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Archive for February 15, 2014

RECIPE: Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake


Cheesecake with a twist: made in a tart pan
with a hazelnut crust, topped with apples
and salted caramel sauce. Photo courtesy
U.S. Apple Association.


Dying for a piece of cheesecake, we ran out to the corner deli for a slice. It was satisfactory, but a mistake: 12 hours later, we wanted another piece.

But the fourth snowfall of the month was swirling fiercely, so we did the next best thing: We tried a new recipe for for Cheesecake Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce.

The recipe is courtesy U.S. Apple Association. It makes the cheesecake in a tart pan instead of a spring mold, so the pieces are half the height (and half the calories). Other tasty variations:

  • A hazelnut crust. You can choose a different nut of choice, or, if you’re nut averse, eliminate the nuts altogether.
  • An apple topping. You can use a broad selection of fruits, but apple is a nice change of pace, seasonal and delicious with the caramel sauce.
  • Salted caramel sauce. The salt hits the spot. If you don’t want to make the sauce, you can buy a jar at most specialty food stores or buy a conventional caramel sauce and add your own salt.

    Ingredients For 10 servings

    Crust Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup whole hazelnuts, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    Filling Ingredients

  • 1 bar (8 ounces) regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large tender-sweet apple such as Fuji or Gala, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices


    1. PULSE the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor, until they have the texture of coarse sand. Add the butter, sugar, flour and salt, and pulse again until the mixture comes together and forms a dough.

    2. GATHER the dough into a ball, then press into the bottom and sides of a 10 or 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Transfer to the freezer and chill for at least 15 minutes.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F and set a rack to the lower position. Rinse out the bowl of the food processor, then set it back on the base and add the cream cheese, sugar, cream, egg, vanilla and salt. Process until evenly mixed, about 1 minute.

    4. SET the tart pan on a baking sheet and pour the cheese mixture into the shell. Arrange the apple slices around the tart, pressing them lightly into the filling. Transfer to the oven and bake until the filling is set and the crust is lightly browned, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with salted caramel sauce (recipe below).



    If you don’t have time to make the salted caramel recipe below, you can buy a jar. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.



    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt

    1. POUR water into a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and set over high heat. Add sugar in a mound in the center of the pot.

    2. COVER the pot and cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to bubble. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the mixture turns a pale amber, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not swirl or stir during this time.

    3. REMOVE lid and watch the caramel closely. When it turns a darker amber color, remove it from the heat and carefully add the cream. There will be a burst of steam, so be careful.

    4. ADD the teaspoon kosher salt and stir. Serve warm.

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    FOOD 101: What America Cooks


    America’s favorite recipe to cook at home:
    Chili? Photo courtesy


    Cook much? While so many people rely on take out foods, others are still cooking up a storm. In fact, the website has put together America’s 25 Favorite Recipes to Make at Home.

    By using data collected from common food searches at The Daily Meal and many of the country’s other leading search engines and food websites, the writers developed a comprehensive list of the most searched food terms of 2013. They then took the research a step farther to find out what recipes America loves to make with those foods and how many times each recipe was searched.

    Finally, they crafted a unique algorithm to yield a search score and rank.


    25. Chicken wings
    24. Deviled eggs
    23. Guacamole
    22. Fish tacos
    21. Mashed potatoes
    20. Crock pot chicken


    Continuing on, we get to the two sweets that made the list (which doesn’t mean we don’t eat a lot of sweets—we just may be buying them for immediate gratification.
    19. Apple pie
    18. Choc chip cookies
    17. Mac and cheese
    16. Hummus
    15. Baked chicken
    14. Burgers
    13. Beef stew
    12. Pasta sauce
    11. French toast
    10. Chicken soup
    9. Chocolate chip
    8. Spaghetti
    7. Pizza
    6. Meatball
    5. Banana bread
    4. Meat loaf
    3. Lasagna
    2. Pork chop
    1. Chili
    So what are you cooking tonight?



    When we bake, it’s usually apple pie or chocolate chip cookies. Photo courtesy Centerville Pie Co.



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    TIP OF THE DAY: French Cheeses With American Meals


    A beautiful blue: fourme d’ambert is made
    from pasteurized cow’s milk in Auvergne.
    Each wheel is formed from unpressed curds
    inoculated with a less spicy blue mold than
    that of its cousin, Roquefort. Photo courtesy
    Murray’s Cheese.


    We have friends who are French cheese snobs. They grew up on it, they love it, and they only vary their choice when in need of Parmigiano-Reggiano for pasta or risotto.

    So we wondered what we would do without the Cheddar, cream cheese, mozzarella, ricotta and other standards in the American diet. We gave the experts at Cheeses Of France a long list of favorite American recipes with cheese, and asked them to “Frenchify” it.

    The recommendations are below. Before jumping in, we have an editorial note:

    Each publication creates its own “style sheet”—a consistent set of editing choices from the options available, such as p.m. versus pm and farmers market versus farmers’ market or farmer’s market. THE NIBBLE chooses to capitalize proper names, such as American cheese versus american cheese and Champagne versus champagne. Raclette is not the name of a place (it means “to scrape”) and chevre means “goat,” so they normally would not be capitalized under our conventions. Brie and Morbier are villages on France, so we typically would capitalize them.

    But when we looked at the lengthy list below, we decided that consistency made more sense. So we’ve decided use the lower case for all of the cheeses.

    Now, on to the cheese. If we’ve left out any of your favorite cheesy dishes, let us know. And if you haven’t heard of particular cheeses, great: The voyage of discovery starts here.

    And these wonderful cheeses are not just for recipes: They belong on your cheese plate as well!

  • Breakfast Cheese On Bagel/Toast: brie, fromager d’affinois or the whipped cheese laita
  • Cheese Balls: comté trois comtois, des domes, fourme d’ambert, livradois, raclette
  • Cheese Biscuits: comté trois comtois (a.k.a. les 3 comptois)
  • Cheeseburger: abondance, beaufort, blue cheese (fourme d’ambert, bleu d’auvergne), cantal, comté, morbier, munster, raclette
  • Cheesecake: laita
  • Cheese Omelet: comté, fromager d’affinois with garlic and herbs or with truffles, young cantal (although any cheese could go into an omelet)
  • Cheese Dog: montboissier, morbier, raclette
  • Cheese Fries: melting cheese such as raclette, hard cheese such as comté, emmental, morbier

  • Cheese Sauce: blue cheese, fourme d’ambert
  • Cheese Straws: cantal, munster
  • Cottage Cheese and Fruit Salad: laita
  • Fondue: comté, emmental, tome de montagne
  • Fried Cheese: emmental, montboissier, morbier, raclette, tome de savoie
  • Grating: cantal, comté jeune, emmental
  • Ham & Cheese: brie, comté, fromager d’affinois (any variety), morbier, petit cantal, raclette, tome de savoie
  • Macaroni & Cheese: hard cheese—beaufort, cantal, comté
  • Macaroni & Cheese: semisoft cheese—morbier, montboissier, raclette
  • Mashed Potatoes: comté, laita, montboissier, morbier, raclette
  • Nachos: morbier, raclette
  • Pierogi/Ravioli: bleu d’auvergne, comté, emmental
  • Pizza: blue cheese—bleu d’auvergne, fourme d’ambert


    Morbier is a mild French cow’s milk cheese that is easily recognized by the dark vein of vegetable ash streaking through its middle. Photo courtesy Artisanal Cheese.

  • Pasta: grated hard cheese—abondance, beaufort, comté
  • Pasta: semi soft cheese—morbier, raclette
  • Pasta: blue cheese—bleu d’auvergne, fourme d’ambert
  • Risotto: grated hard cheese such as abondance, beaufort, comté; semisoft cheese such as raclette
  • Salad (Mild Cheese): hard cheese like cantal or comté
  • Salad (Strong Cheese): cubes of blue cheese—fourme d’ambert, bleu d’auvergne
  • Scones & Muffins: abondance, cantal, comté, emmental
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast: bleu d’auvergne, comté, fourme d’ambert, raclette
  • Stuffed Mushrooms: bleu d’auvergne, comté or mix (for topping, the melt under the grill)
  • Soup: cantal, comté
  • Tuna Melt: comté, morbier, raclette
    Hungry yet? We’re off to make an omelet with one of our new discoveries, fromager d’affinois aux truffes. It was around for the holidays and we loaded up. It will be back again for Easter.

    Look for it in gourmet/specialty food stores, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s (theirs is called “truffle brie”) and some Costcos. If you love truffles, don’t miss it!


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