Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 16 & 17 - Fruit and Cookie Crust Pizza


Yesterday (Saturday) we had our "Christmas" party for the retail store I worked at over the holiday.  So, I got a call yesterday morning at 9 a.m. from the managers asking if I could make Chicken Saltimbocca.  (The place they were going to order it from was going to charge way too much.)  So for less than the price they were going to pay, I made 30 individual Saltimbocca breasts and a huge pan of baked mostaccioli.  I was pretty proud of myself.  I kept thinking of that Food Network Show "Dinner Impossible"... although I didn't really do much running around and there was nobody to yell at.

(And, because I'm sure someone will ask, the saltimbocca recipe was loosely based on Giada's recipe from her Everyday Italian cookbook and the mostaccioli I just threw together.)

It was a potluck party, so Brian and I had already planned on bringing a dish.  He made a savory cheesecake:

Spicy Spreadable Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy Firefighter Bill Hubbard

Prep Time:25 min
Cook Time:1 hr 0 min
Serves:10 to 12 as an hors d'oeurve


• 2 cups flaky butter crackers
• 4 tablespoons butter, melted

• 6 ounces sharp cheddar
• 1 teaspoon lime zest
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 24 ounces cream cheese
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup minced white onion
• 1 tablespoon horseradish
• 1 1/2 teaspoons hot red pepper sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1/2 cup sour cream

• 1 1/2 cups sour cream
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1 teaspoon lime zest
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce

• Shredded cheddar
• Tomatoes
• Green Onions
• Salsa, optional
• Crackers
• Tortilla Chips


For the crust: Crush the butter crackers and mix with melted butter. Press into a 9-inch spring-form pan.

For the Filling: Finely shred cheddar, add lime zest. Toss cheese mixture with flour and cornstarch; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In electric mixer, cream lime juice and cream cheese until fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time while mixing on low speed. Add minced onion, horseradish, pepper sauce, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and mix only until incorporated. Fold in cheddar mixture, then sour cream by hand. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Bake for 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, for topping, mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until cheesecake is baked.

Remove cheesecake from oven after 60 minutes (do not overbake). Spread cold topping over warm cake, return to oven, shut the oven off and allow to cool in oven (oven door may be open a crack to speed up the process), this will prevent any cracking. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight then decorate as desired with shredded cheddar, tomatoes, green onions, and salsa. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

NOTE:  Brian added 2 de-seeded chopped jalapenos and one 7 oz jar of roasted red peppers (drained) to the cream cheese mixture.

and I made a sweet cheesecake:

Japanese Cheesecake
(Adapted from Red Vanilla)

250g (8 oz) cream cheese
50g butter
100 ml fresh milk
60g cake flour
20g corn flour
1 tbsp lemon juice & 1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
140g sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line the bottom an 9 inch springform pan with parchment. Wrap the outside of the pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil to prevent water seeping in later.

2. Melt the cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler until smooth. Cool. I reckon it would be much easier to melt the butter and pulse the whole mixture in a food processor. In this way, you will get a very smooth consistency. Sift the flour mixture.

3. To the cooled cream cheese mixture, add the flours, egg yolks, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Mix well and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and whisk until thick. With your electric mixer on, slowly add in sugar. Whisk until firm and glossy (but not stiff) peaks form.

5. Add one third of the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the remaining egg white in two batches quickly.

6. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Using the lower third of your oven, bake the cheesecake in a water bath for 55 minutes at 160C. Lower to 150C and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. The top of the cake should be golden brown. Tent it with aluminum foil if it browns too quickly.

7. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven (with the door closed) to cool slowly. Cheesecake will shrink slightly. Remove to room temperature after 30 minutes and let it cool completely.

8. Slice with a long serrated knife, wiping down your knife after each slice. Store, covered in the fridge. It’ll turn a little denser after being chilled.

NOTE:  I topped it with lemon curd and whipped cream.  It is NOT a layered cake.  I just made it look like it was.

I really like both of these recipes (they went over really well at the party).  My assistant and I used to make the Japanese cheesecake all the time at the restaurant.  It is such a different take on the classic.  And the texture is like I died and went to culinary heaven...No wait, I used that one already.  The texture is so killer it's homicidal!  I hope you try them.  I'd love to hear your comments.



Sugar cookie dough: (made my own, cost me $2.00)
Cream Cheese: $1.50
Marshmallow Creme:  $0.99
Fruit:  $2.39
Caramel Sauce: (made my own, cost me $1.99)

Total: $ 8.87

I ended up making my own cookie dough for this recipe.  I don't like the store bought kind because of the extra stuff they put into it.  Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients?  My recipe is basically butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, salt, and flour.  I would give you the recipe, but it is super secret. 

For the caramel, I decided to make a dulce de leche.  I read online about how you can use your slow cooker to make it safely from a can of sweetened condensed milk.  I just had to try it.  Basically, you take your can, take off the label, and put it in a slowcooker (a.k.a crockpot) on low for 8 hours.  This is what you get:


Fast:  Yeah, it's pretty fast.  Baking the cookie takes about 15 minutes and then cooling it takes another 10 min.  While that's going on you can make your "sauce" for the pizza and cut up the fruit.   So, this would take maybe 30 minutes tops? 

Easy:  The hardest part of the recipe is rolling out the cookie and making it circular. (I didn't have a 12" pizza pan, so I improvised).   I took my dough and rolled it out on a sheet of parchment.  Then I took a big bowl, flipped it over, and used it as my cookie cutter (just cut around the edge of the bowl with a knife).  You can easily transfer the cookie to a sheet pan by picking up the parchment and placing it onto the pan.  

Fresh:  The freshness of this recipe would depend on the fruit you use.  I would make this again during the summer with fresh berries. 

Overall:  I like the concept of the cookie pizza.  The cookie part of it is good (because my dough isn't super sweet.  It's more of a butter cookie).  The "sauce" is way too sweet with the marshmallow fluff.  I would have rather just added some sugar and vanilla to the cream cheese and used that.   I can see this whole dessert being way too sweet with a pre-made cookie dough.   I like the dulce de leche, but it would be better with a less sweet "sauce".  I would make this again, but with a little tweak here and there.

Tomorrow is tip day (a.k.a. free day), but I will not be posting any tips.  (Instead, I posted those cheesecake recipes today).  After I attend a meeting at school in the morning, I am playing Ferris Bueller's Day Off in the city with my friend Nicole.  See you Tuesday!


Nikki said...

Not that excited about the fruit pizza, but the savory cheesecake looks like a must try. What makes the Japanese Cheesecake, Japanese?

Angie said...

Both of those cheesecakes look amazing and I would also like to know what makes the sweet one Japanese.

I wonder what the fruit pizza would be like with a spice cookie crust and no marshmallow.

O Arrow said...

Wow, I never imagined a savory cheesecake or a sweet pizza that would sound so mouth watering. Thanks for sharing the recipes, I have got to try these.

SuperStar Chef Mark said...

I'm not quite sure what makes Japanese Cheesecake... Japanese. There is some talk on the internet that this recipe was developed by the Japanese, but I'm not too sure that's true. Other websites say it is popular in Asian bakeries.

My food philosophy entails mixing elements of sweet and savory in both entrees and desserts. I like the play on familiarity and re-invention (to a point) in food. These recipes today really speak to what I love about this career.

NikiTheo said...

I love Japanese cheesecake! I have some Japanese friends and they say it is a very popular cheesecake where they grew up. They told me that most Asians they know prefer the light, fluffy version over what we think of as a traditional cheesecake.
And dont you just love making dulce de leche in the crockpot? It's yummy and basically no work invovled. My favorite kind of recipe. :)

Beck, At Her Best said...

Those cheesecakes look amazing! My BF and I love doing the sweet/savory switch, too, so I'll definitely have to try the one you made.