Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TWD: Tall and Creamy Cheesecake and an announcement

Hi everyone, I'm back! Sorry for the unannounced (and unanticipated) blogging vacation. I sure hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas - we sure did. It wasn't exactly peaceful (that's an impossibility with four children) but it certainly was joyful.

I have made my fair share of cheesecakes and even made some to sell this holiday season - and that's what I did with this one. A friend ordered a cheesecake for her family Christmas celebration this past Saturday, which was perfect timing for this week's TWD post. I have a couple of very good recipes from epicurious.com that I most frequently use. In fact, I used the topping from this one to create the cheesecake I made for my friend - Cranberry Orange Cheesecake with a Chocolate Crust.

Dorie's recipe comes together very easily, like most cheesecakes. I'm not sure why people find the prospect of making a cheesecake daunting, because, really it's pretty easy - the trickiest part is the water bath and I'm going to tell you the secret right now. When you're wrapping your springform pan in foil to go into the water bath, you must use the large heavy duty foil (18 inches wide). If you use anything smaller, the water will seep into the pan and turn your crust into mush (I speak from experience here). Wrap the pan at least twice, making sure to mold each foil layer upwards towards the top of the pan (not folding it sideways) - you may have to roll the top of the foil around the top edge.

Another tip: when you fill your roasting pan, make sure to put the pan in first, then fill it with hot water (no more than halfway up the side of the pan).

To make a chocolate crust, I just used 1 3/4 cups of crushed oreos (stuff removed - this is much to the delight of my children who make super stuffed oreos).

You can buy plain chocolate wafer cookies - Meijer doesn't carry them here though and they're usually more expensive than oreos (plus, no stuff). Anyway, I omitted the additional sugar and just stirred in the melted butter.

The only other change I made to the original recipe was to add 2 tsp. grated orange zest to the batter and add the topping. Here's that recipe:

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

Stir sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium; add cornstarch mixture and bring to simmer. Add cranberries; cook until beginning to pop, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Stir in orange peel. Cool completely. Cover and chill overnight. (Cheesecake and cranberry mixture can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Run knife around top edge of cheesecake to loosen. Release pan sides. Top cheesecake with cranberry mixture. Chill until set, about 1 hour.

My announcement is sort of a sad one to make - this will be my last Tuesdays with Dorie post. Unfortunately, Dorie's baked goods aren't calorie free and I really want to focus on losing 30 pounds next year. I thought that training for a half marathon would do the trick, but alas, no. At least I didn't gain any weight! I have had such a great time since I joined and I am so thankful for all my new blogging friends I met through TWD.

In 2009 I am going to try to post healthy recipes which will be lower in fat and sugar, but every once in a while, I'm going to have to sneak in something truly decadent (and there's really not many better sources out there than Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie). Thanks to all my TWD buddies for all your support and I'll be sure to check in with you each Tuesday!

Have a happy and safe New Year!
UPDATE: It's been too long since I last posted a TWD - I completely forgot to link to the wonderful blogger who choose this week's recipe. Please visit Anne of Annestrawberry for the recipe and to check out a truly fantastic blog!


Engineer Baker said...

Wow, that cranberry orange combo sounds wonderful. Add in the chocolate, and YUM! I'm sorry you won't be able to stay with us, but I certainly understand. Blogging is a bit bad for the hips :/

Darius T. Williams said...

Welcome back! And that cheesecake looks gorgeous!


Megan said...

Sorry to see you go, but good luck in the marathon!

Happy New Year!

chocolatechic said...

ooooOooooo super stuffed oreos.

Sorry to see you leaving us.

Danielle said...

Your cake came out great.
I am sad to see you go, maybe you can still do TWD but modify her recipes into a more heathly version?

Cathy said...

Alright Laura, I admit it - I cheated and scrolled to the end to read your announcement first! It's definitely not the announcement I was hoping for, but as long as you keep blogging, I'll be happy! I have been similarly conflicted about how TWD is fitting in with my healthy living aspirations. I had been on a good pace to lose the last of the third baby weight until the weekly baking thing began. I thought I would just make TWD my one weekly treat and give the rest away, but that hasn't really worked out. We'll see how things shake out. I will miss you on TWD but will look forward to your other posts! Your cheesecake looks and sounds amazing! Orange cranberry chocolate? Ohhhhh mama! And thanks for the pan wrapping tips! My cheesecake stayed dry, but it is so helpful to learn how to keep it dry every time! I am so glad you had a great Christmas, and happy New Year, Laura!

Leslie said...

I love the cranberry with the chocolate crust! Sorry you're leaving us but I totally get it. It's tough to balance a love of baking with a need to eat healthy!

Peggy said...

that cheesecake looks fabulous. Good luck on your weight loss. We will surely miss you. Why not come over and join Craving Ellie in my Belly for a healthier food style. Happy New Year!

Christine said...

I am sorry that this will be your last TWD post. I am on a healthy kick for next year so if you need any support (I need someone to kick me in the butt!) Your cheesecake looks delicious!

TeaLady said...

CRANBERRY!!! ORANGE!!! CHOCOLATE.!!! Sounds like pure heaven on a plate. Very creative. And looks gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

super stuffed oreos! Ha!

Orange-cranberry sounds delicious.

Happy New Year! We'll miss you, but I understand completely!

n.o.e said...

Thank You for the wonderful tip; my very first cheesecake suffered from a leak, but luckily the damage was very slight and the cake was good. Did you get any feedback on the taste of the cheesecake? Looks amazing.

n.o.e said...

Honestly, I missed your announcement the first readthrough of your post - I think it was wishful thinking! I'll keep following your blog because I love healthy cooking. That's been my focus for 20 years and really, I know the struggle with this baking. It's so hard to balance - I've really had to focus on giving it away and still I've gained a couple of pounds.

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy!!!! You did a beautiful job on the cheesecake!

Welcome back!

CB said...

Awesome tips! I'll have to remember the foil one when I make this again. I bet the orange and cranberry were amazing together! So sorry you're leaving us but I wish you continued success with your weight loss goals and marathon training! Maybe you could bake every once in a while on the side? (I am such an instigator!)
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

kim said...

that is one gorgeous cheesecake! sorry to see you go, but i definitely support your decision and wish you the best of luck in losing the weight!

Jacque said...

Mmm, that sounds so good! Very creative :)

Matt's Kitchen said...

The Oreo crust was a nice touch. I'm with you on the need to lose weight. I've gained more weight since joining TWD and Barefoot Bloggers despite working with a trainer. I try to give away as much of the food I make as possible, but there are times when you just can't bring certain items to work.

Good luck with your training. I ran a half marathon a few years ago and loved it. I had such a sense of accomplishment when I finished!