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Archive for March 6, 2017

TIP OF THE DAY: Pimp Your Cheesecake

Only ice cream and cake surpass cheesecake on American restaurant menus, says Flavor And The Menu, a magazine and website for restaurant chefs.

The article points out that plain cheesecake is a blank canvas, waiting for an artistic or flavorful treatment—or both.

The next time you plan to bake a conventional cheesecake, consider playing around with these options.

You can combine more than one on/in a single cheesecake. Check out photo #4: rainbow cheesecake with a “still life” top.

INCLUSIONS

Treats mixed into the batter can change the character, visual appeal and texture of the cheesecake experience. Examples:

  • Candy: There’s much to choose from: brittle, candy pieces (butterscotch, fudge bits, baking chips [butterscotch, chocolate, cinnamon, mint, etc.]), seasonal items like candy corn or Easter egg malt balls, toffee, a swirl of seasonal fruit purée, sugared nuts, trail mix. Just look around the store for inspiration.
  • Cake and cookie pieces: brownie, cookie dough, doughnuts, pound cake, crushed or mini Oreos, shortbread.
  • Citrus: zest and peel.
  •  
    ENHANCED SAUCES & TOPPINGS

    Forget the gloppy canned cherry or blueberry topping. Use the sauce to spark enhanced flavors.

  • Elevate the conventional: Think salted caramel sauce, Mexican-style chocolate sauce, framboise sauce (raspberry sauce with raspberry liqueur)*.
  • Fruits beyond the can: fruit syrup, coulis, a mosaic of fresh fruits, seasonal fruit purée or a “still life” like photo #4 (fresh berries, meringues, herb sprigs, edible flowers).
  • Ganache or icing, spread or piped (photo #2). Ganache becomes a semi-hard chocolate topping, like chocolate truffles (here’s a recipe).
     
    Consider turning the sauce or piped icing into a decorative design such as loops (photo #2) or zigzags.
     
    OTHER TOPPINGS

  • Smooth: Consider crème fraîche, chocolate ganache, icing or whipped cream, plain or flavored.
  • Scattered: Scattered candies add texture and color, such as like chocolate-mint lentils or coffee/mocha lentils or confetti sprinkles.
  • Sparkling: Add some sparkle with edible glitter.
  • Fruits & Flowers: For the most beautiful top, create a “still life” of fruits, meringues, and sprigs of fresh herbs.
  •  
    THE BOTTOM

  • Crust: Try a brownie or cake crust, or cookies beyond Oreos and grahams.
  • Bottom: Decorate the bottom perimeter with squares of chocolate or other candy.
  • Bottom-plus: The latest rage is rainbow cheesecake (photos #3 and #4).
  •  
    REFORMAT

    How do you want to present the cheesecake?

     

    St. Patrick’s Day Cheesecake

    St. Patrick's Day Cheesecake

    Rainbow Cheesecake

    Rainbow Cheesecake

    [1] St. Patrick’s design from Kraft, using a stencil and glitter, and [2] a ganache top with decorative icing, from Harry & David. [3] Rainbow cheesecake (here’s the recipe from She Bakes). [4] Rainbow cheesecake with a “still life” top (here’s the recipe from Taste | Australia).

     
    Baked in a jar, cake pop, deconstructed, heart shaped, individual mini, layered with cake, mousse, rainbow cheesecake square, trifle.

    So many variations, so much fun ahead!
    ________________

    *You can purchase the sauces and add spices, liquors, etc. to create your flavor.

      

    Comments

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPE: Ice Cream Cake

    Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

    Andes Mints

    After Eight Mints

    [1] Devil’s food cake and mint chip ice cream (photo Jennifer Davick | Southern Living). [2] Andes Mints (photo courtesy Sweet Factory). [3] After Eight Mints (photo courtesy After Eight | UK).

     

    We’ve been saving this recipe from Southern Living for our St. Patrick’s Day lead-up, when our recipes wear a tinge o’ the green.

    Made with a Devil’s Food cake mix (or from scratch, if you like), the ice cream doesn’t have to be mint chip. Those who don’t like mint can tint vanilla chip ice cream, or plain vanilla, with green food color.

    The topping is chocolate ganache, chocolate mints and whipped cream. We skipped the chocolate ganache, not wanting to gild the lily (it also saves time and money), and used Chocolate Reddi-Wip to anchor the mints around the rim of the cake (it’s easier to slice than cutting through the pile in the picture).

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE MINT ICE CREAM CAKE

    Make the whole cake ahead and freeze until ready to serve.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, freezer time is 10 to 12 hours.

    Ingredients For 10 to 12 Servings

  • Devil’s food cake mix (plus the other ingredients required—egg, oil, etc.)
  • 1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened
  • 10 chocolate wafers (e.g. Nabisco Famous), coarsely crushed
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Garnish: Thin chocolate mints (After Eight or Andes)
  • Garnish: Reddi-Wip or other whipped cream
  • Equipment: parchment paper, springform pan
  •  
    For The Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 11 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter (ideally use a low-moisture brand (European style) with a higher fat content)
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons liqueur of your choice (for this recipe, mint or chocolate liqueur)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper. Prepare the cake batter and spoon it into the pans.

    2. BAKE for 12 to 14 minutes or until a wood toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans to wire racks, peel off the parchment paper, and cool completely, about 1 hour.

     
    3. PLACE one cake layer in a 9-inch springform pan. Top with one-third of ice cream (about 2-1/3 cups); sprinkle with half the crushed wafers. Repeat with the second layer. Top with the remaining cake layer and ice cream. Freeze 8 to 12 hours.

    4. MAKE the ganache. In a small saucepan, scald the cream. In a small bowl, carefully pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces. Stir in the butter. Stir in the liqueur. Store in the fridge, sealed in a plastic container, until ready to use.

    5. REMOVE the cake from the springform pan, and place it on a plate or a cake stand. Spread the top with the ganache. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired before bringing to the table.

     
      

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