24 June 2008

Taste & Create: Red Plum and Kiwi Cheesecake

For this month's Taste & Create I was paired with Min of Bad Girl's Kitchen. I must admit that I was a little anxious about the pairing at first. Min and I clearly have very different cooking styles, but I think that's the whole point of T&C! She made my Mushroom Stroganoff right off the bat, and I giggled at the need to have a meat dish alongside it, but I'm glad that's what she picked because it's one of my favourite recipes. I also laughed at replacing margarine with butter, since everyone thinks it's crazy that until a couple of months ago I had never actually purchased a stick of butter.

But then I started feeling guilty - would I be able to finish in time? The problem was that when the pairings came in, I had a friend visiting from out of state and was in the middle of a huge flood. I wasn't sure if I would be able to access the other side of the city (i.e, the grocery store) and even if I could, I didn't want to be one of the assholes ignoring the "no non-essential traffic" warning. So I pored over Min's recipes and found a few possibilities - I thought about macaroni using penne, or granola, maybe. I bookmarked several recipes for later, because she's really got some good ones, but then I found... cheesecake!

I've been craving cheesecake for a while, and this looked mighty tasty. I even had a jar of (light, haha) cherry pie filling on hand! What I did not have was four tubs of cream cheese. I am a cream cheese-eater, so I had one full 12-ounce container and one with just a little bit left (maybe 14 ounces total). I cringed a little at the instruction not to get low-fat, but I couldn't help it. At least mine were 1/3 less fat, not fat free, and they were Philadelphia brand. I also only had cinnamon graham crackers. Oh, well.

The thing is, I had been planning to do a plum tart, but I only had three plums. I didn't really want to make two desserts in one week, either, for little old me. Then I got an idea - plum cheesecake! I halved the recipe and got out my 6" springform, which would accommodate the lack of cream cheese and be a much better size for little old me (most of my cakes sadly go bad or stale before I can finish them, even in the fridge). I ended up doing the normal amount of crust, and I did use real butter! On top of the crust I put a layer of sliced red plums, and then poured the filling (easy as pie... I mean...) on top of that. It was really quite beautiful.

Though I hated heating up my apartment, the cheesecake turned out wonderfully. I didn't think to reduce the cooking time for the pan size, but it ended up working out all right. It was fully set (cheesecakes normally should jiggle a bit in the centre) when it left the oven, but that didn't affect the taste at all. The plums made a lovely pink layer on bottom, and then I sliced some kiwis for the top to go with the fresh fruit theme (pie filling, you'll have to wait for a pie I'm afraid). This is a very rich, dense cheesecake, so I'm having trouble finishing it despite the size, but it's so tasty! Even the cinnamon crust is kind of interesting (though an odd combination with the kiwis). Thanks, Min! It's been fun cooking with you.


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Min said...

Your cheesecake did turn out wonderfully! It is beautiful! Braving floods and house guests...I'm proud of you for using butter too. I can't wait to hear which one of my recipes you make next =)

(and I did love your mushroom stroganoff too!)

Holler said...

Your cheesecake looks gorgeous Judith. You are indeed a resourceful girl!