Monday, August 3, 2009
Bake a cheesecake. Put a whole bunch of cherries on top. Serve before delivering the bad news or an awful truth.
Cherries are are an import item to the Caribbean. They come in cans, or as artificially coloured and sweetened maracshino cherries.
I have long been curious as to the taste of imported cherries as compared our local Barbados cherry. When you do see fresh cherries they are just too expensive - beyond the budget of your average person. That is until some weeks ago.
Some nearly heart-shaped cuties winked at me from between the plums and the grapes. They were expensive but not outrageously so and I bought a few, just to satisfy my curiosity. They were delicious but I must admit that I was a a bit disappointed that their taste wasn't wildly exotic and different. They tasted a bit like imported plums.
A later trip to a another grocery and there they were again. This time the price was three times more than the first place that I had shopped! Like a crazed person I sped back to the first supermarket and stared at the price on those cherries. Surely this was some kind of pricing error. I promptly bought ALL that were left on the shelf and approached the cashier, certain that the mistake would be discovered and I would be forced to return them to the display but noooooo.....A few minutes later, I was out the door with my huge bag of cherries, feeling for all the world that I had just won the cherry Lotto.
When I got home - disaster! My attempt at making cherry pie failed. Trying to shortcut things, I used a store bought, frozen, pastry dough. The finished pie dough was doughy and soggy. Ugggh! No way did I intend wasting my cherries, so I rescued the cherry filling. I made a cheesecake instead and covered it in the delicious pie filling.
For all my good luck with the price, the fact remained that these cherries were still an expensive, over the budget item, on my shopping list. There was some concern on my part that Mr. H might not be happy to hear how much I paid for these. So, the following day, I made sure that the 'bad news' about the price was divulged after I had served him a slice of this cheesecake. Mmmmmm......a bargain he agreed and asked for another slice.
Cherries On Top Cheesecake
6 tbs butter
7oz/200g graham crackers
16 oz cream cheese ( 2 pks Philladelpia )
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
16 fl/ 400 ml/ 2 cups sour cream
Melt butter over low heat. Stir in the crackers, then spread in an 8 inch/20cm springform pan (Cheesecake will be higher than mine as I used a 10 inch pan.) Bring ingredients to room temperature. In a food processor or with a hand mixer on low speed blend together the cream cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Blend until smooth. Pour over the cracker base. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven, 375 degrees F/ 190degrees C for 20 mins (less time if using a larger pan as I did). Bake until cheesecake is set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes
4 cups sweet cherries (pitted),
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 small lemon , zested to yield 1 teaspoon zest and juiced to yield 2 teaspoons juice
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon brandy
3–4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water plus 2 tablespoons
Place sugar, lemon juice and zest, spices, almond extract, brandy and 1/4 cup water. in a pan over low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and add the cherries. Cover and cook until they begin to soften. Remove from the heat. Add the tapioca. Add a few tablespoons of water if needed. Return to low heat and cook until the tapioca thickens. Let cool.
Remove cheesecake from the pan 1 hour before serving. Spoon the fruit topping over and let chill until ready to serve.
*This is not actually what I did as the filling was first cooked in my failed pie. However my recipe book, "Perfect desserts" says this is the way to do it if you don't have the benefits of a ruined pie like I did :-)
Posted by Wizzy John at 7:17 PM