Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Long Awaited Second Cheesecake That Didn't Live Up to Expectations

So the week immediately after making my first cheesecake here, I was all excited (and so was Dan) and I was ready to make another. But I wanted to experiment with different flavors, and the next big one on my list was dulce de leche (I’m a huge sucker for the Cheesecake Factory’s dulce de leche cheesecake, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing). So I looked at a few different recipes, just to get a general idea, but as I said in my first cheesecake posting, you have your base ingredients and you can pretty much play around with other flavorings.

This time I also wanted to do a top layer as I hadn’t before so I wanted to do something different that would compliment dulce de leche. I’m kind of obsessed with goat cheese. Dan kept suggesting things like hibiscus or star anise, but I thought maybe a tangy goat cheese would go well with sweet dulce de leche. So I thought.

That’s one of the reason’s this post has taken so long, I made this well over a month ago, but as it was not a complete success, I debated even posting it. The cheesecake wasn’t bad, it just tasted like plain cheesecake, but lacking in something. It was an experiment, and I think I learned what to do from it, but I’m going to post the original recipe and go ahead and give my tips for what I would do next time. I think it has potential (I know people out there make really good dulce de leche cheesecakes) but I think my quantities and flavors weren’t right. The one really great part of this was the chocolate crust: most recipes I’ve read call for crushed up Oreo cookies, or similar cookies, but I used my recipe for regular crust and added cocoa powder…turned out really well.

So you win some, you lose some. But I figured I should post my “non-victories” as they’ll be referred to, and maybe someone else can do something better with it. Please let me know! Here’s the recipe, suggestions follow.

Dulce de Leche and Goat Cheese Cheesecake

150 g Mari Lu cookies
100 g butter
cocoa powder

dulce de leche
300 ml milk
200 g sugar

first layer
600 g cream cheese
75 g butter
dulce de leche
150-200 g sugar
3 eggs

second layer
1 log of goat cheese (about 100-150 gr)
100 g crème fraiche

First crunch up the Mari Lu cookies or graham crackers, and mix with melted butter and then add cocoa, mixing well. Press on the bottom of a springform pan and bake at 170 Celsius for 10 minutes.
Now comes the real experimental part, one of the key ingredients (or the key ingredient) so maybe I should have paid more attention to quantities, cooking time and temperature. So I poured milk and sugar into a pot and cooked, stirring a lot over medium-low heat until it reached a light brown color, about 40 minutes. The problem was, when it cooled, it hardened, so upon reheating it to add to my cheesecake mixture I added more milk and think I lost some of the flavor. I had never made my own dulce de leche before, so I suggest following a recipe, or doing what I’m going to try next time: use a couple cans of sweetened condensed milk and boiling that for about 45 minutes, also something I’ve never done, but will sometimes soon. I also think a problem was not having enough dulce de leche, because the cream cheese will neutralize the flavor, so make sure you have lots of it, you can always find something to do with the extra…put it on ice cream, eat it with a spoon, whatever your fancy.
Next, mix the cream cheese, butter, and dulce de leche together. Next add the sugar and mix, then the eggs and mix, and finally a pinch of salt. Please taste and make sure you don’t need something else, of course, if it’s dulce de leche and you don’t have any more, there’s nothing you can do immediately, but you could add more sugar, or lemon or something and try and spice it up a bit. Otherwise it comes out not tasting like much (mine tasted like sweetened cream cheese…not dulce de leche).
Pour this batter over the crust. Now if you want two completely separate layers of dulce de leche and goat cheese, bake this at 180 for about 40 minutes. I thought I did, but I also wanted the goat cheese layer to be more substantial than just that thin, barely cooked sour cream layer a lot of cheesecakes have. So I decided to cook it along with the dulce de leche layer so it would get browned. Turns out, my dulce de leche layer was not thick enough to stand up to a second layer and instead it sunk through, but made for a nice swirling of two layers.
So, mix the goat cheese, crème fraiche, and sugar to taste and pour over the dulce de leche batter, evenly over the whole top, out to the edges, so that you get a swirl effect throughout the whole cheesecake.
Bake at 180 for 40-45 minutes until it’s browned, or if you’ve already baked the dulce de leche layer, back for another 10 minutes or so.
Now, how would I make this layer better? I need to experiment more (hopefully it will lead to good things), but I’ve been thinking about adding some lime juice, perhaps even some zest because that would bring out the tartness of the goat cheese and if you have a very good, sweet, dulce de leche, I think it might achieve the flavor combination I was looking for. But as I said, I need to try this again and see if I can make it work. I’m dying for some good dulce de leche cheesecake, so next time, I will try with the sweetened condensed milk, at least two cans, probably three. And squirt some lime and maybe a bit of salt into the top/swirled layer. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know, and good luck to you. At least the pictures came out alright, not to mention that chocolate crust.

One last note: this cheesecake was in no way horrible, but it wasn’t great. It could have been, but was lacking in a few ways. It was still consumed in about 24 hours between two people, but it had no personality. It needs someone to give it some personality.

1 comment:

d anything said...

Well I still think that coconut would pair well with dulce de leche, without ruling out lime. Or make a real Thai theme of it with kaffir lime...

But brave to post the not-100%-successful stuff too. It´s all useful.