Matcha Cheesecake: A very Dr. Seuss-ian dessert

Matcha Cheesecake

Matcha Cheesecake

Green Eggs & Ham?

I mean, come on Sam-I-Am, why couldn’t you have offered something that sounded more appetizing? Say, a green tea cheesecake & raspberries?

I guess Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing because that would not make a very long book.

“Do you like green eggs and ham?”
”Of course I don’t, Sam.”
What about cheesecake??”
”… well duh”

Matcha Cheesecake

Makes one 9-inch cheesecake

2 cups gingersnap crumbs*
1/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups (3 packages) full-fat brick cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Matcha powder
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup heavy cream
Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and lightly grease the inside of a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap the outside of the pan with a large piece of aluminum foil so that the bottom, seam, and sides of the pan are covered and place into a large roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, sugar, salt, and melted butter.  Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepared springform pan and bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until set and just slightly darker.  Remove the pan from the oven and allow the crust to cool.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat one cup of the cream cheese, ½ cup of sugar, the cornstarch, and Matcha powder together on medium-low until creamy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the remaining cream cheese and sugar, mixing on medium-low and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla.  With the mixer running, add in the cream and beat just until completely blended.

Meanwhile, set the kettle to boil.

Gently pour the filling onto the cooled crust, place the cheesecake and roasting pan into the oven and carefully pour boiling water into the base of the roasting pan just so that it comes about 1-inch up the side of the springform pan. This allows the custardy filling of the cheesecake to bake gently and helps reduce the chance of cracks forming on top of your lovely cake.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 ¼ hours or until the edges of the cheesecake pull slightly away from the sides of the pan and the centre of the cake is just set. Cool the cake to room temperature then place it in the fridge to chill for at least 5 hours before serving.

When ready to serve, pop open the springform pan, garnish with fresh raspberries, and slice with a warm knife. 

*Graham cracker crumbs will also taste wonderful

PANNA-MA!... Cotta... with Goat Cheese... scream sang à la Van Halen

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Am I the only one who involuntarily starts singing Panama by Van Halen every time I see panna cotta on a menu? Well, even if I am, it remains a stinking delicious treat with or without the tune.

This is my take on the classic Italian dessert. By adding buttermilk and goat cheese to the mix, it makes for a tangy sweet delight that is oh-so perfect topped with a dollop of lemon curd, whipped cream, or your favourite jam!

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Serves 8

1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
¾ vanilla bean, scraped and pod reserved
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon unflavoured gelatin powder
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup buttermilk

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, vanilla bean pulp and the pod to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the crumbled goat cheese until melted. Remove the mixture from the heat.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it stand for about 1 minute to soften and bloom. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds or until melted and add to the cream and goat cheese mixture. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes then whisk in the buttermilk.

Pour the panna cotta mixture into 8 serving glasses or ramekins and cool to room temperature. Place the panna cottas in the fridge for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

Serve the set panna cottas topped with your favourite jam, some lemon curd, fresh fruit, or a big spoonful of Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam.

Pretty in Pink: Roasted Rhubarb Tiramisu makes Sprinter somewhat bearable

Roasted Rhubarb Tiramisu

Roasted Rhubarb Tiramisu

Sprinter: that horrible time between Winter and Spring where the weather is completely blah and there seems to be both mud and ice freaking everywhere.

While there are approximately 18 zillion things to loath about this time of year, the one saving grace is the wonderful crossover of the tail end of citrus season with the first signs of my favourite tart stalk, rhubarb.

The sweetness of an orange and the tangy sourness of rhubarb play so well together in this oh-so untraditional take on tiramisu. It's the perfect "I'm totally over Winter, bring on Spring" dessert.

Roasted Rhubarb Tiramisu with Orange, Ginger, and Pistachio

Serves 8

For the rhubarb:
½ cup sugar
1 orange, zested and juiced
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
6 cups rhubarb, sliced on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces
One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

For the tiramisu cream filling:
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons dry Marsala wine
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 cups mascarpone cheese
¾ cup chilled whipping cream

For assembly:
¼ cup boiling water
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ cup orange juice
½ cup liquid from roasted rhubarb
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
20–24 store bought ladyfingers
1 cup chopped pistachios

To prepare the rhubarb, stir together the sugar, orange zest, and the pulp from the vanilla bean in a medium mixing bowl.  Add in the rhubarb, sliced ginger, scraped vanilla bean pod, and the juice of the orange into the bowl and stir well to combine.  Allow this to sit at room temperature for 25–30 minutes to allow the rhubarb to release some of its juices.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.  Roast the rhubarb, tossing once about halfway through, for 20–25 minutes or until tender and juicy.  Allow the rhubarb to cool to room temperature.

For the tiramisu cream filling, in a large glass or metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, powdered ginger, marsala, and orange liqueur together.  Place over a pot of simmering water and whip using a wire whisk or handheld electric mixer until the mixture has tripled in volume (this should take around 4-8 minutes).  Remove the bowl from the heat and beat in the vanilla and mascarpone.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature then fold the whipping cream into the mascarpone mixture.

For assembly, stir together the boiling water and powdered ginger in a shallow dish.  Add in the orange juice and orange liqueur.  Set out 8 individual serving dishes and quickly dunk the ladyfingers in the orange ginger mixture until they are lightly soaked.  Break a ladyfinger or two into each serving dish, top with a generous helping of the mascarpone mixture, a spoonful of the rhubarb, and a scattering of pistachios, and then repeat the layers.

Serve immediately or place in the fridge to firm up before serving.

Pumpkin Spice Sour Cream Glazed Doughnuts because Autumn

Pumpkin Spice Sour Cream Glazed Doughnuts

Pumpkin Spice Sour Cream Glazed Doughnuts

The days are starting to get a little shorter and, while we here in Toronto are having some lovely less-than-seasonal warm days, there is no denying that autumn is in the air.  

Barrels of apples are popping up at grocery stores everywhere which usually means apple fritters in my house but I have fallen victim to the tantalizing smell of pumpkin spice that just seems to be ubiquitous this time of year.  

Rather than make a latte or something of that sort, I decided to combine the spicy loveliness that is cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove with my all time favourite doughnut: the oh so delicious and impossibly easy to make sour cream glazed.  

Just to up the ante as far as flavour and fall-i-ness, a little hit of brown butter and maple syrup take these little babies over the edge.

If you're like me and have very little self control when it comes to fried dough, make sure you have a plan to share these puppies with people asap!

Pumpkin Spice Sour Cream Glazed Doughnuts

Makes 12 doughnuts and 12 doughnut holes

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ + 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon clove
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
1 egg
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, browned, and divided
1 + ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
3 – 4 tablespoons warmed milk

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices and make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk/buttermilk, egg, ¼ cup of the browned butter, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.  Pour this wet mixture into the well and mix just until a soft dough forms.  Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare your glaze by mixing the icing sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons of browned butter, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, maple syrup, and 3 tablespoons of warmed milk in a small bowl.  You want this glaze to be on the thinner side so, if needed, add another tablespoon of warmed milk.  Cover the glaze directly with plastic wrap and set aside.

Remove the dough from the fridge and heat about two inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat until a thermometer registers 350F.  On a generously floured work surface, roll out your chilled dough to a ½ inch thickness and, using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible.  Using a 1-inch round cutter, remove the very centre of each circle, giving you doughnuts and doughnut holes! 

Feel free to bring the remaining dough together to reroll and cut out more doughnuts but only do this once as rerolling the dough a third time might make the doughnuts a bit tough.

Before frying, prepare a draining station for your doughnuts by lining a cookie sheet with paper towel and a cooling rack.

Now, it’s time to fry!  Gently lower four or five doughnuts into the hot oil and cook, flipping once, until all the doughnuts are golden brown and lovely.  Remove the cooked doughnuts to the rack-lined cookie sheet and continue to fry until all of your doughnuts and doughnut holes are done.

When cooled, dunk each doughnut in the glaze and allow them to drain and dry on a rack-lined cookie sheet.