June 02, 2006

Last Course Round 2: Cherry Cheesecake

I promised myself that I was going to follow the directions exactly this time, unlike a few weeks ago. I even made the dang graham crackers from scratch. However, here's what really happened:

I thought we had honey. Apparently not. I used a mix of light corn syrup and molasses for the graham crackers, which are the best graham crackers I've ever had in my life, maybe it's the two sticks of butter that went into them. It broke my heart to grind them up for the crust. They broke my heart again after painfully trying to pat out an even base in the tart pan, to see them baked down into a giant cookie after taking the "crust" out of the oven.

I was also under the impression that we possessed star anise. I don't know why. I think maybe we had it at one point, I didn't use it and in the Great 2006 Move, I chucked it. After a few googling searches, I ended up using Chinese Five-Spice Powder instead in the red wine sauce. I couldn't really taste it. I also think that I didn't cook the wine down enough and my sauce came dribbling down the sides, onto the board (see photo below). When I returned to it later, there was a puddle of sauce on the floor. Whoops.

Vegetarians (even fake ones like myself) don't eat gelatin. I used agar instead. I think that it didn't make too much of a difference. I was afraid of agar before because of previous kitchen disasters, now I really like it.

Conclusion: I liked the filling a lot (so did my neighbors and landlords who we pawned the leftovers off on). It was very light and airy. I plan on experimenting with it more. If I make my own graham cracker crust, I will just bake a giant graham cracker into the tart pan instead of making individual ones and grind them up. Or, if I want to make myself stark raving mad, I can fulfill my visions of wee individual servings of cheesecakes. I prefer the cherries unadorned. The sauce is messy and doesn't really add anything to the overall affect. Next time, I will just arrange the fruit prettily on top.

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