Saturday, March 15, 2008
I am sorry I missed you yesterday. I got carried away with a beguiling little recipe my friend Hope sent me (she is exceedingly kind and patient with this blog, I believe, since she is a professional in this game, actually) and with The Spitzer situation. This circus is my new guilty pleasure. I have stopped trolling TMZ and sadly shaking my head at Britney's newest made-for-paparazzi problem and moved on, lock, stock, and barrel, to the NY Post: A newspaper I have never read before, because never has salacious gossip been commanding enough to take my attention from the New York Times, which gives me news and recipes. This is who I have become: A person who eats Shallot and Thyme Cheesecake while reading about Client 9. I occasionally stop to make pickled horseradish or harass my (newly returned!!!) husband, because I am now able to do so any time for as long as I like, because he is right back here, on American soil, where I wish he could remain. But anyway, I am pretty much consumed with this New York tragedy. So here is a bit of a morsel to have, as Hope suggested, with maybe a fig spread, and some great crackers. I might also like it with some smoked salmon, or a fillet of beef. In fact, I can imagine few instances when I would not like it.
Hope's Notes:You may vary the seasonings if you wish, roasted garlic, rosemary, cumin, chiles, curry powder, sundried tomatoes are some excellent substitutions, to change the character of this dish. Use your imagination and your favorite combinations. If you are nervous about turning this cheesecake out of it’s dish, you may simply omit the parchment, and bake it in a beautiful serving dish of your choice.
My notes: I buttered a pyrex pie plate liberally, and having no parchment paper handy, took the recipe's advice and decided to just run with it. Even with out parchment, it turned out easily on to my serving plate. I will swap out 50% or 8 ounces goat cheese next time because I think the recipe can withstand a change or two as long as the proportions of cheese to eggs remain constant. It's so delicious and so quick to put together, it will become a cocktail hour staple for us.
Savory Shallot & Thyme Cheesecake
Adapted from Cheri Madsen, for Zoom, Park City, Utah, 2008
Two 8oz packages of Philadelphia brand cream cheese
2 Tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ medium-sized shallots finely chopped
3 thyme sprigs (pull off tiny leaves and saute with shallots)
kosher or sea salt
Put cream cheese and water in stand mixer with paddle and start on low. (If you can, pull the cream cheese out of the refrigerator for an hour before doing this for ease of mixing) Melt butter in small saute pan and throw in shallots and thyme leaves. Saute until translucent and fragrant.
Pour this mixture, while hot, into mixer with cream cheese and water. Mix for a bit, scrape down and mix again. Add Tabasco, garlic and onion powders, and salt to taste. When the seasoning is to your liking, add eggs, mix, scrape bowl, and mix again.
Spray preferred pan/ramekins with pan spray, cut parchment circle to fit bottom, place in pan/ramekins and then spray again. Pour batter into pan or ramekins and put in a water bath, in a larger roasting pan with water about halfway up. It is easiest to place the ramekins/baking dish in the roasting pan, transfer to the oven, and then fill the roasting pan to a height of half way up the side, using a kettle or some other vessel with a pour spout. Be VERY careful removing
the roasting pan from the oven.)
Bake at 325 for approx. 45 minutes, to 1 ½ hour depending on size of baking dish. It is done when it puffs and is golden brown. When you tap the side of the pan, it should look like ‘set’ jello.
Place entire water bath, with pan/ramekins on cooling rack or counter until it is only warm to the touch. You should be able to hold it in your hands with ease. Put serving plate on top and gently flip over. Let sit for one minute or so before lifting pan/ramekin.
Leave parchment circle on top and refrigerate cheesecakes overnight or for four hours. Peel it off before wrapping it to take on picnic or serving at home.
Yield: 3- 5inch ramekins or 1- 6inch cake pan