Ube Cheesecake

Quickie post today, recipe only.

Ube Cheesecake with Toasted Coconut Crust and Blackberries
Ube Cheesecake with Toasted Coconut Crust and Blackberries

Ube Cheesecake with Toasted Coconut Crust and Blackberries

Makes a moderately tall, 9-inch cake – serves 12

Toasted Coconut Crust:

  • 1 c unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • 1 sleeve Maria biscuits, roughly broken up
  • 1/3 c coconut oil, melted
  1. In a skillet, stir the coconut over medium heat until golden, crisp, and aromatic. Transfer to a plate, spreading it out evenly, and let cool completely.
  2. Add the toasted coconut and Maria biscuits to a blender or food processor and blend do a sand consistency.
  3. Transfer the crumb mixture to a bowl and stir in the coconut oil until the mixture resembles damp sand.
  4. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and press the crumb mixture firmly into the pan to form the crust.
  5. Chill the crust thoroughly in the fridge, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until golden and lightly browned along the edge.
  7. Cool completely while you make the cheesecake batter.

Ube Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 small ube or purple sweet potato – scrubbed clean and steamed until tender
  • 750 g 2% cottage cheese
  • 500 g full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, with a rack set at the lowest part of the oven and a rack at the center. Place a sheet pan on the lower rack.
  2. Break the steamed ube into pieces and blend on LOW SPEED until smooth and thick with the cottage cheese. (Vigorous blending may destroy the protein structure of the curds and prevent your cheesecake from setting properly. You’ll know you’ve taken it too far when you’ve essentially liquefied the mixture.)
  3. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, coconut extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
  4. Pour the ube mixture into the cream cheese mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Once your oven is preheated, pour water into the preheated sheet pan (step 1) to quickly create steam.
  6. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust, place on another sheet pan, and bake on the top rack for 50-60 minutes, or until the edge is slightly puffed and only the center has a slight jiggle.
  7. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake to cool until warm enough to touch with the oven door slightly ajar.
  8. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before covering with foil and chilling completely in the fridge (preferably overnight).
  9. Run a thin blade between the cheesecake edge and sides of the pan before unmolding.
  10. Top with blackberries, whipped coconut cream, diced mango, or any other topping that you feel like.
  11. Slice with a sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water, cleaning and reheating the blade between each slice.

A Slice of American Pie

America’s large, loud trumpet that is Trump knows only one tune: “Wrong.”

The following is an excerpt from his speech on trade, corrected by me so that it actually addresses trade.

“We allowed foreign countries to subsidize their goods, devalue their currencies, violate their agreements and cheat in every way imaginable, and our politicians did nothing about it. Because these countries are sovereign states and as a sovereign state ourselves, we respect that fact and have no right, nor power to tell them otherwise. Trillions of our dollars and millions of our jobs flowed overseas, while trillions of dollars flowed into and millions more jobs were created in this country as a result of globalization, an unstoppable wave that crashes against the walls that separate the Us and Them. At the same time I have visited cities and towns across this country where one-third or even half of manufacturing jobs have been wiped out in the last 20 years, to be replaced by even more jobs in high-paying tech, finance, and service sectors.

Today, we import nearly $800 billion more in goods than we export because we are a major consumption power and have a huge economy that generates enough income to support this spending (or have established enough credit to be able to finance it). We can’t continue to pretend as if we can stand to be an autarky, as if we can survive the world we are in now by raising up walls made of taxes and restrictions. This is not some natural disaster, it’s a hodge-podge of globalization, technology, and cultural evolution. Very simple. And it need not be corrected because trying to do so would endorse isolation, reversion, and the undoing of everything the years after the two World Wars and the Cold War has taught us. It would mean turning our greatest trading partners, China, Mexico, and the European Union into our adversaries and losing out on over 40% of our country’s total trade volume. It would be the consequence… It would be the consequence of a leadership class that worships Americanism and perversely sacrifices its diverse economy and position as a world economic superpower to satisfy its dream of becoming an endless field of corn as yellow as Donald’s hair. This would be a direct affront to our founding fathers, who wanted America to be strong. They wanted this country to be strong. They wanted to be independent and they wanted it to be free. This means not building a cage around ourselves.

Our founding fathers understood trade much better than Donald, believe me.

George Washington said that the promotion of domestic manufacturing will be among the first consequences to flow from an energetic government. That was in the 18th century, in an era where the posterchild of the world was Britain due to the first industrial revolution. Alexander Hamilton spoke frequently of the expediency of encouraging manufacturing in, in, in the United States. He died in 1804, had he witnessed the birth of the Internet, and the dawn of Big Data, he might have focused on that instead. Might I remind you, that we live in the 21st Century?

And listen to this. The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, warned that, quote, “the abandonment of the protective policy by the American government will produce want and ruin among our people.” This was under the context of an American torn and shattered by the Civil War that lasted during his presidency. And as anyone who has taken a political science or history course, Abraham understood that in order to hold America together, resources must be focused inward to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, economy, and cohesion. He understood it much better than Trump, that’s why he was Abraham Lincoln, I guess.

Yes, our original Constitution did not even have an income tax. Instead, it had tariffs emphasizing taxation of foreign, not domestic, production. Yes, because the original Constitution was signed in 1787, when America just hopped onto the industrial revolution choo-choo train and it needed to protect its fledgling manufacturing sector from its major competitor, Britain.

Today, 240 years after the Revolution, we’ve turned things completely upside down for good. We tax and regulate and restrict our companies because they are the biggest users of the America’s resources, and we allow foreign countries to export their goods to us tax-free so the American people can enjoy a higher abundance of goods at a lower cost.

As a result, we have become more dependent on foreign countries than ever before, just as they have become more dependent on us. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to embrace co-operation and winning together.

That means not voting for Donald Trump.”

Now, I say this because I love you, America. And also because I want you to keep making cream cheese and apple pie.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,

but with humility of mind regard one another

as more important than yourselves;

Philippians 2:3

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Creme Brulee Apple Pie-Stuffed Cheesecake

Creme Brulee Apple Pie-Stuffed Cheesecake

Butter Biscuit Crust:

  • 1 sleeve maria biscuits, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Place the maria biscuits into a food processor, and pulse until they become uniform fine crumbs.
  2. Add the butter and salt and pulse until mixture is moistened.
  3. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and press the cookie mixture firmly into the pan to form the crust. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool.

Cheesecake Batter:

  • 500 g full fat Philadelphia cream cheese, cubed (2 bricks)
  • 1 kg cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 8-inch apple pie (store-bought)
  1. Place cottage cheese in a blender and blend on medium speed until thick and creamy. Add the salt, sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese brick by brick, then the eggs, one at a time.
  2. Divide the batter in half, and whisk in the cinnamon into one half.
  3. Pour the cinnamon cheesecake batter over the crust. Gently put in the apple pie, and pour the plain vanilla cheesecake batter on top to completely cover the pie.
  4. Bake at 300 degrees F on the middle rack for 45-50 minutes, or until almost set (with a slight jiggle in the center). Place a tray of water in the lower rack to prevent cracks from forming.
  5. Cool completely before chilling overnight.

Brulee Sugar Top:

  1. To serve, slice the cheesecake into 12 slices, running the blade under hot water between each cut to get the cleanest slices.
  2. Sprinkle the top of each slice generously with 2 tsp white sugar. Using a blowtorch, brulee the top until sugar is melted and caramelized.
  3. Chill for another 15 minutes to let the sugar harden a bit more for extra crunch.

Enjoy!

Why taste her cherry chapstick?

To those of you who are not the 0.0000001% of drop-dead gorgeous women (or men) who override the effects of traffic lights in New York City’s bustling streets, cheers. Cheers because your friends are not jealous of you. Cheers because you have weaknesses that you can boast about. Cheers because even though you don’t stop every car that passes you by, you really only need to stop one person in the midst of their life who knows from first sight how special you are.

Oh, and did I mention you’d also get to eat cheesecake without everyone around you turning heads whispering “I can’t believe she’s eating cheesecake!” No I’m not saying go pig out on cheesecake tomorrow in front of your girl or guy friend. I mean, they’ll still love you for who you are, but mind your health. There’s no point in trying to make yourself feel loved by stuffing yourself.

Have cheesecake if you’re feeling down.

But don’t have too much for that’ll weigh you down.

Plus, you never know – maybe this is actually how somebody sees you, actually, someone does see you like this:

“You are beautiful, my darling,

        beautiful beyond words.

Your eyes are like doves beyond your veil.

Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats

        winding down the slopes of Gilead.

Your teeth are as white as sheep,

        recently shorn and freshly washed.

Your smile is flawless,

        each tooth matched to its twin.

Your lips are like scarlet ribbon;

        your mouth is inviting.

Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil.

Your neck is as beautiful as the tower of David…

You are altogether beautiful, my darling,

beautiful in every way.

~Song of Songs 4:1-7

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Ingredients for the nutty crust (this is such an amazing crust, you must try it!)

1 c oats

1/2 c raw pecan halves (walnuts, almonds, cashews or even roasted mixed salted nuts will do)

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/4 c brown sugar

3/4 tsp fine sea salt (use 1/2 tsp if using salted nuts)

a pinch of cinnamon, optional

3 tbsp coconut oil

To make the nutty crust, put the oats, nuts, cornstarch, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor or blender. Whiz together until the mixture resembles graham cracker crumbs. Add the coconut oil and pulse until the mixture begins to moisten and clump up.

Line the bottom of four 4-inch springform pans or one 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Press the oat and nut mixture evenly, and firmly into the pan with a measuring cup with a flat bottom or your fingertips. Place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, with the rack placed in the middle of the oven. Take the crust from the freezer straight into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and slightly puffed. Use the back of a spoon to gently press down on the crust then let cool completely before chilling until needed.

Ingredients for the cheesecake batter:

1 kg 2% cottage cheese, strained, at room temperature

250 g full fat cream cheese, cut into cubes, at room temperature

3/4 c sugar

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

3 free range eggs, at room temperature

To make the cheesecake, preheat the oven to 325 degree F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven, and another rack below it. Fill a pan with water and put it on the bottom rack – this will create the bain marie without risking a water-soaked crust.

Put the cottage cheese in the blender and whiz until smooth. Add the cream cheese, a cube at a time until the mixture is thick and creamy without any lumps. Add the sugar, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, and sea salt and continue blending until smooth. On low, pulse in the eggs just until evenly incorporated.

Pour the cheese batter into the chilled baked crust and bake in the top rack for 30-40 minutes if using small springform pans or 60-75 minutes if using a large springform pan. The middle should jiggle a little bit when you remove it from the oven, but don’t worry the residual heat is sufficient to cook it through.

Cool it completely before covering and chilling overnight to set.

When ready to serve, simply run a thin-bladed knife around the side of the pan to release the cake.

I actually like to sprinkle a generous layer of sugar on top then torching it to make it a creme brulee cheesecake, just sayin’.

But honestly, you really can’t do much to top a cheesecake, perhaps some cherry compote, but really, I mean, it’s cheesecake.

Enjoy, but don’t pig out.

(At least don’t blame me if you do, I provided fair warning)