I would start off this post by wishing everyone a Happy New Year! I'm so grateful for 2010 that I'm still doing work that I enjoy and doing my hobby (baking that is) at the same time. Although I must say that compared to 2009, I baked A LOT more in 2010 and I'm glad that at least I think I'm growing in terms of knowledge. I also get to see and spend time with my mom, twin sis, and my other brother that I haven't met for years.
We just got back from a 5-day road trip this morning at 4am. I must say that the trip was very tiring, lots of driving (it is a road-trip) and coldness, but we got to see and experience quite a bit of stuff. We started the trip by driving down to Death Valley, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere I think. The weather was quite warm in there too, about 60 F while the rest of the country is blistering cold. We also went to Utah and saw Bryce Canyon, the trip wasn't quite as we anticipated as there was a snow storm on the two days we were in the area. It was literally hurting when the freezing wind of snow hits your skin, we had to cover our entire skin including the eyes (by wearing glasses) to protect it from the harshness of the wind. Because of that, we didn't get to see much of Bryce Canyon and most of the area are covered with strong winds carrying snow that looked like a thick fog. This whole experience reminded me when I was staying at Michigan for a short period of time. Snow can be real pretty like in Lake Tahoe when it's calm and white, but not so pleasant this time :). I think we got back at the right time because my body almost gave up on me on the last day, I started to feel the sign of sickness all over and I can feel it's crying for a rest. I was so ecstatic to finally being able to sleep in my own bed, back to civilization where I can have internet access and my favorite coffee back, oh the joy.
Mascarpone Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce. When he came and picked up the cake, I was so delighted to meet a really nice and down-to-earth person. He sent me another email afterward to say how everyone enjoyed the cake and even sent me pictures. Nothing is more rewarding to me than to be able to be a part of such joy in other people's live and I hope that I can continue to at least make a difference one cake at a time in the future.
Yield: one 9" round springform pan (or equal size)
125 g slivered almonds, toasted
75 g graham cracker crumbs
35 g sugar
4 Tbs. melted butter
Cheesecake Filling:2 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
2 (8-oz) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
200 g sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice (you can add some zest to it too)
1/2 vanilla bean seeds or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil (you can triple-wrap this to make sure that the water doesn't seep in)
- To make the crust, grind finely the almonds, sugar and graham cracker in a food processor.
- Add the melted butter and process until moist crumbs form.
- To save time, I usually use ready-use almond powder (the one I used to make macarons), this way, I don't have to use my big food processor to do the job
- Press the mixture onto the bottom of 9" springform pan
- Bake until it is set and beginning to brown about 12-15 minutes. Let cool
- Decrease the oven temperature to 325 F
- To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar with a paddle attachment until smooth and creamy, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl
- Add lemon juice, zest (if using, or you can also rub the zest with the sugar in the beginning), and vanilla bean
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition
- Pour cheese mixture onto the cooled crust
- Prepare a waterbath (classic method for cheesecake and custard preparation)
- Place the springform pan in a waterbath and bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 10 minutes (the cheesecake will firm up after cooled)
- Transfer the cake on a rack and cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, overnight and up to two days.
- Serve it plain or with any condiments you like.
Looking forward to what 2011 will bring and I have nothing to worry about as I know that my God has planned everything well for me :)