Monday, May 10, 2010

Baking With Dorie: Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte


Dorie Greenspan: where were you my entire life? 

My husband and I love a good cheesecake & so I've attempted to make it a couple of times in past years and always found it to be one of those elusive things that I just can't quite get right. Either I would burn the crust, under-bake the filling or the filling would split in the middle - making a very messy looking cake. In fact, I've never been able to make a cheesecake with a filling that didn't crack. And I've always found the recipes I've tried to be too sweet, too heavy.

When Elizabeth of Gluten Free Baking 101 chose this recipe for this weeks' Baking With Dorie challenge, I was prepared for cheesecake-fail. But then I thought: so far Dorie hasn't let me down & so maybe this time I would finally succeed in making a good & smooth-looking cheesecake!

The ingredient list called for cottage cheese which isn't available locally where I live & Ricotta is prohibitively expensive, so I told my baking partners Susi and Elizabeth that I would be making my own cottage cheese

That is easy enough. But then I couldn't come up with cherry jam and decided to make my own jam as well. I used David Lebovitz's directions for making cherry jam using two pounds of cherries; half fresh sour cherries and half frozen, dark & sweet ones. The directions are available here. Since I wanted a very thick jam, I used only enough water to cover the cherries, added the zest of two whole lemons and followed the rest of David's directions. The jam was ready in around half an hour & I've had a very, very hard time restraining myself from eating any of it before I could use it for the baking challenge today. It is so good & I like it even better than my homemade strawberry jam. 

Susi joked that I've turned this week's challenge into a Daring Bakers challenge by making all the ingredients by scratch. It's been a bit of work in that sense & I've stretched it over a couple of days like I did with the lemon tart we made for the last challenge, but I enjoyed it so much. 

I finally got around to baking the torte this morning. Dorie's instructions are easy to follow, and I thought I got everything right. . . 
But: my cake split again :( 

I got past my disappointment, waited for the cake to cool slightly and dusted with icing sugar. 

I released the sides of the pan but didn't try to remove the base of the spring-form pan that I baked in - just in case I broke the bottom of the crust and I didn't want to deal with that kind of disaster at this point.

Then I cut myself a slice of not quite-as-yet-cold-cheesecake. Pure heaven. I can only imagine how much better it will taste when completely chilled.

I think I finally succeeded in making the perfect cheesecake: perfect crust, smooth filling (except for the cracks) that wasn't too sweet. or too heavy Simple to make. Thank you Dorie! I've gotta tell you: I really love you!

For the recipe, check out Susi's page & do go over to Elizabeth's blog and see how she made a Gluten-Free version of this torte. 

Our next challenge is Tender Shortcakes on Pages 423-424, picked by Susi. If you would like to join the challenge, please drop me an email.

10 comments:

Peanutts said...

hi, hope mother's day went well. cheese cake looks yumm, never made cheese cake but am hoping to give it a try soon

Susi said...

Looks fantasic!!! I still can't believe you made everything from scratch, you are truly incredible :o)
Since mine is gone, could I please have a piece of your delicious looking torte?

Elizabeth Barbone said...

It is amazing to me that you made the jam and the cottage cheese from scratch! Fantastic!

Cracks don't bother me in a cheesecake. So, I think yours looks just lovely!

comfycook said...

Cracks don't diminish your cheesecake. I think, it looks great and I am sure, it is delicious.

I got confused and thought you were gluten free but I see it is Elizabeth who I recognize from her writing about gluten free.

Grapefruit said...

Thanks for your comments Elizabeth & comfycook. I know - the cheesecake is fine even if it cracks, it's just that for once I'd like to be able to make one that doesn't. ;-)

Yes Comfycook - Elizabeth is the one with the Gluten Free blog.

theUngourmet said...

Wow! This is just gorgeous, I love the layer of yummy jam. Nice job making everything from scratch! I am so crazy for cheesecake. It's too bad the ricotta is so expensive but I bet your homemade cottage cheese was excellent.

Grapefruit said...

Thanks for stopping by TheUngourmet & for your comments.
Yes the cottage cheese was great & I'll blog about it soon so you can see how easy it is to make!

Jencrafted said...

Your cheesecake looks heavenly and I love the idea of making cottage cheese from scratch. Didn't know that it was so simple!
Yes, I absolutely love Dorie and can't wait to try all her recipes! Lucky me, I actually got to meet her in person and she's really as nice and as endearing as she sounds in her writing.
Bake on!

Grapefruit said...

Jen - you lucky, lucky girl!
I think if I met Dorie in person, I'd hug her to death! ;-)

My Little Space said...

That looks truly scrumptious! I'm saving it up for later use. Thank you so much for sharing! Have a nice day.
Cheers, Kristy

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