Friday, December 31, 2010

Where there's a will, there's a way

There's only one chapter in the Edmonds book I hadn't yet ventured into: 'Desserts with Edmonds'. As you know, I don't habitually use pre-packaged cake mixes, or eat regular desserts, so this particular chapter has been a bit neglected.

Bex and Richard's New Year's Eve barbecue seemed like the perfect time to make black forest cheesecake (p216). After all, cherries are in season, and I'd had the continental cheesecake mix sitting in the cupboard for ages.

Of course, choosing to make a chilled cheesecake when you haven't got a working fridge is perhaps not the smartest idea, but hey, that just adds to the challenge.

The first hurdle was in buying the ingredients, seeing as any leftover milk and cream would need refrigerating. I got past this by buying the smallest available carton of milk and leaving the cream (only required for decorating) until I was at work today.

I left my cheesecake making for later on last night, meaning that it would spend the shortest time possible in my dodgy fridge. The first part was very easy: just mix melted butter with the contents of the crumb sachet, and press into the bottom and sides of a springform tin.

The next part was to beat the filling mix with milk, then fold in melted chocolate and chopped cherries. I decided I'd better get the chocolate melting before I started with anything else, so opened the cupboard to grab the chocolate chips.

The choc chip container was empty. Cursing under my breath, I recalled the way I had, that very afternoon, stood in the baking aisle of Pak N Save and talked myself out of buying chocolate chips because I was sure I had some at home. D'oh.

A mad dash to Countdown supplied the lack, and I was soon back in the kitchen, melting chocolate over a pot of hot water and chopping cherries while my mixer beat the filling mixture. In a remarkably short time I had the filling poured into the base and ready to set.

Here was the challenge: how to chill a cheesecake in a fridge that is barely below ambient temperature? Easily: I placed the tin on top of some ice cube bags and left it there overnight. In the morning, the filling was set, and, more importantly, the cheesecake was still nice and cold. I packed it carefully in a chilly bag, along with a few other items, and placed it in the office fridge as soon as I got to work. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, children sometimes choose inconvenient times to get sick. So it was with Bex and Richard's little boy and the barbecue was understandably cancelled. I was not bothered about my sudden lack of New Years' plans, but I was in a slight quandary about the cheesecake. I couldn't take the whole thing home to eat myself, and in any case, I didn't have a decent fridge to put it in!

I wound up feeding it to the workmates - but first I had to finish decorating it. Hurrying to get the whipped cream on the cake before the end of lunch break, I did something monumentally stupid. I'd whipped the cream by shaking it up in a large jar. It's so large that if you try to scoop cream out of it with a spoon, you miss lots and merely end up with cream all over your sleeve. I decided it would be easier to turn it upside down and tip it into the piping bag.

There was one major flaw in this plan: a piping bag has an open nozzle at the other end. Forgetting this, I tipped the jar into the bag, and gave it a bit of a shake. In the split second it took me to realise that this was a VERY bad idea, the nozzle had flicked forward, and then back again, squirting lightly whipped cream all over my brand new top, my jeans, my desk and my phone, with a few random splatters on floor and computer chair.

I really don't know why I didn't think to take a photo of this. You'd probably have found it entertaining - at least, Steve and Sue thought it was hilarious. I guess I was just busy trying to scrub cream off my clothes and desk.

Eventually, I managed to clean off all the spillage and pipe cream around the cheesecake in a decorative fashion. Placing a cherry on top of each blob of cream, I declared the cake ready to eat.

I was very surprised at just how tasty the cheesecake was. I'd tasted the filling while I was making it, and it pretty much tasted of nothing. After those hours chilling down, the flavour of the cherries and chocolate had done their work, turning a bland filling into something rich and moreish. It was very sweet, and tasted more like a mousse with a base than an actual cheesecake, but it was delicious all the same. The nice fresh chunks of cherries in the filling were definitely my favourite bit.

I managed to fob bits of cheesecake off onto various people, so that I only ended up with a small piece to take home. Everyone agreed that it was lovely, though perhaps a bit sweet. Now I just have to finish up the rest of it before it goes bad in my fridge!


  1. It's stories like this that make me realise how alike you and your brother really are!

  2. The old genes at work again ha ha. Doh!

  3. Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it :)

  4. Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it :)


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