3/24/08

Memories, like the corners of my mind...

I was just thinking back to when I was a kid ... five, six years ago ... there was a groovy wicked dessert called No-Bake Cheesecake. Its texture was light and creamy, and so easy that just about anyone could make. Even a kid like me, whose parents -in those days- never allowed in the kitchen because it was strictly prohibited by our homeowner's insurance.

One. I blew up just one lousy microwave oven, and that was the last time I was allowed in their kitchen. Well, I ain't a kid no more. And while there may have been a catastrophe, or two, in my own kitchen since those carefree days, baking continues to be an ongoing passion for me.

Here's a recipe which my family has enjoyed, and it's one which I'll try again when the temperatures start to rise and the cravings for a simply delicious cheesecake arise.





Individual No-Bake Cheesecakes with Apricot Sauce

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

7 ounces graham crackers (about 13)

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

8 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature

6 ounces crème fraîche *

2/3 cup sifted confectioner's sugar

1 cup heavy cream

Apricot Purée, recipe follows

Line six cups of a jumbo muffin pan with plastic wrap. Set aside. Combine sugar and graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add melted butter and pulse just until combined. Press this mixture into muffin cups and place in the freezer while preparing filling.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, crème fraîche and confectioner's sugar until incorporated. In another bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; fold into cream-cheese mixture. Fill individual crusts and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook.

*I make my own crème fraîche by combining 1 cup heavy cream (preferably not ultra-pasteurized) with two tablespoons cultured buttermilk. Whisk the two ingredients in a glass container, and loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing some air in. Let this mixture sit for at least 24 and up to 36 hours, until very thick. Stir the cream after it has thickened. Cover and keep refrigerated for 1 week.

I made the following purée using only 2 tablespoons sugar, and found it sweet enough for my taste. You may (or not) need to thin with additional water to make into a pourable sauce.

Apricot Purée

2 cups, packed dried California apricots

1½ cups water

1½ tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

½ cup superfine sugar, optional

In a small saucepan place the apricots and water and allow to stand, covered for 2 hours. Simmer 20 minutes on very low heat, covered, until the apricots are soft. Purée with the liquid in a food processor.

Press through a fine strainer. You should have 1½ to 1¾ cups. Stir in the lemon juice. To make lightly sweetened purée, add sugar to equal 1/3 the volume of the purée (i.e. if there's only 1 cup purée, add 1/3 cup of sugar instead of the ½ cup. Store in airtight container. Keep refrigerated for 5 days, or freeze for 1 year. Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible.

6 comments:

  1. hmm, no bake cheesecake? i think that's exactly what I want! no baking by enjoying eating:) I will try your recipe. Seems so yummy! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. You're welcome Farida! And thank you for dropping by.
    You know, I do love baked cheesecake, but this retro dessert is pretty darn good for those days when I'd rather be eating than baking.

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  3. Anonymous26/3/08

    I am delighted to have you and your beautiful food at my fingertips..
    Thank you!Monique

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  4. fabulous to see you blogging, you will keep my clothing bulging at the seams! long live sugar and your delightful ways to dazzle my eyes and tongue~

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  5. Mon ami Monique and Jain I'm so darn glad to see you. Welcome! And I have to agree, long live sugar, and let us not forget chocolate!

    Tell me friends, does this blog make my butt look big?

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  6. Anonymous29/3/08

    No but my daughter has a bag that says that:)

    Looking forward to morebeautiful entries Sol..
    I came to peek:)

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