Tag Archives: cheesecake

Mini Espresso Cheesecake Bites

Though my internal clock adjusts to nocturnal mode for the weekends, weekdays are a very different story. When I’m not doing something extremely exciting (like checking my blog stats), I tend to fall asleep on the couch at 9:30, wake up and move to my bed at 10:30, then tell people that’s the time I actually went to sleep to avoid being shunned as a complete loserpants.

Last night, however, I would be damned if I missed the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. In an effort to stay awake for 2 hours and 20 minutes of sadistic bliss, I made up a very espresso-filled recipe that I hoped would keep me from drooling on my neighbor in the theater. Mission accomplished, I’m 70% certain.

The movie was amazing. I didn’t even need the espresso to stay awake, because I spent most of the time actively ogling the male tributes. The film was not 100% true to the book, but I could let the details go for the sake of not sitting through a seven hour movie. And not eating the entire batch of these by myself.

Making these little babies is very simple. The trick is to make extra filling so that when you bring them to whatever gathering you’re going to, it doesn’t look like you’ve eaten half of what you made. Your secret is safe with me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package mini phyllo shells (found in the freezer section – comes with 15 shells)
  • 1/3 c mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 c cream cheese
  • 3 Tbsp espresso powder, dissolved in 3 Tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh raspberries
Directions:
Mix cheeses together until smooth. Add espresso and vanilla, mix well. Stir in powdered sugar and salt. Pipe filling into phyllo shells. Garnish with raspberries (don’t leave these out – they add a lot of complexity to the flavor).

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your flavor.

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Sneak Peek: Mini Espresso Cheesecake Bites

Tonight, I am going to a midnight showing of the Hunger Games.  Generally, I behave in a grandmotherly fashion and go to bed at 10pm on weekdays, since I obviously need to conserve my precious energy for weekend boy scouting. This, however is a special occasion.

So since it will be late and the it is the Hunger Games, after all, I decided to make an espresso flavored treat to help my fellow tributes and I stay awake past our bedtimes. I think this proves that I am Peeta’s real soul mate. We can bake together and it will be beautiful.

As long as I don’t kill him in the games first.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

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Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake with Sweet Balsamic Drizzle

At the risk of causing an insurgent uprising here at RFTL, I am going to make a confession: I am just not that into cheesecake. I ask that you please postpone setting your vehicle ablaze and fashioning war paint from eyeliner until after I explain myself.

Cheesecake is pretty nice and creamy, but I feel the same toward boring desserts as I do toward boring people. Both lack depth and have a slim-to-none chance of getting anywhere near my mouth.

But this cheesecake is so very different. It dances with surprising and delightful flavor combinations. This is the cheesecake you bring home to mom.

The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my all-time favorite desserts: Ellie Krieger’s Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream. Ellie Krieger is a goddess of healthful and delicious food. So I thought to myself… how can I make this recipe more fattening? Turn it into a cheesecake.

The base recipe that I used is Giada’s Honey Ricotta Cheesecake. I like how she takes credit for the recipe that was clearly written by someone else, as that woman has never held down a bite of cheesecake in her life.

I made my own strawberry concoction to swirl in, as well as a balsamic drizzle that I macerated some of the strawberries in. The swirling is a particularly amusing part of the cheesecake process. You start with a cake that looks infected with leprosy and end with a design worthy of gracing a shower curtain. At least.

And now I shall put you out of your misery, and give you the recipe for what I believe might be the only cheesecake worth making.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 8 oz biscotti
  • 3/4 stick melted butter 

Filling

  • 1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange blossom or clover honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 large eggs

Strawberry Swirl

  • 1 package fresh strawberries
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1/4 c sugar

Balsamic Drizzle

  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • Fresh basil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the biscotti in afood processor. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the honey and orange zest. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.

To make the strawberry swirl, remove the stems of the strawberries and puree them. Add orange juice and sugar and simmer over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Spoon the strawberry mixture on top and swirl with a toothpick. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).

To make the drizzle, heat the vinegar and sugar over medium-low until mixture thickens slightly. Soak some sliced strawberries in this for topping.

Transfer the cake to a rack and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Garnish with fresh basil, strawberries, and drizzle. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.

And in case you were wondering… this particular slice was eaten. Partially by my dog. That should teach me to conduct photo shoots on the floor.

That was delicious! …now I want more.

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