Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

August 25, 2009

Simple Basic Cheesecake with Lemon Curd Topping

Filed under: Bakings, Cakes, Desserts, Uncategorized — nshahida @ 12:02 am

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Creamy, rich, decadent and very satisfying, this basic cheesecake recipe.  Plus all  ingredients are easy to be found at your local supermarket wherever you are. I can vouch it because I made this very recipe a few times for my family back home, Malaysia.

This easy to follow recipe I adapted from some of my cookbook ,gathered and finalized them as one recipe. The outcome is impressively amazing to look at , once it hits your taste buds.. you know you are addicted. Light, citrus-y , sweet not overly – delicious . The crust is easy to make as well. I used regular tea biscuit or we call it ‘biskut marie’.

As for the topping, you can definitely remix with your own creativity but it’s totally up to you.. some day it’s better with the decoration and the other days just go plain. Either way works as great. I love it without any toppings but this time I made lemon curd slathered on top of my cheesecake for a change. I tried with fruit jam as the topping, everyone loved it. Or… drizzle it with melted chocolate.. yumm!!

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Simple Basic New York Style Cheesecake. ( Makes 8 medium slices)

Source : Luscious Lemon Dessert (Triple-lemon Cheesecake) by Lori Longbotham

The Professional Pastry Chef ( New York Style Cheesecake ) by Bo Friberg

For the crust, you can use any type of cookies/biscuits or digestive biscuits such as vanilla wafer, graham crackers, oreo cookies without the cream – this is recommended , Mc Vities biscuits and the like. I used Marie tea biscuits and it works wonderfully, inexpensive and always in my pantry.

If you have springform pan , use it if otherwise, a medium round pie pan works just fine. I didn’t have any problem using regular baking pan , it is that we need to be careful when slicing the cake so that it won’t crumble or fall apart.

For the Crust:

  • 1 ½ cups Marie tea biscuits crumbs ( approximately 15-16 medium size biscuits processed in a food processor or even in a dry clean blender.. trust me, it works)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melt in a microwave or on stove, let it cool at room temperature. ( if salted butter is used , please omit the salt)

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Methods:

1- First off, preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 Celsius . Butter the bottom and side of a 8 – inch springform or round baking pan.

Crust 1

Crust 2

Crust 3

2- Stir together the crumbs , brown sugar , salt and cooled melted butter with a fork or rubber spatula in a medium bowl until well combined. Press firmly and evenly the crumb mixture into the bottom and the side of the pan with your hands. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the the crust is set. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F / 163 Celsius .

For the cheesecake:

  • 2 packages ( 8 oz each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour or cornstarch
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime or lemon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  • 1 whole large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks , at room temperature
  • ½ cup (125 mL) plain yogurt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Methods:

Filling 1

1- Mix the cream cheese and granulated sugar together using electric mixture at low speed, until completely smooth. Mix in the cornstarch or all purpose flour, lemon/lime zest, lemon/lime juice. Mix until smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add in the whole egg and egg yolks, one at a time, blending thoroughly with spatula after each addition until well incorporated. Incorporate plain yogurt and cooled melted butter .

Filling 2

2- Pour this mixture into the prepared crust. Slowly tilt the pan to even out the mixture.

3- Bake in the preheated oven at 325 F / 163 Celsius until set, approximately 40 – 45 minutes or until the center is almost set but still slightly jiggly ( just like when we make agar-agar or pudding). Do not overbake; the cheesecake will firm as it cools.

4- Cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate the cheesecake in its pan, loosely covered, for at least 8 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

5- Ready to serve if you are not planning for the topping. Slice it with a sharp knife , into wedges and serve.

I proceeded with the topping before serving, again, this is optional.

Filling 3

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Spread the lemon curd over the top of the cheesecake. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes or chilled in the refrigerator for another 1 hour.

Cut into wedges and serve.

August 20, 2009

Pizza Dough Recipe

Filed under: Bakings, Breads, Savories, Side Dishes — nshahida @ 1:18 am

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To all muslim around the world including myself, Ramadhan Mubarak! Food blogging will be slowed a bit, I guess not only during this very blessed month.. the  previous months seemed to be in the same pace. I am sorry for that and not to forget, I owe updates to some posts.. iA will get to it whenever time permits.

When my sister, Sw asked me about a basic pizza dough recipe the other day, I realized I actually haven’t made pizza for a very long time; about a half year I might say. Thanks to her, that was a good wake up call.

I made pizza over the years and have discovered so many different recipes and to my surprise.. they are several kind of them – Neapolitan style and Chicago style ( deep dish) are most popular American fast food . I love to stick with the Neapolitan style which the pizza is baked at a very high temperature and crust itself kept thin but not too thin. The topping of course can be made variety , some people prefer the classic Italian pizza with tomato marinara sauce ,  slices mozzarella cheese, sprinkles of dried oregano leaves and may be  2-3 more add ins. If you like to go the other way such as curry pizza or chocolate drizzle pizza , please do so as long as you enjoy it.

Homemade caramelized Onions topping pizza

Homemade caramelized Onions topping pizza

I like my pizza variety such as caramelized onions on top, sometimes without cheese , loaded with veggies and meat if I wish to go healthier . However, despite of thousands of varieties, the Italian Classic is always on top of all. Anyway, here is one of my favorite never fail pizza dough recipes. This recipe is easier to handle and work with, if you are beginner, try this one and you will have every right to be proud of yourself.

Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

Source: The Professional Pastry Chef

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

  • 1 teaspoons Instant dry yeast (or 30 g fresh yeast)
  • 1 ½ (360 mL) water, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) white sugar
  • ¼ Tablespoons (60 mL) Extra virgin olive oil or Vegetable oil
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) honey ( or another 2 Tablespoons white sugar)
  • 4 ½ cups ( 570 g) all purpose flour or bread flour, more for dusting
  • Enough Semolina flour or cornmeal ( or all purpose flour if that is all you have) for baking sheet

Methods:

1- In a large mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast in water by stirring with wooden spoon or fork. If using fresh yeast , squeezing the yeast with fingers .

2- Mix in the sugar, olive oil, salt and honey.

3- Add the flour and knead with dough hook ( I used my hands) until the dough has a smooth , elastic consistency, about 10 minutes.

4- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn coat both sides with oil, cover with plastic bag or damp kitchen towel, and let rise in warm and draft free place until slightly less than doubled in volume, about 40 – 50 minutes.

5- Place the dough, covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours ( the longer the better- this process makes our pizza dough more flavorful and also makes the dough easy to work with). Return to room temperature before proceeding, ( from my experience, it took me about 45 – 50 minutes but it depends on temperature in your kitchen.)

Pizza 1

6- At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, preheat the oven as hot as your oven can reach, at least 500 F / 260 Celsius. Dust the baking sheet with semolina flour or cornmeal or all purpose flour.

7- Divide the dough in 6 balls. On a floured board, roll and stretch the dough with your hands to make each piece into a circle, 10 to 12 inches (25 to 35 cm) in diameter . ( it depends how thick or thin you want your pizza, the thicker the smaller in diameter and vice versa). If the dough gets a little sticky, sprinkle a little bit more of flour, don’t forget to generously flour your hands, too.

( Note : you can definitely use a rolling pin to roll and stretch your pizza dough but from what I read from many pizza experts, they say stretching with hands give better texture to the final result, to be honest I see the different so try compare yourself)

Pizza 2

8- Top as desired, place it on a prepared thin baking sheet and bake in your preheated oven, bake one at a time. Allow the crust to brown on the bottom and the cheese melted, 10 – 12 minutes , another 2-3 minutes if not browned yet. Do not overbake the pizza.

Note: If you are in a hurry or your oven does not work , try grill it on your pan. On a stove, preheat your pan on high, sprinkle with semolina or cornmeal then place the pizza dough on the pan , let it brown and cook through.

August 5, 2009

Summer Berries Crostata ( Rustic Pie)

Filed under: Bakings, Desserts, Snacks, Uncategorized — nshahida @ 10:31 pm

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I will update more on this later..iA but nothing more interesting than the recipe itself, correct? So feel free to try this with your own creativity and variation for the filling.. make it fascinating.

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Summer Berries Crostata (Rustic Pie)

Source: Ina Garten Cookbook, (Ina at home)

Ingredients

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For the pastry (makes 2 crostatas)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ice water.

For the pastry:

Methods:

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss quickly (and carefully!) with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, roll it into a ball, cut in half, and form into 2 flat disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you only need 1 disk of dough The other disk of dough can be frozen.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to the baking sheet

For the filling (makes 1 crostata)

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh cherries , seeded and sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh milk, for brushing, optional

For the filling:

Methods:

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1-Place blueberries and cherries in a bowl. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the orange zest, and the orange juice.

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Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

2-Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the fruit. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge. Brush the pastry with fresh milk. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.

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3-Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the crostata cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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