Maryland's Chesapeake, which took nearly a year to research and write, hasn't yet found an audience. The recent election has me facing the five stages of grief; I fear I will be stuck in the fourth stage - depression - for most of the next few years. Friends and family have let me down. Christmas is right around the corner, and as a childless adult, I wonder why I bother celebrating it at all.
Despite all the shit, life goes on. It must. I cannot allow myself to wallow. After all, there is cheesecake to eat!
The cheesecake in question is itself the result of another recent disappointment. I had tried to recreate Starbucks' Cranberry Bliss Bars at home. They seemed like underbaked blondies with cream cheese frosting and dried cranberries - how difficult could they be? As with many things in life, more difficult than anticipated.
Once the bars were cooked and cooled, I topped them with some of the frosting and a sprinkle of cranberries. And then I did a taste test.
They were diabetes in bar form.
The cookies were too sweet, the white chocolate chips were completely unnecessary, and the frosting make them even sweeter. They were a disaster. Disgusted, I scraped the frosting off the bars and into a container with the extra frosting (there was quite a bit left over) and put it in the fridge. The scraped bars were still too sweet, but we managed to finish them off. But lesson learned: never again will I put white chocolate chips into an already sugar-laden bar cookie (unless I am making these).
I wasn't in the mood/didn't have time to make a cake for the cream cheese frosting, which languished in the fridge for an entire week, unloved and getting in the way. However, I did realize that it was just a couple ingredients away from a cheesecake batter. So the following weekend I pulled it out of the fridge, whisked in eggs, more vanilla, a bit of lemon, and some milk. We had blueberries, so I tossed in a handful of those as well. While it was in the oven, I made a little blueberry sauce for the top.
Damn if they weren't just fine. More custardy than cheesy, which is the way I prefer my cheesecake, they were surprisingly not too sweet, considering the source material.
I guess you want a recipe. It's kinda hard to give one, but cheesecake is one of those baked goods that isn't an absolute science, so just make it work, like I did.
I used three 4-inch springform pans and the maximum amount of crust materials. If you want thinner cheesecakes, or just like round numbers, use four pans.
1 to 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 to 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups homemade cream cheese frosting
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine the crumbs and butter in a bowl until crumbs are well-coated. Press firmly into three or four 4-inch mini springform pans so they cover the bottom and go up the sides a bit. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.
Put the frosting in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, lemon, a pinch of salt, and enough milk to make a pancake-batter consistency. Toss in a handful of blueberries, if you're so inclined, but they're not absolutely necessary. Spoon batter into pre-baked crusts and bake until puffed and set (they may jiggle a wee bit in the centers, but shouldn't be wet), 30-35 minutes.
Cool cheesecakes on a rack. After about 15 minutes, use a sharp knife to loosen them from the sides of the pan, then gently remove the pan sides.
While cheesecakes are cooling, make the topping. Add a couple handfuls of blueberries to a saucepan with about 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Add a pinch of salt and some lemon and/or cinnamon, if desired. Cook over medium heat until thickened, 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool before spooning over cooled cheesecakes.
Posted on Minxeats.com.