Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Raspberry Mascarpone Cheesecake



When my sister in law mentioned that I should bake raspberry mascarpone cheesecake, I just said "I've never made it before", without thinking. She wasn't even thinking either when she said that, but then I thought how brilliant that idea sounds. The creamy mascarpone and the fragrant raspberries. For a second there, I thought she was genius to mention this combo, even if she didn't really mean it in the first place :). I've never been such a big fan of cheesecake, but I absolutely adore mascarpone cheese. I love the smooth and very creamy taste of it. Everything that has mascarpone in it must be good.

Then, I began my search on raspberry mascarpone cheesecake online as a start, but I found nothing. Very weird, as I would think that other people must have tried this before, but I couldn't find any recipe. So, What I did is just take the existing mascarpone cheesecake as a start point and go from there. I modified the recipe quite a bit to suit my taste, and also so that it would go great with raspberries. It's quite pricey making this cheesecake though. Everybody knows how expensive mascarpone can be, and I need more than one for this. It also has almond base, as I'm also not a fan of the plain and old graham cracker crumb base. Not to mention the raspberries and the cream cheese. But as long as it gives me the result I want, it doesn't matter anymore :).



Making cheesecake is pretty straightforward. Unlike layered cakes, where you have to bake thin sponge cakes, for cheesecake, you just mix the ingredients for the base and bake it for a few minutes. no beating or folding necessary. The filling was also quick to whip up. Just dump everything in the mixer, let it run until it smooth and add the eggs one after another, that's it. I also added a couple tablespoons of framboise, but I think the flavor got lost somewhere between the cream cheese and mascarpone. I scattered some fresh raspberries in the middle of the cheesecake. Everything went well until it comes for decoration, one of my weaknesses. I do have lots of ideas though, but I'm just to lazy to go that far just for decoration, although yes, I admit that it's one of the most important part of a cake. It's what make the cake art-y (???). Making the glaze took the longest time. The first one was a fail and I wasted my whole frozen raspberry to make the puree. So, had to run to the grocery store and bought another one. Thawing, pureeing, straining the seeds, can be very time-consuming. I'm not completely satisfied either with the result of the glaze. Gotta think to make it better next time.



I didn't go the extra mile for the decoration though. I let the side just as it is because I want it to look like a cheesecake. If I cover it with something, it would have looked just like a mousse cake. I think it looks acceptable, not the best decoration in the world but it's the best I can do with the leftover ingredients and the time I had. I should have smoothen the side with a warm metal spatula, but I didn't :(.

I haven't cut the cake yet, but I tasted the one that was stuck in the cake ring and pan and I loved it. My sis in law can't wait to eat it for the past two days, but I wouldn't let her because I haven't fully decorated it :P. I'll make sure she gets her portion of the cheesecake tomorrow. It doesn't have that "heavy" feeling you get with the regular NY cheesecake, and you can definitely tell that there is mascarpone in it. The raspberry just brightens the flavor, making it refreshing, fruity, and light at the same time. Definitely a keeper. I mean, when you heard or saw a cake with a name like this, who can resist?



Another cake I made the weekend before, a classic Indonesian cheese cake (not cheesecake) for a friend's birthday cake. I made it so often that I don't want to make a separate post over and over again, so I just shared the picture. And every single time I make it, it makes my mouth water (a little hyperbolic here) and it gives me craving for it. I'll just have to find the time to make it again one of these days :)

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rainbow Chilled Cheesecake (part II)




Umm....the second cheesecake I made last week to use up the heavy cream and cream cheese (note: as for now, I still have about 1.25 L cream and 2lbs cream cheese). Well, that's not the entire reason though. Remember the first rainbow chilled cheesecake I made a few months back? The texture was great, but the three flavors wasn't quite there yet. I used jams to flavor the blueberry and strawberry flavor, and lemon juice and zest for the lemon flavor. The lemon was tangy and I love it, but the other two were just too weak. The layers were uneven, and you can barely tell the color difference, not to mention the poor decoration, hahaha... Since then, I've been wanting to recreate the second one, a better one I hope.



I used chiffon type cake for the base as I think it's easier to make and faster too. The three flavors are different from the last one. This time, I made it into raspberry, mango, and blueberry flavors, my all-time favorite flavors! And I got smarter too :P, instead of using jams, I used real puree to flavor and color each layer, and mango pulp for the mango flavor (absolutely love this product). It was quite a hassle pureeing just a small amount of fruit, strain, wash, and redo it again with another fruit with a big blender. But I guess it was all worth it :). I try to make the layer as even as possible using a spoon, and although it wasn't perfect, but I think it's much better than the first one.



After unmolding, I feel like the colors are too strong. I wanted it to be just a tad softer, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I didn't do elaborate thing for the decoration, just cover it with a thin layer of cream and glazed fresh fruits. The cream wasn't even that smooth, but strangely, I wasn't bothered by it. I guess I was more bothered by the fact that I was very late for work at that time :P

Brought this cake to work and it was devoured within minutes. Luckily, there was one very small slice left and I remembered that I haven't tried it, so I quickly hide it :). The texture was a little different than last time. It was very light, more like a mousse instead of cheesecake, but still has that cheesecake flavor due to the amount of cream cheese. The word "cheesecake" is identical with "smooth", "creamy", "dense", but this is just so light that you don't feel like eating much after finishing one slice of it. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not. For me, I love this kind of texture. Maybe next time I'll add a little more gelatin in it. The reason why it's softer than the first one might be caused by the liquid puree. But overall, it was fruity, light, and flavorful all at the same time. For second attempt, I don't think this is too bad at all :)


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No-Bake Baileys Espresso Cheesecake



In a mission to use more than 1.5 L heavy cream that has been sitting on my fridge for a while before it goes bad, and also the 3-pound cream cheese I bought, no-bake cheesecake is the first thing that came to mind. There are so many variations of no-bake cheesecakes that I wanted to try, but I finally settled on this. I had a little Baileys in the fridge for quite some time and just want to use it up and be done with it. Don't get me wrong, I love Baileys, but there's not much you can do with it if you only have a little of it. Don't want to drink it either since I don't know how long it has been there :P.

There was only 30ml left when I measured it, which is exactly what the recipe called for. But I feel like there wasn't going to be enough flavor of Baileys or coffee for the amount of the cream cheese and cream. So, I decided to add a couple tablespoons of espresso, from the tiramisu leftover that I kept in a freezer for time like this, and it's proven to be very useful :).



I used a regular chocolate sponge cake for the base, and pour the cheesecake mixture on top of it. The end result is a little bit shorter that I would have expected, but it's still fine. I will adjust the recipe for next time. The swirl is made from the cheesecake mixture itself and chocolate paste, pretty simple.

I can definitely smell the espresso when I unmold it. I also tasted the crumbs, or little pieces that are stuck in the cake ring, and it was pretty tasty. I mean, you can never go wrong with Baileys and espresso combo.



I brought it to my friends' apartment after the cheesecake has set so that they can finish it, since I was planning to make another kind of no-bake cheesecake the next day, and I need the space in the fridge :).
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Mini Steamed Pandan Coconut Cake (Putu Ayu)



My second attempt of making this cake, now that I have the right mold for this cake. The first one I did almost months and months ago, wasn't completely satisfying. I used different mold and some of the grated coconuts stuck in the mold, not pretty :(. Second, it was my first time trying the recipe I found somewhere (forgot already what recipe I used), but I wasn't too fond of the texture. It was okay I think, but the texture is denser than what I would have liked. If you know me, you'll know that I like about everything that is light and soft. That's why I don't like butter type cake (or pound cake) and some sort.



I made these cute little cakes 1.5 weeks ago, for a potluck party. I didn't plan to make it that time, although it has been on my to-make/to-experiment list all this time after my first attempt. I only had about 1hr before I needed to get ready for the party and I didn't know what to bring as most people brought main dishes. So, I thought I'll make this, especially since the party is about Indonesian food :).

This cake is a traditional Indonesian cake, although it is also common in Singapore and Malaysia (these three countries share the same interest in the same type of food). I changed the recipe to have lesser flour (for lighter texture), more coconut milk (to give that moistness), and also more eggs. To my surprise, the texture was great. Definitely go into my file, have to go write down the amount before I forgot :P. I couldn't help but keep smiling when I saw these little cakes came out from the mold so easily without force, and it came out so pretty too. The size is mini, so you can finish it with only 3 bites (or one bite for a guy).



I've been wanting to make this again, as I only ate one at that time (they were gone very fast), but have to find "victim" to help finish the rest :)
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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tiramisu Eclair



Been wanting to try this flavor for eclair since forever, but never gotten to it until now. Another dessert I made together with the Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs for my neighbor and for my New Year's Eve dinner dessert. I wasn't planning on making this actually, at least not at that moment. But I suddenly felt the urge of making it when I was in the middle of making the cream puffs. So I made another batch of choux and pipe it to make eclair. I think tiramisu flavor would be better with eclair instead of cream puff, although they are the same generally. It's just that eclair has chocolate glaze on top, although I usually like to drizzle my cream puffs with chocolate glaze as well :D. So practically, they're the same. But eclair sounds much more elegant and looks fancier than cream puffs.



The filling is the same as the regular tiramisu cream. I just piped the cream into the eclair, and that's all. Piping filling into eclair has never been my area of expertise :(. It was messy, but I think I got it pretty good at the end :). It was a three-step process, making the choux, the filling, and the glaze, but I'm telling you, it was totally worth it. Not to mention the failed ganache glaze I made the first one. I was out of heavy cream and decided to use milk instead, but the mixture was grainy. When I was finally able to get it smooth, the color was so dull, not shiny like usual. It won't thicken, well it did a little but still runny even after a couple of hours. So, I got myself about one-1.5lt carton of heavy cream and made another batch. Now I still have 90% full of heavy cream in my fridge that I need to use up quickly before it goes bad. I can't seem to get any inspiration of what I want to make when I have this kind pressure :(.





Everybody just went crazy over this tiramisu eclair. I didn't eat it that night because I was too full, but everybody just kept saying how good the eclair is. I was actually surprised myself when I ate it the day after. I like to leave my eclair or cream puff at room temperature for some time to let the pastry to soften up a little, I think it's better that way. I'll definitely make this more often, although yes I realize that it took me a long time to make this from start to finish, but it was definitely worth it.

What did I do with the leftover tiramisu filling? Make tiramisu of course!! But this time, I made it in martini glasses since I didn't have enough leftover cream to make it in a pyrex or container. I just layered the cream with broken lady fingers that have been dipped in espresso-rum mixture. Dust the top with cocoa powder and there you have it.





I hope the neighbor enjoyed it as much as we do :)
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Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs



Cream Puff is one of those desserts that's simple to make but yet satisfying and easy to please anyone. It's one of the desserts that almost always come up in my mind whenever I want to make a snack for a group of people, for snack at home, for bridal shower, or any gathering for that matter. You can change the filling easily to suit the occasion depending on your fancy.

So, when I was trying to find something to give to one of my good neighbors, cream puffs naturally came to mind. I was planning to make it for Christmas but I was sick for a couple of days that I couldn't do anything except lying on my bed the whole day literally :( and it had to wait until New Year's Eve.



I was just planning to make a regular cream puff with soft and creamy pastry cream filling, but as I made it, I felt like making the filling a little fancier than just a regular filling. I quickly got my vanilla bean (instead of extract) and added it to the milk to infuse (I wasn't that far in making the pastry cream). I always like to lighten my pastry cream with a little whipped cream whether it is for cream puffs, fruit tarts, cake filling, etc. Depending on what it's for, the amount of whipped cream varies as sometimes you would want a lighter filling and sometimes toward a creamier filling, etc. So, I added a little whipped cream just to lighten it a bit, not too much that it would be light as mousse. And just like any other cream puff filling I made, I always add rum to the filling. I couldn't stop myself from licking the filling and my nephew just kept coming back and asking if he could taste more cream :)

It would be better if it was dusted with a little powdered sugar or combination of powdered sugar and cocoa powder but I was out of powdered sugar at the time, bummer. But it served its purpose successfully without the dusting anyway. I served the rest as dessert for New Year's Eve dinner at the same night and it was definitely a big hit.


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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Vanilla Chiffon With Cheese




As far as I remember, out of the many chiffon cakes I made, pandan, pandan with cheese, mocha, durian, etc., somehow I've never made the vanilla version. I did once or twice but it was about one or two years ago. No particular reason, it was probably because I always thought that vanilla or plain flavor is too boring.

So, I made a couple of pandan chiffon cakes the other day to give to some friends, and I managed to squeeze in one vanilla chiffon that I've been wanting to make for maybe a month. Fortunately, I have a little buttercream leftover in the fridge, perfect amount to cover this 8-in chiffon cake, then covered the whole cake with cheese and voila!



Believe it or not, I RARELY eat the chiffon cakes I made. I always made it for other people. And even if I make it for people at the house, I don't usually eat it, well I might taste it a little. There's something about eating your own cake :P. But this time, I actually ate it, a couple of slices I might add :D. I was surprised that the texture is super light and super soft. Gave half of the cake to my brother and his wife and they devoured it completely. I can't decide whether I like this vanilla-cheese combination better or the pandan with cheese. I will gladly take both of them anytime :).

Here is a picture of the last slice that I managed to capture


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