Lemony Slick-ett of Cheesecake

I am currently nursing a backache and have (personally) ordered myself strict bedrest to soothe the pain so I thought I’d prop up on a few of my cushy pillows and type an entry. I’m thinking I injured myself while lugging around my 31kg suitcase (excluding my hand luggage, overstuffed handbag and laptop bag stuffed with novels). I don’t travel light. Now I can’t even get my t-shirt from the second drawer from the bottom, let alone touch my toes without my knees bending so I’m taking it easy today. This is because I may have exerted myself a little more last night by vacuuming and stuffing my large suitcase into storage.. which required a step stool as I shoved the damned thing onto the shelf above my clothing rail. No, I don’t seem to know any better.

Currently I’m craving some warm pillowy doughnuts covered in chocolate glaze. Fortunately for which I do have the recipe but ugh.. why am I not wealthy enough to have an in-house gourmet chef again?

I’ve also been fantasising about this cheesecake. To be honest, I’ve been fantasising about cheesecake a lot these past few months. It all started when I went to dinner with friends and I was denied cheesecake by my friend whom I was sharing dessert with (they picked an ice cream sandwich instead!) and ever since then I’ve been on this crazy cheesecake obsession. I currently have two bricks of cream cheese sitting in my refrigerator, just begging to be whipped into a sinfully creamy dessert. Oh, tease.

Cheesecake

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

This recipe was based off this recipe which uses key lime but I only had lemons on hand so I made do, and made several other augmentations.

Lemon Custard
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon

Crust
1 3/4 cups of Digestive biscuit crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest

Yogurt Topping
16 oz Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp cornflour
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Thin lemon slices

Lemon Custard:
1. Whisk all ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until custard thickens and boils for 30 seconds, about 8 minutes.

2. Set aside to cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally. The mixture will continue to thicken.

Crust:
1. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Wrap a 8″ springform pan with 3 layers of foil with 3″ high sides. Butter the pan.

2. Place all 3 dry ingredients in a food processor bowl and blitz. Add in butter. Press the crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake until just set, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Leave the oven running.

Filling:

1. Place cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and mix well.

2. Spoon the custard into crust and smooth top. Carefully top with filling. Set cheesecake in a large baking pan, and pop into the oven. Then fill hot water to a jug and add it to the baking pan until the water comes up to 1″ of the sides of the cheesecake pan. (This is easier than filling with hot water then popping it into the oven – someone could get scalded this way but if you want to try it, go ahead just BE CAREFUL!)

3. Bake until almost set but not puffed, and centre moves slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes.

4. While the cheesecake bakes, make the yogurt topping. Mix all the ingredients together with a spatula. (Alternative you can just use sour cream without the cornflour but I didn’t have any on hand. The cornflour in the yogurt is to help with the texture so it resembles sour cream a little more – yogurt is wetter and looser than sour cream [that’s what she said!])

5. Carefully spoon the yogurt topping over hot cheesecake and smooth the top. Bake until topping sets, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes then run a knife around sides of pan to loosen. Cool cheesecake completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with lemon slices when ready to serve.

Note: This cheesecake can be made up to 2 days ahead, but keep refrigerated at all times. And trust me, you’re going to LOOOOVE this.

Love the layers

I made it a second time but ran out of Digestives to make the crust so… I whipped up a batch of the oatmeal cookie crust from the Crack Pie recipe. Worked a treat! The yogurt/sour cream topping is also optional but I think it added a nice layer of contrast between the sweet-sourness of the custard, the creamy sweetness of the filling, and this neutral flavour of the yogurt helped balance it all.

It is a really rich slice of cheesecake, though. But that’s just how I love my cheesecakes. Smooth, creamy and sinful. The hint of zest was just an added bonus!

After snapping these photos, I snuck that slice of cheesecake up to my room and devoured it. Mmm-mmm.

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Proof Of The Pudding

I’ve noticed how bad I’ve been at updating this for the past few months. I’ve just been back home in the land of nasi lemak and while I haven’t been doing anything substantial, I’ve been really busy. I haven’t even really been spending much time in the kitchen because I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic cook for a mother.

That isn’t to say that I haven’t been productive in tiny doses. I finally succeeded in applying false eyelashes, which is a triumph I will continuously toot of as I once spent an hour in front of a mirror in frustration trying to glue eyelashes onto my eyelids but only managing to glue my eyes shut. I’ve also been reading for leisure again (oh literature! I’ve missed you!), watching countless movies and I’ve been working hard on expanding my wardrobe (not going as well as I would like). I’ve also been working on something for the blog, which actually have been put into effect. Have you noticed? I’m working on an obvious change soon so stay tuned! I just have to flex my CSS writing skills a little – it’s been a while!

I’ve been in the kitchen a few times, of course. A failed swiss roll experiment (little buggers are harder to make than they seem! Or I just had the wrong cake recipe), my trusty shortbread that turned on me because my mum’s KitchenAid is on the fritz and it spit out all my flour when it was mixing the batter leaving me with soggy shortbread (gah!), and a tepid attempt at one of my favourite Malaysian desserts which turned into a roaring success that I’ve made it numerous times now. I can now make do without referencing the recipe. It’s all in here (I’m tapping my temple and mouthing, “UNAGI” – kudos if you know where that’s from).

Sago Pudding

Sago Pudding

I of course, speak of sago pudding. I think it’s a Nyonya dessert and one that I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve been meaning to make it for a while now but never got around to it. Then I had a disappointing serve of sago pudding at a restaurant and it provoked my ire so I just had to make it myself to prove that HAH, I am better than this! Seriously, bad desserts are way worse than bad savoury dishes because you think, “Ahh, I’ll end my meal on a happy note with one of my favourite sweets!” then it comes out barely recognisable and I’m just baffled that someone had decided to ruin my meal, nay, my week, like that! How dare they??!

The recipe I used was based loosely on the one here but I guess I do have a few nuggets of wisdom to share from several successful executions of the dish.

+ Do not add sugar to the palm sugar. It tastes pretty fantastic on its own. In fact, I recommend adding a pinch of salt to it.

+ Also add a pinch of salt to the coconut milk.

+ Never ever leave the boiling sago unattended. Keep stirring it gently and squash out any clusters you see forming or it’s going to make your life more difficult than necessary.

+ Make sure to rinse the sago before boiling it. There’s tons of impurities in there!

+ You don’t have to make it in one giant mould, I quite liked it as individual serves. Way cuter and easier to serve! I used mini bowls and teacups!

+ Compress the sago when placed into the mould so it’s well packed. You don’t want to end up with loose pudding after popping off the mould.

+ Boil the palm sugar until it is thick. It’s like making a reduction. (Duh)

It isn’t really a difficult dessert to make by any means but it is tedious with all the rinsing, stirring, rinsing, and oh.. rinsing. You will get pretty sick of standing over the sink with a sieve full of cooked sago running under cold water.

However the pay off is totally worth it. That combination of the cool, silky pudding sliding down your throat and the perfect balance of salty and sweet dancing on your tongue is just heavenly.