The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
Oh cheesecake, how I adore you! I love your versatility, your softness, the crunch of your sweet crust, the comfort you offer without reserve, your stunning good looks, your - hey wait a second, maybe I should have married a cheesecake instead. No that's just stupid - or is it... no it's stupid.
So the Daring Bakers have been around for a while, but they've just put together their own website called, The Daring Kitchen that is fabulous and you should check out. Someone in the group chooses a recipe for the monthly challenge, which the members make, put their own spin on it then present it on reveal day. Up until then, the topic is kept secret (except for those involved). This is my first challenge - and I couldn't be happier.
I love cheesecake - in case you missed it - but the Husband does not. When we were first dating and it came time for his birthday, I decided to surprise him with a cheesecake birthday cake. I did a vanilla cheesecake with chocolate swirls and swirled his name into the top of the cake. I was quite proud of the results. In those days, I didn't have a stand mixer, but a trusty Braun stick mixer. I burned out the motor creaming the cheese and sugar, but it was worth it - the results were lovely. Doug was touched and said he loved it, even ate a piece, then declared it was delicious - for cheesecake. I deflated instantly - I had wanted everything to be perfect for him, and I had made him the only dessert (except for anything lemon) that he hates. Ah, young love, so fragile. But then I quickly recovered, realizing that now I had the whole cake to myself. BOO YAH! Little Jenny Foo Foo scores a big one. Life was good again. Needless to say, I don't get to make cheesecake at home for my consumption very often, so I was so grateful to Jenny for her choice.
I didn't change anything about the recipe except for not doing a crust for them because I wanted to add that later to play around with some different bases. I love different sauces with cheesecake so I played with that too.
I used my silicone pans to make individual cheesecakes, so I could freeze them, and not eat them in one sitting - or so the planning goes anyway.
So here they are.
How about frozen cheesecake sandwiches. It's all about the crunch with this one. I used a raspberry, white chocolate cookie and painted the chocolate/raspberry vodka ganache on with a pastry brush. You could also do a pool of ganache for dipping...just sayin'.
Just in time for spring, a rhubarb/Grand Marnier compote with fresh strawberries. This was definitely my favourite, but not as pretty to look at.
Last but not least, the ganache topped, a chocolate biscotto on the side. A wonderful mix of textures that I had to add a bit of colour in the strawberry on top.
This was a fun challenge that could literally go on forever with the changes and permutations of the adornments, not to mention the cheesecake itself. I would make this again and who knows what I would do to it with all the summer fruit ahead of us - ginger and lemon, lavender, praline, peaches - oh my god peaches - , raspberries, ...