Monday, January 18, 2010
an extra special birthday cake
We pulled out the bubbly on Saturday night... a momentous birthday celebration in honour of my friend Céline. Her daughter, the wonderful and talented chef, prepared a spicy green curry and a flavourful beef curry. Her son dressed up the rice by cooking it with coconut milk and kaffir leaves... and I brought along a treat or two.
I wanted two things: to stick with Thai flavours and keep the dessert as light as possible. I lucked out when I found the following cheesecake recipe... all thanks to my Party Cakes cookbook. I haven't pulled it out in a while (actually not since August when I baked a different birthday cake), but I really do have to remember to use this book more often... Mich Turner created some beautiful recipes that seem to just hit the right note (or taste buds).
One thing I did change when putting this together: I increased the graham cracker base (butter and graham cracker crumbs are doubled in the recipe that follows), and made 2 cakes rather than the 1 that the recipe calls for. I ended up with a cream cheese topping that wasn't as thick as a regular cheesecake... but I prefered the cream cheese to graham base ratio - more 50/50 rather than the 75/25 you would normally get.
Another bonus about this cake... no baking required. You just need to plan ahead (this isn't a last minute dessert) since this cake needs to set overnight. Other than that, this is easy as pie... or I should say... easy as cheesecake!
Mango & Ginger Cheesecake
2/3 c. butter
4 c. crushed graham crackers
12 oz. cream cheese (1.5 packages), at room temperature
2/3 c. white sugar
2 drops vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
7 oz fresh mango (1 large mango, peeled and pitted)
1/4 c. preserved ginger (in syrup), chopped
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the crushed graham crackers, mixing well. Divide the mixture in half between two 8 inch round pans (springform or tin) press well into the base and refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.
Using your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy; start at a lower speed, increasing the speed as the mixture beats so that it becomes fluffier.
Add the cream to the mixture and beat everything until stiff and smooth (about 3 minutes) - you don't want to over beat, otherwise the mixture will separate.
Meanwhile, peel and pit your mango; then process the pieces in your blender until you get a thick purée (add a little water if you need to help the blender along).
I honestly grabbed a handful of conserved ginger... so my estimation of 1/4 c. is really just that, an estimate. So grab some ginger and finely chop it.
Stir the mango puree (half or all, depending on how much mango flavour you like) and the chopped ginger into the cream cheese and cream mixture.
Pour the batter on top of the graham cracker bases, spread the top evenly and refrigerate overnight.
When you're ready to serve, remove from the springform pan (or cut them out of the tin pans) and place on a pretty plate.
A perfectly light cheesecake that isn't too sweet or rich... It hits the spot and made all of us around the table very happy.
Bonne fête Céline! mouah!