Very berry strawberry Cheesecake

April 23, 2011 at 9:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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It’s been awhile I know.  I always have the intention of writing a blog post but the days become clouded with curious children exploring their way through every nook of the house, finding treasures and creating messes.  Thus, the nights become a manic cleaning frenzy ending with the floors gleaming simply to await the return of sticky fingers and applesauce paintings sprinkled with flour.

Right now everything seems hard.  I am tired.  Too tired to even give a detailed explanation of how I feel.  At twenty-five-years old I am drained.

I know this is unfair to say this but sometimes I feel like I am a single mother.  It’s a ridiculous comparison, I realize this.  But, with my husbands work schedule (sometimes working 6 days a week, sometimes working nights, sometimes working days) and no family or close friends that I can depend on the loneliness and work is overwhelming.  I don’t know what more to say.  I can’t even express my feelings and I’m not sure why.  Am I unsure? Am I trying to repress?  Am I scared?

Delving into the abyss that is my inner-most self is frightening so all I can do is focus on the positive and face that monster when I feel it’s ready to be tamed. Not now. Sometime soon.

So, I focus on the good, the blessings, the fortune: beaming at the thought of my children playing together and getting to experience the narrative that there lives will weave; laughing at the silliness of my husband and his unintentional thoughtfulness but smiling at the comfort and assurance of his forever love.

My family is the foundation of my life and their love is rooted in my heart.

In fact, my husband brought me some happiness the other day by getting my first baking job.  A co-worker of his asked if I sold my baking (which I never really thought about or tried to pursue) and he forwarded her my email.

The guidelines were simple: a strawberry cheesecake that will feed four people and this is what I came up with.

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Strawberry Cheesecake with strawberry lava layer (adapted from Bon Appetite)

yield: Serves 12

Begin preparing this a day before serving.
Ingredients 
For crust
  • 20 whole graham cracker (10 ounces total), broken
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
For lava layer
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

For filling

  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
For topping
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping

  • 2 16-ounce baskets strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 1 18-ounce jar raspberry jelly

Method

Make crust:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Wrap foil around outside of 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Combine graham crackers, butter and sugar in processor. Using on/off turns, blend until crumbs begin to stick together. Press crumbs onto bottom and 2 3/4 inches up sides of springform pan. Bake crust 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.

Make lava layer:

In a small saucepan, combine strawberries and sugar set pan over medium heat. Stir strawberries and when they soften mash.  Cook until reduced by half.  Remove from stovetop and cool to room temperature.

Make filling:

Beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt in large bowl until very smooth. Beat in flour. Add eggs and beat just until blended, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.

Spoon a layer of batter on top of the crust.  Then pour strawberry filling over top gently spreading it to the sides of the pan.  Pour in the rest of the batter.

Bake cheesecake until outer 2-inch edge of cake os puffed and slightly cracked, center is just set and top is brown in spots, about 55 minutes. Transfer cake to rack. Cool 10 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Make topping:
Whisk sour cream, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl to blend.

Spoon topping over cake, spreading to edge of pan. Bake until topping is just set, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Run knife between crust and pan.

Cool hot cake in pan on rack, Chill overnight.

Release pan sides from cheesecake.

Arrange slices of berries in staring from the outside, strawberry points facing out.  Continue to place strawberries in a circular patter and cover completely.

Stir jelly in heavy small saucepan over medium-=low heat until melted.Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

Brush enough jelly over berries to glaze generously, allowing some to drip between berries.

*This post has been entered in Sweet as Sugar*

The bird’s are twittering the scone of spring… er, song of spring.

March 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Spring is officially here. I think that spring is probably my second favourite season. The coming of spring means the start of nice weather, which makes me smile.

This year, though, spring has come too soon. Well, not spring but my birthday. Yes, my birthday is near and I am dreading it. I really don’t want to add another number to my age.

I know that most people probably think that I am overreacting about my age but they just don’t understand. The fact that I don’t have a career by now is troubling to me, which probably has to do with the fact that I have a type A personality (my husband likes to say that I am type A plus plus personality).

If you happen to come across my grade one diary you would find it filled with entries about how well I did on tests and my dreams about going to university. What kind of ridiculous six-year-old writes about that stuff? Probably a child who is type A.

When I got to university I was determined to finish early so I could establish a career sooner. Not only would I take summer classes but I had an over-limit course load in which I needed to get the dean’s approval for (seven courses for one semester).

I would probably still be in school working on my second degree but my husband got this amazing job. While I am so grateful for the career opportunities that he gets, I can’t help but feel unaccomplished. I know, however, that one day I will be able to establish my own successful career.

For now, I am just trying to be the best stay-at-home mother/wife I can be. And, since spring always reminds me of scones (I have no idea why) I whipped up a batch.

These scones are a bit more moist than most scones I have tried albeit I have never had a homemade scone. While they are moist, I think they still maintain the integrity of what makes a scone a scone.

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Cranberry Oat Scones
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup rolled-oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together sour cream and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blended (or two forks) cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in rolled oats and cranberries. Then, stir in the sour cream a little bit at a time. The dough will start to come together.

On a clean surface, flip out the dough. Knead together the dough so that it fully comes together.

Once all the dough has become one big piece, lightly flour the countertop. For dough into a ball and then roll out into a disc that is about 7 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.

Cut into eight equal pieces.

Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

In a small cup beat together the egg and milk. Using a pastry brush, brush the scones with the egg wash (two coats per scone).

Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until scones are brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a scone.

Serve warm or at room temperature with butter, jam, clotted cream or by itself.

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