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.