Crack ain’t whack!
I know, I know. I’ve been gone a long time. By any standards, an absence from blogging for this amount of time constitutes digital suicide (gasp), but to be completely frank… those who know me will know that it’s not why I blog in the first place.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. So, I sincerely hoped you missed me. Sure, the last time I posted anything was last year October. And since then, my life has been busier than a fork at Kelly Clarkson’s house. (Yup, I just went there).
Speaking of Kelly Clarkson… “Since you’ve been goooooone”, there’s been a ski holiday, a move and a subsequent knee op (from the skiing, not the moving. #fatpants). There’s been some baking, some oven burns and even more bitching! So, of course, it’s safe to say I’m back with a head full of crazy stories, and a heart full of people I just can’t wait to bake for.
Here I am with my first edition for 2016. Hold on to your Kitchen Aids, bitches. This one’s a Crème Brûlée Cheesecake and I’m not kidding when I say it’s certified cae… Pronounced, “kay” (basically, when a cheesecake is bae).
A torched sugar top completes this impossibly velvety cheesecake. The torching itself is more theatrical than Lira on the Voice SA (gag) but it also makes for the most delectable crunch when your spoon goes in for more. (It might also be the sound of your significant other’s heart shattering when you take the last bite of theirs). Singletons and Bridget Jones impersonators rejoice! You can hog this one with reckless abandon in your granny panties. But should you be of the more involved variety, please keep your spoon to yourself… some things are better left unshared. (Disclaimer: Baking and B will not be held responsible for any domestics and/or splits on the account of cheesecake disputes. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!)
Here’s the sentimental part… (You know me, there’s always one. #emotionsparty) This cheesecake is a lot like people. You know, the ones who are hard on the outside, yet impossibly soft and sweet on the inside. Sure, it takes a bit of time to get through the first layer and see what they’re actually about, but once you’ve broken through, you can’t help but love them. This cheesecake – like these people, is well worth the trouble, and we shouldn’t ever forget that…
Most of the time when you think of a crack, it’s something negative. The Japanese are known for the art of Kintsukuroi, fixing broken pottery with molten gold.
The idea behind this is to make something all the more beautiful for being broken. (Shit’s deep, son!) So, with this in mind, I say – fear not the crack. Sure, this cheesecake will look a little rough around the edges once it’s torched and cut, so you won’t get perfectly neat slices. Get over yourself. So what if it’s a little rough around the edges? (Aren’t we all?)
For me, the crack of this Crème Brûlée Cheesecake couldn’t be more positive. It’s symbolic of that moment where you know you’ve absolutely nailed it! It can be likened to the penny dropping, that elusive light bulb, and the pieces falling into place. It’s actually the perfect example of how eventually, everything connects.
If you were expecting my first post of 2016 to contain a couple New Year’s resolutions, you would be wrong. There’s only one. Ha. And it’s to welcome the cracks – all of them. It might be the gap between one relationship and the next (the “dreaded” singlehood), the cracks that threaten your dreams or even worse, the cracks in your personality (harsh, but fair). We should always remember one thing about cracks, they can be always be filled. Soon, dust settles in them, weather wears them smooth or even better; a tiny seed sprouts between them and grows into something beautiful. Some cracks won’t last forever, but of ones that might, it’s never too late to make them our friends. And when all else fails, grab a slice of this cheesecake, it makes a great poly filler.
In case you’re confused about the white Easter eggs in the images… I was meant to post this for Easter. But you know, shit doesn’t always pan out the way we’d like it to. Plus, it’s actually me petitioning for the availability of Easter eggs all year round!
So with that said, this one’s for Faye who refuses to crack under pressure, for Gee who is the glue to all my cracks, and for Kays who just cracks me up.
Yours in Baking, Bitching, and a resounding SMACK (because “xoxo” was too mainstream and because forget what you heard… crack ain’t whack).
Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
For the base:
1 packet of digestive biscuits
5 tablespoons of salted butter
For the filling:
3 x 250g tubs of cream cheese (full fat. YOLO)
1 and 1/3 cups of caster sugar
A vanilla pod (de-seeded with the pod reserved)
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 and ½ cups of cream
10 large egg yolks (keep the whites to make meringues or something)
For the topping:
Extra caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Tear 3 square pieces of tin foil, big enough to overlap the top of your springform tin. Wrap the srpingform with each piece, one at a time, being careful not to tear the foil and making sure it is secure against the tin.
- Make the base by blitzing the biscuits in a food processor and mixing with the melted butter.
- Press into the greased and prepared springform tin and bake for 10 minutes. Don’t get fancy with a side crust, you don’t need it. DON’T TEAR THE FOIL!!!
- Remove base from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Lower the oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese for 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as you go.
- Add the sugar and salt and beat for another 2 minutes, scraping down the sides.
- Meanwhile, add the cream and vanilla (seeds and scraped pod) to a saucepan on the stove and heat it gently. It needs to be warm, not boiling. Remove the empty vanilla pod.
- Slowly pour the cream through a sieve into the egg yolks and whisk well! Keep whisking until all the cream is totally incorporated.
- Add the egg mixture to the cream cheese mixture and mix well. Scrape down the sides to ensure an even filling.
- Take an oven dish deep enough for your springform tin and place the tin in it. Pour the filling on top of the base.
- Fill the oven dish with hot water from the tap, until the water goes at least half way up the side of the springform.
- Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour and 35 minutes. If it starts to get too brown on top, turn off the oven.
- When the cheesecake is baked, open the door of the oven for half an hour so the cheesecake can start to get to room temperature.
- Take the cheesecake out of the oven and out of the water bath and leave to cool.
- When it’s at room temperature, refrigerate overnight.
- To serve: sprinkle a healthy dose of caster sugar and torch until caramelized. Don’t be shy on the sugar or torching, fortune favours the brave!
Health Hack: Best served with a glass of water. HA.