Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let them eat (cheese) cake!

We had another family for dinner Saturday night. I've noticed that we entertain a lot in the winter but not in the summer. It's not like we're anti-social in the warmer months; those of you with swimming pools are very forthcoming with invitations to swim and BBQ and we appreciate it. As it turns out, however, our home lends itself to winter entertaining.

For example, we have a fire pit, which is great for making s'mores. We have a Wii. We have three children's rooms stocked with age-appropriate indoor toys. But we do not have a pool. Or a tennis court. Or a trampoline. Or a play structure. Our backyard was dirt when we moved in and we purposely designed it to be rather sophisticated, to optimize the view of Mt. Diablo State Park, which we back up to. Dave and I both grew up with pools and knew we didn't want one as adults.

So this very nice family came for dinner and I made a very nice meal. It was a bit of an intellectual exercise, which I enjoyed, since the mom is diabetic and the son does not eat dairy. I've long wanted to try this cheesecake recipe and this was the perfect occasion. It doesn't sound like it's the best choice for someone who is diabetic but there was no sugar whatsoever in the rest of the meal and the kids had something else for dessert so the son was fine. Let me assure you, it was worth every calorie! After dinner (and three bottles of wine) we introduced them to the Wii and the hilarity of Guitar Hero, Wii Ski and Wii Fit. It was a very nice evening, very suburban America.

I share this recipe with absolute confidence you will love it, too.

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake
Gourmet magazine, Dec 1999

1 crumb-crust recipe , made with finely ground gingersnap cookies
1 C sugar
3/4 C heavy cream
8 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1/2 C sour cream
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Remove from heat and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 55 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.

Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen and cool completely in springform pan on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Polka Dot Moon said...

Your backyard looks lovely!!! Okay and now I'm in need of cheesecake! Recipe looks fabulous and I simply must try :)

Kelly said...

Beautiful images - both your backyard (absolutely gorgeous) and the cheesecake (sounds delicious)