Thursday, May 22, 2008

Birthday Cheesecake

And this was not just any birthday, but a lady’s birthday, so I wanted to find something fitting, and clean. I’ve been really into trying different flavor combinations and unordinary things, but nothing new was appealing to me. I needed something simple but sophisticated (if it’s possible for cheesecake to be sophisticated without sounding like an idiot). I could still have my hand at a new flavor, but no bruleeing or accompanying shots or anything like that.

Every now and then I see rose featured in desserts. In fact, after I made this cheesecake, I saw some rose gelato in a little town in the Costa Brava. I just had to figure out how to make a rose cheesecake without it tasting like soap/potpourri cheesecake. Let me tell you, this took lots of adding, mixing, tasting, adding more, mixing more, tasting more, and over and over again because I didn’t want the rose to be overpowering. I was using rose water, not essence, so it was more subtle, and I wanted to get enough flavor in there so you knew what you were eating. I ended up using about half the bottle, which I think would be around ¾ - 1 cup, seems like a lot of liquid, but it’s necessary to get the touch of rose in there (I think the testers of the final product were on the verge of guessing the flavor, had someone not told them what it was right as it was on the tip of their tongues).

I also put ricotta in this one, which I don’t normally use, and it made it a bit lighter but with a strong texture, as ricotta won’t come out perfectly smooth. Cheeses are the fun part to play around with, and ricotta and rose worked well out well together. You still get a very creamy cheesecake, just doesn’t seem quite as dense as with pure cream cheese.

Another plus of the rose cheesecake is it comes out pure and white. No pink food coloring, so it’s very fresh looking, not like pastel-y pink icing on a cake, and you can garnish it however you want, with different colors of roses or leave it plain. Of course for a birthday cake, roses were definitely necessary to add a little something extra.

Rose Cheesecake

125 g butter
200 g Maria cookies (same as graham crackers, or any digestive ‘biscuit’ on this side of the ocean)

Crush cookies any way you can (in a plastic bag), melt butter, and mix the two together, then press on the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan. Bake at 170C/340F oven for 10 minutes.

600 g cream cheese
250 g ricotta
3 eggs, separated
150 g sugar (you might need more or less, depending on how much rose water you add)
¾-1 c rose water (remember, until you can taste it just a little too much, as some will bake out)
pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream your cream cheese and ricotta together to get them soft and fluffy. Now add the sugar, maybe skimp a little bit because you can always add more. Mix that well together and now start with the rose water. I did mine little bits at a time so you can monitor how strong the flavor is, and you can always taste as you go (this is why I add the eggs last, not that raw eggs ever stopped me from eating dough). After every addition, stir until it’s well blended. When you’re satisfied that you have a hearty rose flavor and not yet soap, beat the egg whites until soft peaks. Add the egg yolks to the cheesecake, stir, then a little bit of salt, stir, and finally fold in the egg whites. You don’t have to be so careful about breaking them, make sure and get everything well incorporated, they are just there to give some extra-fluffiness to your cheesecake. Pour into the prepared crust in the springform pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes at 180C/355F. It might seem extremely wobbly when you take it out, but as long as the edges are well set, then the middle is ok because it will firm up in the fridge overnight. Once it cools to room temperature, stick it in the fridge and be ready to enjoy the next day.

1 comment:

d anything said...

Rose cheesecake is a dessert fit for the finest restaurants of the world. And me.