Friday, June 1, 2012

Soup & Cheesecake - new recipes

We’ve been getting adventurous with some new recipes lately! We finished off last week trying a fancy soup and my first attempt at cheesecake.

Mushroom & Leek Soup with Parsley Dumplings

The fact that this recipe was from Bon Appetit should have warned me that we were in for something complex. The ingredients & directions were simple, but even with two of us working on it, it took forever to make! I was sooo tasty though, I think it was worth the work, but convincing my husband may be difficult.

I do feel like a lot of things could be simplified in this recipe though, like narrowing down the number of pans used! We were able to keep it down to one pot & one pan by removing the contents of the pan to use it for three different steps, and boiling the dumplings in the soup broth. We also made a few ingredient changes, leaving out the dried mushrooms (not by choice), using Sake instead of Sherry, and chicken bouillon instead of vegetable broth.

Next time I would cook the mushrooms & leeks together and see if we could bake the dumplings as one big sheet in the oven and then cut them up into small pieces. I would like smaller bites of them anyway, and if we could get that to work (with my other changes) it would make it so much simpler!

Snickers Cheesecake

I’ve been wanting to try making a cheesecake for a while now, so when a friend recommended a recipe she’d just tried I was eager to test it myself. We made the Snickers variation & it came out very tasty, light & fluffy. I think I may prefer a denser cheesecake, but everyone liked it so much it would be hard to switch to a different recipe.

We did vary from the directions quite a bit for this one. I don’t have a springform pan so we bought some pre-made pie crusts instead. We wanted to make two cheesecakes to bring to a picnic & bought enough ingredients to double the recipe. Luckily my mixer was too small to handle both batches, because as I mixed one we quickly realized that was going to be enough to fill both pie crusts! (At least cream cheese lasts a long time so I can use the extras in future recipes!)

I was a little unsure about baking them in the water bath, so when my friend said she had skipped that part it did not take much to convince me! Without the pie crust or water bath I basically dropped all of step #1.

Cheesecake - cracked

Unfortunately my cakes did end up pretty cracked! All around the edges with a big gash in the center on both. I started reading up on ways to avoid this in the future & found this and this page of helpful tips. One of those tips was using a water bath, go figure, but you can just put a pan of hot water on a lower rack, which sounds better to me.

But I also found out it is not that hard to clean the cracks up if you do get them. Just wet your finger, smooth a little out, and repeat! Not the prettiest thing, but it definitely helped.

Cheesecake - smoothed

Next time I will definitely be following a lot of those tips & doing some things differently. I'd also like to add a nice garnish or glaze on top to help spruce it up a bit.

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