“We must have pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of pie.”
A Classic Recipe for Any Occasion
There is something truly special about old recipes. They can be counted on to have absolutely zero peculiar or hard to source ingredients on the practical level, but on the emotional level, they are capable of conjuring memories and creating opportunities for stories to be shared.
My mum is moving to a smaller place and so for the past couple of months there has been a tremendous amount of what might best be called unearthing of treasures. Pairing back is not an easy task but when she is able to share the stories that accompany these mementos it’s made at least more pleasurable.
Although a minimalist at heart I was unable to say no to a fish knife set and demi-tasse coffee service that crossed the Atlantic with my great-grandmother. Both of these collections are so beautiful and boast workmanship that is simply not seen in today’s culture of mass production.
When it came to the not insubstantial cookbook collection I asked for only one, since I’d absconded years prior with “The Art of Syrian Cookery” given to her by her mother in law in 1958.
The conversation went exactly thus;
“Okay, Stace, how many cookbooks will you take?” gesturing magnanimously toward the shelf.
“I only want this one Mum.” reaching for the “Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens”
“Oh well, I wasn’t going to be offering that one!” It took a full week before she changed her mind. I have my methods.
Don’t judge me… she knows where to find them!
Over the holidays, Jess requested a cheesecake and I was surprised to find I didn’t have one in my repertoire but then realized why; cheesecake has always been my Mum’s specialty so I went to the source for the recipe. I innocently suggested I take it home, photocopy it and return it immediately.
“No!” came the entirely too abrupt response. “I’ll take a pic and text it to you.” and yes the picture was blurry but eventually I got it and it’s a beaute! This recipe was shared with her back in 1960 and like an awesome “Jackie O-esque” pink and white polka dotted scarf that I’ve also unearthed in my mum’s closet it is true that some things just never go out of style.
With most cheesecake recipes one must be prepared to alter the originally planned presentation as they are notorious for cracking. This one was no exception. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that it outdid itself!
There are a few tips or tricks to HOPEFULLY stop this from happening;
The first is to not overmix as it incorporates air, but since this recipe uses whipped egg whites that’s a bit of a lost cause.
The second is to not overbake but rather to take it out when it’s still a bit jiggly.
I personally don’t mind the cracks and just plan on having some way of covering the cracks. In this case, I whipped up a quick and easy raspberry cream sauce. Suddenly you find yourself hoping for a slice with one of the deeper crevasses!
Even with those oven produced stresses, it’s still a thing of beauty.
Although I made this particular cheesecake at Christmas it seems a rather perfect dessert to share with you for Valentine’s day. Nothing says “I love you” more clearly than an elegant and decidedly decadent slice of heaven.
Enjoy & Namaste!
- I like the crust on the box of HoneyMaid Graham Wafer Crumbs
- 425 grams cream cheese (room temp)
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs separated
- frozen raspberries
- ⅓ cup water (more if required to achieve desired consistency)
- 2-3 TBSP sugar (more or less to achieve level of sweetness preferred)
- 2-3 TBSP cream
- Fresh raspberries to garnish
- Make the crust according to instructions on the HoneyMaid Graham Wafer Box. (the only thing I do differently is that I bake the crust a bit at about 350° for 20 minutes or so until very lightly browned.)
- Allow the crust to cool before filling.
- Prepare a springform pan by lightly greasing the sides and cutting a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom.
- Preheat oven to 300°F
- Combine cream cheese, cream, salt, vanilla and sugar with a mixer until light
- Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (I strongly recommend that you do NOT attempt to use a bowl which is not designed for your stand mixer to accomplish this task - very messy! On a side note, I will be purchasing a second bowl intended for my stand mixer)
- Beat egg yolks with a fork or whisk and add to cream mixture.
- Fold in egg whites. This is a gentle process so as not to disrupt all those lovely little air pockets you've built up in the whites.
- Pour batter into prepared springform pan and bake for one hour.
- Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in the oven for another hour.
- Allow to cool completely before topping and serving
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- This is a bit of a winging it kind of topping. You can make it with whatever berry you prefer with pretty much the same method.
- Pop your frozen berries, water and sugar into a saucepan and simmer until smooth and slightly thickened. Add cream and allow to cool.