words and actions, sometimes rough and others soft, but always out of love. Only when we become mothers do we fully understand her. The woman behind us, and always with us. The warmth, the love and the voice that guides us is the mother who never tired, who pushed and fought her own and our battles. To every mother out there, God bless you and Happy Mother's Day....

When I was thinking of what I should post for mother's day, I thought I definitely want to post a dessert recipe. Something as sweet as mothers! When it came to choosing the dessert, I thought to post this fabulous baked cheesecake for a couple of reasons. First, my mum loves cheesecake, and for mother's day I wanted to share her favourite dessert. Second, many of you had sent me emails requesting my baked cheesecake recipe and I thought to grant your wish for mother's day. So I am posting out this recipe in celebration of all of you Mums out there, wishing you a fabulous day filled with the love of your children :)

This baked cheesecake recipe is deliciousness at its best! The crunchy crust made out of a mixture of nuts and cookies is amazing both in texture and flavour. It crunches and oozes in caramel and nut goodness, making you want more and more of it. I love cheesecake crust, so I always make sure to make it thicker than usual, which is always commended by my guests. They seem to agree that crust shouldn't be too thin, and should be a substantial part of the experience. I strongly advise you to go only for mascarpone cheese as it is more creamy and less cheesy, just like a dessert should be. Some of the worst cheesecake experiences I have had, included a cheese type that produced a flavour that is more on the sour-like cheesy side, which I find offsetting in a dessert. The cheese filling in this recipe is sweet but not overly, and the addition of Vanilla seeds makes the flavour Divine and the look more appetising. As the filling cooks, the eggs help in creating a volume and texture, a breed between cakey and gelatenous; Heavenly! Good enough on its own, that you really need not have a topping for it. When every layer is flavoursome and good enough to have on its own, you know you have a great recipe. But, since most poeple find a plain cheesecake too plain and want a topping, I have included for you the recipe of a fresh strawberry sauce that you can use if you want to have a topping. However, I find that the best topping for this cheesecake recipe is simply assorted fresh berries. The tang of the berries pairs very well with the sweetness of the crust and filling. In terms of experience, this colourful and inviting dessert will give you a crunch from the crust, against the smooth creaminess of the filling, and the juicy bite from the berries as they explode in your mouth! What more can any one bite of food offer us? It is pure pleasure... You can also top this cheesecake with fruit wafers for a different style of presentation.

This recipe is a Dima's Kitchen staple, and another best seller from when I was catering. It is a crowd pleaser and a must keep in your recipe collection. Give it a try, and I am telling you, you will want to hang on to it... So here is how it goes:

New York Style Baked Cheesecake with Assorted Fresh Berries
You Need

For Crust: ¼ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
¼ cup finely chopped almonds
¾ cup crushed graham crackers, or homemade vanilla sugar cookies
2 tbsp butter, melted

For Filling: (all at room temperature) 750g Mascarpone cream cheese
1 1/3 cup sugar
5 large eggs
¼ cup flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
Scrapings of ½ vanilla pod
2 tsp lemon juice

Prepare crust: mix nuts and crackers with butter. Press against the bottom and sides of a greased springform pan. Set aside.

Keeping the mixer on 'low' throughout, beat cream cheese until light & fluffy. Gradually add sugar, and beat until creamy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. When eggs have been mixed into the cream cheese, add the flour, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well. 

Pour cream cheese into prepared pan, place in a preheated (350F) oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When the time is up, open the oven door and leave in the oven for 1 more hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, let it cool completely before placing in the fridge. Once completely cooled, place the cheesecake in the fridge for 24 hours to mature and set the flavours, this will make it richer and much better as the flavours cure in the fridge. 

Right before serving, Arrange the washed and dried assorted fresh berries on top in whichever design you fancy. Sprinkle the tops with icing sugar, and place a fresh mint leave on the side for a splash of green colour. 

Serve cold and enjoy.

For Fresh Strawberry Sauce
You Need
4 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice (optional)
1 cup extra of fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)

Combine all the ingredients together in a large saucepan, and cook till the strawberries are soft and the liquid is thickened (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, and let the sauce cool down. Using and immersion blender, liquidize the sauce, and spoon over the cheesecake.

Thank you for dropping by and reading this post, hope you have enjoyed it and that you will give it a try to know its goodness. Please come back again soon for more, and let me hear from you. Looking forward for your comments :)

Meanwhile, I have read this fabulous poem by Joaquin Miller, and thought to share it with you. So at days when motherhood seems hard, and you are looking for inspiration, just remember that motherhood is not easy which is why all mothers are warriors. 

"The bravest battle that ever was fought!Shall I tell you where and when?On the maps of the world you will find it not;'Twas fought by the mothers of men.

Nay not with the cannon of battle-shot,With a sword or noble pen;Nay, not with eloquent words or thoughtFrom mouth of wonderful men!

But deep in a walled-up woman's heart -Of a woman that would not yield,But bravely, silently bore her part -Lo, there is the battlefield!

No marshalling troops, no bivouac song,No banner to gleam and wave;But oh! those battles, they last so long -From babyhood to the grave.

Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars,She fights in her walled-up town -Fights on and on in her endless wars,Then silent, unseen, goes down.

Oh, ye with banners and battle-shot,And soldiers to shout and paise!I tell you the kingliest victories foughtWere fought in those silent ways."
- Poem by: Joaquin Miller (1839-1913)