Cheesecake, Alsace Style

 

Alsace

In our overview we are told that this tall cake, with its yogurt cream filling and sturdy crust is typical of Alsace, France’s easternmost region.  It is remarkably light, and just a little rich and just a little sweet.  I was instantly curious how this cake was going to taste like a cheesecake when it had no cream cheese in it at all.  🙂

This was a fun one.  It had a little bit of mystery and a little bit of adventure, which always creates excitement.  We all have the Galette dough down by now, found the golden raisins and the thick Greek yogurt…but the alcohol got me.  I was all of a sudden on a quest to find dark rum or cognac….neither of which I have or know anything about.   I hated to buy a bottle of either when we needed only a tablespoon.  Checked in with a friend and she had spiced rum….hmmm is that the same as dark rum….no idea.  Ran down to Total Wine to check out their single serving sizes to see if they had dark rum…only spiced rum….again, is that the same thing??  No idea.  Had to ask.  Apparently, according to the employee, it is the same.  Anyway, I used spiced rum…and you know what….no one claimed to even taste any rum so I guess I didn’t need to worry so much haha!

This cheesecake was very easy and, I think, very grand looking.  It is a statement dessert. I am not a cheesecake fan so I was waiting on my tasters…who are all fans and were quite interested in tasting the greek yogurt version of cheesecake.  They all LOVED it…my husband tried it first and requested I not give away ALL of it…to save him one more piece.  You see, usually I set his aside and then send the rest away with my tried and true tasters. I had a feeling everyone was going to love it and they did!

Everyone had the same reactions:

  • The cheesecake is delicious! Has the cheesecake flavor but fluffier!!
  • The French cheesecake was fantastic! We really liked the light texture of the cake.
  • YUM!!!!  It is light, airy and yet total cheesecake flavor!!!  LOVED!!!

A side note….Some of you might be thinking…she bakes and gives it all away…why bake?  Through my 7 years of so baking and blogging with this group I have come to realize the short answer is, I just love it.  It is my creative outlet and my love language.  It has nothing to do with actually eating what I create.  It is about the success of the creation and sharing it with others. :).  Anyone else out there relate?

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Real Hot Chocolate

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“Real Hot Chocolate” is one of this month’s recipes and yes it is real!  It actually feels like you are drinking liquid chocolate.  I mean it is SO good, SO rich, and SO satisfying!!  This will fix that chocolate craving…for sure!

This recipe uses milk, water, a little sugar and chocolate…that is it!  It is so, so easy to make.  You simply melt it all together and then give it a whirl in the blender.  I think we all agreed that the last step of using the blender made it seem so luxurious, so rich…so expensive haha.  It did not seem like a hot chocolate drink I just threw together and yet that is exactly what I did.  It was the perfect accompaniment to our game of Catan.  Side note…anyone else hooked on that game? Our son home from college taught us how to play and wow, how fun!

This is a definitely a keeper and one I can definitely see myself making again!  BTW, the recipe says it serves 2 and we easily shared it between 3 people.  You don’t need that much to feel very satisfied.

Soft Salted-Butter Caramels

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The key word here is “SOFT”….I do not know what happened, other than I must have over cooked these,  but mine were not soft!  I did everything the recipe told us too.  Ugh!!  No problems whatsoever.  I even commented to myself that Dorie was so right in describing the mixture as “seething” when you add the cream and butter.  So imagine my surprise when I went to cut these and they were not soft…at all.  I was able to cut them with quite a bit of pressure but knew right away these didn’t turn out the way they were suppose to.  (I have since found out from other blogs, that a lot of people had the same problem!! 🙂

I almost threw them out but decided to try one anyway.  I thought, well maybe mine will be more like a caramel hard candy.  Much to my surprise, it softened pretty readily in my mouth and tasted fantastic!!  The salted caramel flavor was right on..just not the consistency.  The caramel reminded me of an old candy bar I loved when I was growing up.  Anyone remember the Marathon Bar???…chocolate covered caramel?  I loved those.  That caramel was a little hard, not quite gooey or sticky like some caramel. That is what these were like.

These really were a  failure given the name of the recipe, but it turned out everyone loved them haha!  It just goes to show you, don’t throw it out!!  Always taste the creation first because although it might not look right, the flavor might be perfect and you can salvage your efforts.

Cocoa Linzer Cookies

Linzer

In the overview, Dorie tells us that she hasn’t met a Linzer she didn’t like…and I say…I have never had a Linzer!  I know, right…how does this even happen?  I recognize the cookie!  I just haven’t had one,  probably because traditionally they have jam in them and I steer away and find something more chocolatey.  So here is the perfect opportunity…a chocolate linzer with the option to fill it with chocolate!  Win-Win!

I was pretty interested to see what these would taste like with the spice and chocolate combination that they had going on…pepper, allspice, cinnamon and clove, that is a lot.  I had no trouble making the dough or with the cutting out which can sometimes be a sticky mess. I had planned on using a plain circle but….I happened to be at Bed Bath and Beyond looking for something else and there it was…a Linzer cookie cutter. Who knew!??   Not me!  🙂  I don’t buy many gadgets to participate in this blog but this is one I just couldn’t resist…kind of like when I bought my Madeleine pan.  It just makes it all that much more fun.  I actually really liked the cookie cutter.  It had a mechanism that allowed you to push out the cut dough!  I wish all my cookie cutters had this feature.  It made it all so easy!

All in all, super easy.  I couldn’t wait to try them.  Perhaps I had high hopes with the chocolate and chocolate filling but I found these to be a little bland. Bummer!  I was lacking in the richness factor.  They were good, but not great.  My husband said he thought people who drink coffee or tea would probably love them.  They seemed more like that kind of biscuit cookie.  I am not a huge dessert eater but if I am going to have something I want it to be rich and this left me unfulfilled.  I may not make these again but I feel like I am going to find a use for my new linzer cookie cutter!!…that thing was awesome!! 🙂

Moka Dupont

Moka

The intro to our recipe lets us in on the behind the scenes story of how Dorie received this recipe from a friend, who had always requested this as a birthday cake.  She tells us it is a simple cake…”It was an icebox cake constructed of store-bought cookies, dunked in sweetened espresso and layered with quickly made butter cream.” We are told to properly make the cake, we should use The Brun cookies but that here in the states Petit Beurre cookies would be the ones we would find.

I set out ready to make this one and immediately had to make some accommodations.

  • I was the one on my phone in the grocery aisle trying to see if “Leibniz Biscuit au Beurre” were the same type of cookie…and thankfully it was a yes.
  • I used strong instant coffee instead of espresso to dunk the cookies
  • I omitted the raw egg…I know, I know most people use them and never have a problem but I just couldn’t do it.  I figured it would still taste good, maybe just not as fluffy or creamy.
  • I made one 2×3 cake and two 2 cookie cakes.  I figured that would make it easier for getting it to my tasters instead of cutting up the big one.

Everyone really liked this, a keeper for sure…and so easy!  It is rather rich, or actually very sweet,  which is something for me to say!  You don’t need a very big piece, it packs a big punch.  Maybe that would have been toned down a bit with the whipped egg whites and yolk mixed in.  I will be curious to see what other bakers thought of it.

What this dessert reminded of, was a treat I used to make my kids when they were little.  I would put frosting between graham crackers and make our own cookie sandwiches.  They were the best the next day as they became slightly softened from the frosting.  🙂

Brown Butter-Peach Tourte

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I figured this one would be a hit before I even baked it.  We have used this sweet tart dough quite a few times now and it doesn’t seem to matter what we put in it, everyone always loves it…and this time was no exception.

“Delicious”

“You hit a home run”

“One of my favorites of all the recipes you have baked”

and my personal favorite….

“this is really delicious BUT…” and I am thinking what ?? you just said it was delicious …but then my husband finished his sentence and says “BUT it would be AMAZING if you made it with apples!!!”

I have to agree with my husband.  I think I will try this sometime with apples and cinnamon….like an apple pie but a tart.  Instead of a homerun it might just be a grand slam!! 🙂

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Double-Corn Tea Cake

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This is how Dorie describes her recipe…

“The color of this plain looking cake is sunshine yellow; the crumb tight and fine; the texture almost melt in your mouth, with a surprisingly pleasant roughness on the tongue; and the taste bursting with the true flavor of sweet corn.”  

Sounds like summer in a loaf pan to me.  We are told this recipe uses “corn flour” not corn meal or masa harina and that it is easily found in supermarkets.  Well, last recipe I had no problem finding the lavender which I thought was going to be a problem and this corn flour proved to be a little more elusive that I had thought.  It took me 3 stores to find it…which is a good thing I finally found it because I think that third store was going to be my last haha.

I had high hopes for this one since I do love a good corn bread.  Even though this wasn’t suppose to be corn bread, I figured it would be similar.  The recipe came together easily and baked up golden.

I have to say my initial response was that I didn’t quite care for this cake.  I don’t know what it was about it but I was actually thinking I might not send it off to my tasters….but then I thought, well isn’t that what being a taster is all about??

I sent it off telling them I wasn’t sure what they would think of it…not quite corn bread, but corn bread….

I started getting reviews back and they were ALL very positive….they loved it.   Whoa, who knew?  It seemed like most of them still thought of it as corn bread…maybe a sweet corn bread, even saying it would taste great with chili or soup.  I don’t think that is what Dorie intended for this recipe…more of a tea and jam sort of cake but you know, it was a success nonetheless.

Their enjoyment of it had me go back and try it again.  This time it had cooled and sat for a while.  I don’t know if that changed the flavor and consistency, but surprisingly I liked it much better when I tried it the second time.  I could really taste the sweetness and liked the almost sugar crust.  I could see myself making these again, but I think as mini muffins rather than as a loaf.