But every now and then it's fun to work outside of your comfort zone, so I decided to just go for it and make a cheesecake. I didn't know about the tragic and sudden death of food blogger Jennifer Perillo's husband, Mikey, when I was baking this last Sunday afternoon, and so I was too late to join in with other bloggers in making her husband's favorite peanut butter pie for a loved one, as she asked people to do in her post. But the spirit of her request was that we don't put off doing that special thing for the person we love, and I would like to think I'll remember that from now on. And when I inevitably forget that resolution and take Poppa Trix for granted, I hope a cheesecake (or pizza) will always make it better.
Foodiva, after all. For that, I followed Dorie Greenspan's recipe, as interpreted on Simply Recipes, and if you're looking for the perfect cheesecake recipe I suggest you do the same. It yielded a smooth, light, luscious custard that amazingly did not crack, not even a little.
My first idea was to play with the flavors in an Indian rice pudding, or kheer, only without the raisins, as Poppa detests them. Some mental tasting led to this: a custard delicately scented with saffron and cardamom, topped with a layer of rosewater mascarpone topping. Perfection.
To make it, follow the Simply Recipes method, with the following changes:
- Add 1/4 tsp Saigon cinnamon to the graham cracker crust
- Add 1 heaping teaspoon cardamom and 1 teaspoon of saffron (that's been soaked in a teaspoon of hot water) to the custard
- Instead of sour cream for the topping, use half the amount of mascarpone, and only enough powdered sugar to give a slight sweetness. Whip the topping, don't just stir it, and add 1/2 teaspoon of rosewater. I added one drop of red food coloring to give it the pink blush.
- Top the cheesecake with crushed pecans.
Just as failed experiments ruin my day, successes put me in a fabulous mood, and I am still smiling over this. No, I didn't even eat a whole slice of it - as yummy as I think this was, cheesecake is just too rich for me. And once Poppa had his slice, his craving for sweets was completely satisfied, as least for the next month or so.
If you are a cheesecake fan, however, you will flip over this. Make it. I am sure I will again someday when the crazies strike. For now, though, I think I'll stick to pizza.