Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Cheesecake


Cheesecake is always popular around here and I recently got a large container of blueberries.  When I asked what I should do with them, Son’s girlfriend suggested blueberry cheesecake and since she was about to graduate and planned on celebrating at an Italian restaurant it seemed like a great idea for an at home dessert after the meal.  Of course Son (who loves cheesecake but not so much blueberries) forgot to take or mention it so it didn’t make it to the celebration.  I have no doubt it will be eaten anyway!  I recently used this same basic recipe for an Oreo version requested for a birthday and found it is an excellent one, a little lighter texture than my usual favorite (which uses 2 2/1 pounds of cream cheese and no sour cream).
Printable Version Blueberry Cheesecake
Ingredients:
Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground cookie crumbs (I used the white chocolate peanut butter ones)
2 tbs butter (because these cookies were very moist I didn’t add the extra butter to keep the crust from being soggy, but if you use a dry cookie you should)
9 or 10 inch springform pan
Filling:
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup flour
8 oz sour cream
Topping:
1 lb (about 4 cups) fresh blueberries (frozen or canned works too – if you use canned in syrup, don’t add sugar)
1/2 cup sugar (I like them to stay a little tart so if you want sweet add 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon butter
grated zest from one lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
Procedure:

Cookies in the food processor


Place the cookies in a food processor and grind them finely.

Ground cookie crumbs in the pan


If the crumbs will not stick together between your fingers, add small amounts of melted butter until you can just flatten them together.  Place on the bottom of a springform pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Filling:

Cream Cheese


Beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy, add sugar gradually and keep beating until it is mixed in completely.

Add eggs


Add the eggs one at a time blending well after each egg.

Add vanilla, salt and flour


Add the vanilla, salt and flour and mix until smooth, scraping down the bowl to incorporate all ingredients.

Sour cream


Add the sour cream and mix well.


Pour into prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  When the time is up slightly open the door and let the cake stay for an extra hour without disturbing – no peeking you want it to cool slowly to prevent cracks, although in this case the blueberry topping will cover any that might happen.  After an hour, cover with plastic wrap – not touching the top but over the pan and refrigerate at least overnight.
Topping:

Ingredients for fresh blueberry sauce
Blueberries in the pan

Wash the berries and place in a medium saucepan.  Add the remaining ingredients.

Blueberry popping

Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer to thicken to the consistency you prefer.  A little less time and you will still have some whole blueberries, a little more and a thicker sauce.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and refrigerate, covered until ready to serve.
For serving you can either cover the top of the cheesecake, or serve the blueberries on the side, topping each slice separately.

Blueberry Cheesecake

A quinceanera, another birthday and Peanut Butter Cup Cake and Cupcakes

A quinceanera, another birthday and Peanut Butter Cup Cake and Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cup filled Chocolate Cake and Cupcakes


More birthdays, they just keep coming (not mine this time).  I’ve just returned from my niece’s quinceanera, which was beautiful as was she!  There was a lovely ceremony held on the beach then a great reception.  Her aunt made the cakes and decorations and there were amazingly beautiful flowers and scenery so I took lots of pictures.

Cake Table


Pier at sunset


Sunset over the water


And now for the food:  a friend’s daughter recently had a birthday so I made this arrangement with a small cake, cupcakes and mini-cupcakes with peanut butter cup filling and peanut butter buttercream icing using The Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing recipe.  I’ve tested this recipe before and it is a great one but this time I added the peanut butter cup filling rolled into balls and placed in the batter which made them even better.
The filling recipe is:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 6 teaspoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a microwave safe bowl, warm the butter and peanut butter for about 30 seconds and mix until it is smooth and slightly melted.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until it is thick enough to roll.  You may need slightly more or less sugar.  Roll the mixture into small, medium and larger balls for the mini-cupcakes, cupcakes and cake.  I made a single batch which made a small 6 inch cake and a dozen regular and a dozen mini-cupcakes.

Birthday Peanut Butter Cake and Cupcakes


Just place the balls in a ring around the bottom of the cake, and one in each cupcake and pour the batter over them and bake according to the directions in the recipe piping with the peanut butter icing when they are cool.  I added some flower candies or if you had them you could use a mini peanut butter cup.

 

Daring Baker’s Challenge:  BISCUIT JOCONDE IMPRIME/ENTREMET (aka fancy sponge cake wrapped dessert)

Daring Baker’s Challenge: BISCUIT JOCONDE IMPRIME/ENTREMET (aka fancy sponge cake wrapped dessert)

 

Chocolate and Orange Pastry Cream with Lime Curd

Chocolate and Peanut Butter

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.  I chose to make two different ones, one with chocolate and peanut butter pastry cream and one with chocolate and orange pastry cream with a lime curd top.  Overall they were tasty, quite a bit of work and a huge mess in the kitchen (sorry Husband who graciously cleans up) but I would like to make them again and try some different fillings.  I think I would be able to do it a little faster and more efficiently the next time, although probably not with any less mess – I do know my limits.  Thanks for a great challenge!

I followed the recipe provided by Asteroshe for both:

Joconde Sponge

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

Ingredients:
¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal – *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners’ (icing) sugar
¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
3 large eggs – about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites – about 3 oz/ 90g
2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

*Note: How to make cake flour: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/

Directions:

  1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
  2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
  3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
  4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
  5. Fold in melted butter.
  6. Reserve batter to be used later.

But based on other’s suggestions, I halved the recipe for the:

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

Ingredients
14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g
1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
  2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
  3. Fold in sifted flour.
  4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

  1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
  2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.
  3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
  1. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
  2. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
  3. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper.
  4. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

She also provided a great list of helpful sites:

http://lesotlylaisse.over-blog.com/article-realiser-un-biscuit-joconde-i…

http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/recipe/joconde-cakes

http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/recipe/pate-a-cigarette-batter-choc…

http://ricettedafairyskull.myblog.it/archive/2010/05/29/biscuit-joconde-…

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2004/02/pierre_hermes_aztec_ent…

http://sum.ptuo.us/roller/ks/entry/entrement_project_at_nwcav

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca4eLDok-4Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e1DsyDtcd0&feature=related

As I didn’t have either almond flour or cake flour on hand, I made my own.  I used the Joy of Baking recipe for the cake flour and for the almond flour I put about 1 cup of almonds in the food processor, pulsed until fine, sifted and repulsed the rest until it was all ground finely and sifted into a bowl.  It was pretty simple and worked out well.

ready to bake

First I made the sponge wrapper, mixing the paste first.  I think mine was too thick as it was more like a dough than a paste, but it worked out ok and was actually pretty easy to decorate with.  It was a little more crunchy than the sponge after it was baked but it still tasted good.

 

Baked sponge

I used the left over paste (dough) to make two circles to use as a base.

Bases

I measured, sliced and filled two springform pans without any difficulty, except as I so think it may have been a little thicker than it was supposed to be and next time I would do a thinner layer.

 

Layering the sponge

Next came the filings:

 

Husband wanted chocolate (of course) and peanut butter so the first one was easy but I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the fillings because there are just so many options.  I ended up with a chocolate base, chocolate pastry cream, orange pastry cream and lime curd filling for the second one.

For this challenge, I did the real thing and used a basic pastry cream recipe with the chocolate and orange variations I found at about.com.  I modified the basic recipe by adding 1/4 cup peanut butter at the end for the peanut butter layer.  However, a great tip for a really quick and great substitute is to use instant pudding (whatever flavor you want) with heavy whipping cream instead of milk it has a wonderful texture and takes minutes to prepare.  I do it all the time using the vanilla with peanut butter, the chocolate and coconut cream as it makes a great pie too!  For the lime curd again I used a basic lemon curd recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, substituting lime for the lemon.   It was a little soft for this use though, so next time I will increase the corn starch to 2 1/2 teaspoons.

After I finished all they various fillings, I layered them and refrigerated overnight to set.

 

Chocolate & Peanut Butter and Chocolate, Orange and Lime

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter and Apple Slice Cheesecake

Peanut Butter and Apple Slice Cheesecake

Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake

As we all know, cheesecake is a favorite at our house and going with the fall theme and because I had a bunch of apples and cream cheese to use, I created this version is in honor of son-who-loves-cheesecake who will be here for Thanksgiving.  Also, cheesecake freezes really well so I’m trying to do things ahead so I can enjoy the visit from kids and the rest of the family.

Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake Slice

    Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Servings: 16
  • 2 cup(s) of peanut butter sandwich cookies
  • 18 ounce(s) of cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup(s) of peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp. of all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup(s) of heavy cream
  • 2 cup(s) of applesauce
  • 2 cup(s) of peeled, cored and sliced apples
  • 2 tsp. of cinnamon
Steps
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In food processor, pulse the cookies until finely ground then add 2 oz of cream cheese and mix. Pat into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes
  2. In food processor, or a mixing bowl, process remaining cream cheese with brown sugar until light and fluffy, add peanut butter, mix, then add flour and mix until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, then the cream mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared crust.
  3. Drop the applesauce by spoonfuls and gently swirl through the batter but not mixing them completely together.

    Batter with applesauce mixed in

  4. Gently layer the sliced apples decoratively on top of the batter, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar and cinnamon.

    Apples on top

    Apples topped and ready to bake

  5. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 250 and bake for about 50-60 minutes longer until the center is set but still has just a little jiggle to it. Turn the oven off, leaving the cheesecake in the oven letting it cool slowly to prevent cracks. When the oven has cooled remove and refrigerate until serving.

Slice of Apple Peanut Butter Cheesecake

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

As you may have noticed a theme going on here, Son has several favorites, white chocolate, peanut butter and cheesecake so in continuing with the summer break foods, this time it was White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies with white chocolate chips.  If you’ve never tried it, this white chocolate peanut butter is unbelievably good.  You can’t find it everywhere, but it is worth looking for.  Their website has it and I’ve only found it at Smith’s markets here.  They have 10 different flavors including chocolate, maple, cinnamon and honey any of them could be substituted.

Peanut Butter & Company White Chocolate Wonderful

Printable Version White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

2  ½        cups         flour

1/2         tsp          baking soda

½           tsp          baking powder

1/2       tsp          table salt

½         lb            butter (2 sticks), salted

2          cups        packed dark brown sugar

1            cup         white chocolate peanut butter (you can use regular or one of the other flavors)

2                         egg

2           tsp         vanilla extract

6           oz          white chocolate chips (6 oz of chips equals one cup)

1.            Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.            Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.

3             Mix butter until creamy, then add brown sugar beating until fluffy.  Add peanut butter  and mix, then add the eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix, finally adding the chips.

4.            Using an ice cream scoop (or spoon if you don’t have one or want smaller cookies) scoop the dough into a cookie sheet, flattening with a fork to make the cross marks.

5.            Bake for about 10 minutes rotating the cookie sheets after 5.