Thursday 10 December 2009

Recipe Guinea Pigs...

My mom always told me that if you find a great recipe for a dinner party and want to serve it you MUST MUST MUST try it out on your nearest and dearest first.  Makes sense doesn't it? Well...I sorta did it the opposite way around yesterday! Not entirely opposite...but a slight variation on that rule perhaps?

A couple of weekends ago David's mum had a "Practice Christmas Lunch" dinner.  She totally outdid herself and made (I am not exaggerating) AN ENTIRE CHRISTMAS DINNER! I'm talking, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, brussel sprouts, roast potatoes, roast carrots and parsnips, braised cabbage, gravy, carrots cooked in some booze...and I am sure that I am forgetting something.  It was incredible! It was amazing! It was Christmas! And then for dessert she made christmas cake ice cream with a gingery cake on the side....DROOOOOOOOOOOOOL. 

All of that is what she is ACTUALLY going to serve on Christmas Day.  I mean, she REALLY tried out her recipes....ALL of them.  It was great! 

I am getting away from the main point a bit.  I have offered to make YET ANOTHER DESSERT (like we need anymore) for Christmas Day because not everybody likes Christmas Cake (unbelievable I know).  It took me a few days thinking and debating to decide on what to make.  Christmas lunch is a big deal...I mean after all the effort David's mum is putting in I can't just show up with a marble has to be special, it has to be something I wouldn't just throw together, it has to be something GOOOOOOOD...but not necessarily Christmassy at the same time for those who aren't keen on Christmas dessert flavours....and so....trolling though my recipes and books and the library and the internet I decided on something new for me. 

LEMON POPPYSEED CHEESECAKE! Everyone one likes cheesecake right? Well...other than those who can't have dairy....or gluten (or in this case seeds...) but other than those people EVERYONE LOVES CHEESECAKE! When I was visiting my family last month I had looted my mom's recipe books and scribbled down some yummy delights.  This particular cheesecake comes from a Donna Hay book, I can't remember which one off hand. If you have looked through or used Donna Hay books you'll know that it looked beautiful in the picture and the instructions were simple to follow (both major points in cookbook selection for me). 

Making it was simple enough...oh except the 1kg of cream cheese I needed! Here in the UK 200g is pretty much the largest package of cream cheese you can 5 of those went into my shopping basket.  "Looks like you are making a dessert" said the cashier....

And a dessert I did make my cashier friend!

So on Tuesday I mixed and baked and cooled (and cried over cracks) this lovely cheesecake in PRACTICE for Christmas.  The slight variation to the rule is that I also SERVED it to a couple of friends who came over for dinner last night....thereby making something NEW for a dinner party...

For a first attempt at a cheesecake I was pretty happy it turned out at all.  The cracks were inevitable.  I have since done research online and via my mother (who makes a KILLER chocolate cheesecake) and will try the basin of water in the oven trick next time.  I've also read that if you leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven it shouldn't crack, or if you cool it on the counter cover it with a large mixing bowl, and to makesure to release the springform sides after about 10 mins.  All these tips mean....MORE CHEESECAKES MUST BE MADE!

Confession time....David and I "tested" the cheesecake Tuesday night to ensure that it would be edible for our guests.  It had been in the fridge for about 4 hours, but in my opinion it hadn't really set yet.  By last night, however, after 12 hours in the fridge it was firm and creamy...totally cheesecakey.  In the end the only thing I was unsure of was the addition of poppyseeds.  I know that is what makes this cheesecake unique but they made the texture a bit grainy.  I have to think hard about whether they will make the cut for Christmas or if I will be making a plain lemon cheesecake piled high with fruit.   Suggestions?? 

Regardless there is about half a cheesecake hanging out in my lots of opportunity to debate the texture issue over the next few days!

1 comment:

  1. mmmmm....looks delicious!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE cheesecake and so while my baking skills generally leave much to be desired, I have made quite a few cheesecakes in my day! I have tried EVERYTHING (water bath, leaving it in the oven etc...) and NONE of them have worked... some do cause LESS cracks but I have never been able to get rid of them all together. In any case you already said what I was going to suggest, pile high with fruit!! That's what I do :) Hide cracks with fruit AND it looks gorgeous!
    mmmm, now I want to make a cheesecake, I'll have to come up with a reason!