Tuesday, August 10, 2010
It is the night before Ramadhan and Muslims around the world will begin fasting tomorrow. During this month I hope to cook and bake local Malaysian favorites and desserts. Let's see how that will turn out.
Meanwhile, the weekend passed by with this cheesecake.
After taking the first bite of something dulce de leche for the first time ever, I stopped for a minute to ponder what other delicious things in life am I missing. The Argentines definitely have the right minds (and taste buds). Dulce de leche brownies, ice creams and cakes, I bookmarked them all.
The chocolate glaze would balance the sweetness of the caramel so if you are like me and love your chocolate dark, unsweetened chocolate would be just fine. Do cook the caramel to a thick consistency and dark color, the taste of dulce de leche will keep its promise and come through in the cake.
While some of the negative comments from the original Gourmet recipe intimidated me somewhat, the result was not bad. As you may have noticed my cake squares are really... rectangles. I've cut one direction into six instead of eight. 1-inch squares are just too small for us. Vijay went through nine pieces at the first go. All that effort cutting and cleaning out the knife and putting them into those paper cups!
I would reduce the butter for the crust and possibly increase the amount of glaze. Like one of the reviewers, the glaze layer on my cake separated during the cutting process. This can be fixed by avoiding a crust while baking the cheesecake. I would raise the water level of the water bath and see if this would work next time.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Adapted barely from Deb Perelman's Smitten Kitchen.
Makes 64 (1-inch) cheesecake squares
I used ginger snaps because the stores I frequent ran out of graham crackers. All the better for the crust but I would reduce the butter next time. David Lebovitz provides the oven method to prepare dulce de leche but remember to adjust the salt in the cheesecake recipe if the caramel is salted.
- 3 1/2 oz graham crackers, crumbled (1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope, will be just about half an envelope)
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dulce de leche (12 1/2 oz) (recipe follows)
- 3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Make crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil (crisscrossed), leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
Finely grind crackers with sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. With motor running, add butter, blending until combined. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.
Make filling: Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes, then stir in dulce de leche gently but thoroughly. Pour filling over crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath (I was able to fit mine in a 9×13-inch baking pan) in oven until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.
Glaze cake within 2 hours of serving: Heat all glaze ingredients in a double boiler or a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, then pour over cheesecake, tilting baking pan to coat top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.
Lift cheesecake from pan using foil overhang and cut into 1-inch squares with a thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut. (Don’t skip this step! A clean knife is essential for uber-neat squares.)
Note: Cheesecake (without glaze) can be chilled up to 3 days.
Dulce de Leche (Milk Caramel)
Pour one can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored.
Remove from heat. Whisk until smooth.
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