“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” —Alan D. WolfeltIt’s. It’s that time of year again! A wonderful day where lovers show they’re appreciation for each other, although every day we should. However, Valentine’s Day is generally spent with your lover or even family; either by exchanging gifts, watching love movies and eating chocolate to set the mood or mostly just having a nice dinner. There are always delicious meals prepared for dinner, but what’s a good dinner without dessert? The most traditional dessert in my country would statistically be cake and ice-cream (we’re not such fancy eaters). Therefore, this Valentine’s Day I’ve decided to surprise my lover and “spice up” this special day with one out of his many favorite desserts ‘my famous homemade Cheese cake’ this year. Well, here’s the way to do a delicious romantic cheesecake dessert that your spouse or family will love and it’s quick and easy! The first step in baking, of course, is to gather all the ingredients necessary for the job. Luckily with this dessert, most of what you need, you’ll already find in your kitchen.
Whatever you don’t have, you can just pick up at your local grocery store: For the crust; 2 cups (475 ml) of Digestive biscuit, 2 Tbsp sugar, Pinch salt, 5 Tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt), melted. For the filling; 2 pounds cream cheese (900 g), room temperature, 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar (270 g), Pinch of salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 4 large eggs, 2/3 cup sour cream (160 ml), 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (160 ml). The toppings; 2 cups sour cream (475 ml), 1/3 cup powdered sugar (35 g), 1 teaspoon vanilla, 12 ounces (340 g) fresh pineapples (whatever fruit you’d rather), 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 g), 1/2 cup water (120 ml). And Special equipment needed; 9×13 inch high sided heavy-duty baking pan, and aluminum foil. You may also need a measuring cup and measuring teaspoons if you want to measure the ingredients evenly. Also, you’ll need a small bowl, to beat the three eggs and melt the butter in, and a large bowl to mix the ingredients together.
Now that you have all your ingredients, you can get started on the fun, but first Prepare the pan so that no water leaks into it while cooking. Place a large 18-inch by 18-inch square of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the sides of the foil around the pan. Make sure to do this gently so that you don’t create any holes in the foil. If there are any holes, water will get into the pan and ruin the crust. Press the foil around the edges of the pan. Place a second large square of foil underneath the pan, and repeat, gently folding up the sides of the foil around the pan and pressing the foil against the pan. Gently crimp the top of the foil sheets around the top edge of the pan. Then, preheat oven to 350°F, with rack in lower third of oven. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Put in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt.
Use your (clean) hands to stir in the melted butter. Put all but 1/4 cup of the crumbled digestive biscuit in the bottom of the pan. (Save the remaining 1/4 cup for if you happen to have any holes that need to be filled in, either while you are making the crust, or after the cake has cooked and you’ve unmolded it.) Gently press down on the crumbs using your fingers, until the crumbs are a nice even layer at the bottom of the pan, with maybe just a slight rise along the inside edges of the pan. Be careful as you do this, as not to tear the aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. On to the filling now, cut the cream cheese into chunks and place in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes until smooth, soft and creamy. Add the sugar, beat for 4 minutes more. Add the salt and vanilla, beating after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the sour cream, beat until incorporated. Add the heavy cream, beat until incorporated.
Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and scrape up any thicker bits of cream cheese that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer that paddle attachment has failed to incorporate. Place the foil-wrapped pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan. Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water. Pour the cream cheese filling into the pan, over the graham cracker bottom layer. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place the roasting pan with the pan in it, in the oven, on the lower rack. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan (without touching the hot oven), to create a water bath for the cheesecake, pouring until the water reaches halfway up the side of the pan, about 1 1/4 inches. (Alternatively you can add the water before putting the pan in the oven, whichever is easier for you.) Cook at 325°F for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the heat of the oven. Crack open the oven door 1-inch, and let the cake cool in the oven, as the oven cools, for another hour.
This gentle cooling will help prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking. Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn’t actually touch the cheesecake. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight. To prepare the sour cream topping you place sour cream in a medium sized bowl, stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla, until smooth. Chill until you are ready to serve the cake. Note that this recipe produces enough sour cream topping for a thick topping and some extra to spoon over individual pieces of cheesecake, if desired. If you would like a thinner layer of topping and no extra, reduce the sour cream topping ingredients in half. And to prepare the pineapple sauce, Place pineapples, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Use a potato masher to mash the pineapples. Heat on medium, whisking, about 5 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Let cool. Now it’s time to serve my cake; remove the cake from the refrigerator.
Remove the foil from the sides of the pan, and place the cake on your cake serving dish. Run the side of a blunt knife between the edge of the cake and the pan. You may use a hair dryer to heat the sides of the pan to make it easier to remove if any problems occur. Gently open the pan and lift up the sides and spread the top with the sour cream mixture. Serve plain or drizzled with pineapple sauce. Finally, I’m set! My lover came over with the intensions of having the same old valentine’s restaurant date. Well, I surprised him this time with a special dessert. Not just any dessert but ‘His Favorite.’ It was a real surprise actually because he always told me how much he loved this dish and knowing that I specialize in baking in my community, he proposed that I made one for him but I lingered which gave him the impression that I wasn’t going to do it.
But what kind of girlfriend would I be if I didn’t grant my boyfriend that has been so good to me wish? Nevertheless, after dinner I brought out dessert as promised and surprised him with the cheesecake neatly done and placed it in front of his eye which was filled with awe. I oozed out some whipped cream on the top to give it some added sweetness. My boyfriend loved my homemade cheesecake so much that he named it ‘Romance cheesecake’ and it became a regular craving for him. This year, I made valentine’s day “really” special for us. Why not surprise your spouse with my tasty ‘Romance cheese cake?’ I know he or she will love it as well.