Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Of cheesecake and other things...

I'm tired.  And generally out-of-sorts.  It seems like I have no patience at all lately, especially with my children.  And it's really been bugging me that I couldn't figure out what's been making me so ill-tempered.  And then, this morning, it hit me.  I really, really miss my mom.  

I think it's been lurking in the back of my mind for quite a while.  I'm used to not seeing her much, since I only visit my family once or twice a year.  But I hate that I can't just pick up the phone and call her.  And of course, the times when I'm frustrated with the girls are the worst, since that's when I would call her the most.  

*sigh*  This doesn't have much to do with baking, except that my mom is the reason I love to bake.  She taught me a lot, and was willing to let me try new things (in life in general, not just in the kitchen).  And it really hurts that my daughters won't get to learn the things from her that I did.  

Maybe I'll feel better now that I've gotten some of that out.  Thanks for listening. =)  Now on to the cheesecake!

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Anne Strawberry.  She picked Tall and Creamy Cheesecake.  I really wanted to give the recipe a try, but knew that we really didn't need a full-sized cheesecake around here with all the other leftover Christmas goodies.  (Unlike my first Dorie cheesecake.  I've since learned that it's fine to make smaller versions of things.)  So I decided to halve the recipe and make it in my 7-inch springform pan.  It fit quite well.  Fortunately, the quantities in the recipe lent themselves to easy division by two. =)  

I had leftover Oreos in my freezer (from the peanut butter torte--yes, I had them in there for over six months without eating them =) ), so I used them for the crust. I thought about trying one of the filling variations, but was too tired to mess around with anything, so I stuck to the plain recipe.  I did add about a tablespoon of lemon juice, since I like how the tartness cuts through all the cream cheese.  And I used all sour cream (no heavy cream).  My favorite cheesecake is from Rose Levy Beranbaum, and actually uses more sour cream than cream cheese.  My stand mixer made short work of mixing the batter.

I had to guess a bit at the baking time.  I like my cheesecake creamy and not too dense, so I didn't want to overbake it or let it brown on top.  For my smaller pan, I baked it in its water bath at 325 degrees F for 60 minutes.  It was somewhat set, but still jiggly in the middle.  Then I turned off the oven and left it in for about 40 minutes longer, until the middle was pretty set.  I should have let it cool on the counter for a while, but this was at 11pm last night, so I just stuck it in the fridge and went to bed.  

Plain cheesecake isn't very interesting to photograph, so I mixed up some chocolate raspberry sauce to go with it. =)  I started with a recipe for chocolate sauce from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet, and played around with it.  For the raspberry part, I mixed in several tablespoons of raspberry fruit butter and added a splash of light rum to bring out the flavor a bit more.  Yummy.

The verdict?  Ooh, delicious.  The cheesecake has a bit more body to it than my usual one--still creamy, but not quite as silky a texture.  But quite tasty!  How can you go wrong with Oreo crust?  And the chocolate sauce made for a nice contrast.  We'll see how the other taste testers like it later...  

You can find the recipe at Anne's blog.  This one lends itself to all sorts of neat variations, so I can definitely see myself making it again.  Be sure to check out the TWD blogroll for lots of other wonderful cheesecakes!


  1. That looks absolutely beautiful! I love the drops of chocolate around the edges and that it turned out so well halved.

    I'm sorry about missing your mom... I hope things pick up soon for you! *hugs*

  2. Di, that looks positively sinfully delicious!

    Sorry about missing your mom. There are times that I miss my maternal grandmother for the same reason. Of course, the holidays are always more difficult without those we love. I hope that things get better for you soon!

  3. I'm so sorry about missing your mom. I know that has to be hard. But on a positive note, that cheesecake looks wonderful. Everything is better with chocolate!

  4. Feel better soon, Lady. That is exactly why we need cheesecake. :)

  5. This is your first holiday without your mom, and it just hurts all the way down.

    I know - I've been there.

    I'm sending you a *hug*, because you need it right now. Think of a happy memory, toast your mother with a glass of whatever you drink, and allow yourself all the time to just be.

  6. I feel ya on the first part there. There have been waaaay too many days like that lately. And even though you've probably heard it a million times, things *will* get better. I promise :) *hugs*

    As for the cheesecake? That is one darned fine looking cake right there. Fabulous job.

  7. Beautiful Cheesecake. Chocolate Raspberry. YUMMY!!!!

    Di - it will get better, it just takes time.

  8. Oh, Di! I'm so sorry about you missing your mom so much right now. I've been thinking of mine very much during the Holidays, too. I don't know what else to say, except that I'm thinking of you! :o)

    Now...about that cheesecake. It looks great. And I'm QUITE impressed that you left oreos in the freezer for that long. Iron will, that's what you have!

    This cheesecake looks absolutely decadent! Nice job.

  9. Oh, this cheesecake sounds amazing.

    Your girls are going to love hearing stories about your mom.

  10. I don't mean to be a dark cloud, but I still miss my mom, and it's been 20 years. Nobody can fill that hole, but it definitely gets easier with time.

    LOVE your cheesecake! I could dive into that chocolate and really do some damage!

  11. Yummy! Let me rename the... killer cheesecake presented here!
    Boy... this looks absolutely lushious, Di!

  12. I'm sorry about your Mom. That is really hard, but I'm glad you are trying to work through your feelings and not just pretend there isn't anything there. I'm sure she is watching over all of you. Your girls will have memories of her because you will share yours. It's not the same, I know, but it is still special.

    Your oreo crusted, lovely chocolate robed cheesecake is calling my name. Beautiful!

    Best wishes for 2009 to you and your family!

  13. Thank you, ladies, for all the hugs and good thoughts. They definitely help.

  14. Di, I know the holidays have got to be particular tough without your mom. I hope that you feel better soon. Hugs to you! And I can relate to being short on patience with the kids. Small kids are wonderful, and they bring a ton of joy, but they are exhausting. It's a relentless job. Go easy on yourself! And have another piece of that amazing, fabulous looking cheesecake that you baked up! The chocolate raspberry sauce has me wanting to make another one of these -- how insane is that? Happy New Year!

  15. Oh my... chocolate raspberry sauce. I bet that was heavenly with the cheesecake. {{HUGS}} about your mom. Its always hard to lose someone you love. Take time to heal. Only you know how much time you need.
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

  16. Oh wow. This looks amazing!! Those pictures are making me drool!
    Hope you get to feeling better soon....


  17. That chocolate sauce looks delectable. Holidays without loved ones can be so difficult. Here is to a glorious 2009.

  18. {{hugs}} about your mom. Your girls will learn through you about your mom.

    Wishing you a lovely new year.

  19. Oh, Di, I'm sad for you. The pain is deep because of the great love and joy you had. I've no doubt that your girls will learn from you those lessons that you learned at your mother's side.

    Yesterday I had a long conversation with my daughter (23 years old) about her ancestors on both sides and which traits - physical and temperamental - she inherited from each. She was fascinated. Nothing beats oral history. Your girls will cherish the stories because you do. I've made some family history and family recipe books for my daughters using blurb.com, and they are fabulous memory preservers. You might want to check it out.

    Oh, and you produced an amazing cheesecake there. I'm trying to imagine a silkier cheesecake! Mine had so many issues that I just wrapped it up and stuck it in the freezer. We've been rationing it out - it's kinda great that it was too much of a mess to serve!!


  20. That looks sooooo good! I'm so sorry about your mom - I lost mine 4 years ago, and I still miss her.

  21. wow! your cheesecake looks amazing.
    I love the look of the glossy chocolate sauce.

  22. Dear Di, Like many other TWD members our hearts go out to you during the holiday/family time. I know you miss your Mom's presence even though she is with you in so many ways. She's there, always.
    Your cheesecake sounds and looks divine and I love the sauce you made for it. What's not to love?
    Along the lines of Nancy's suggestion. A couple of months ago I bought another copy of BFMHTY to make hand written notes for my college age daughter. So someday she'll have that for her collection.
    Warm wishes to you and your family,

  23. Thoughts for you for the holidays. The cheesecake is absolutely stunning...I don't like chocolate, but my guys, and everyone else I know would FLIP out over this...really spectacular!