Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lori's Simply Sinful Cheesecake, a Cranky Oven & a Potluck

For a long time now, I have had the suspicion that my oven was not telling me the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when it came to its temperature. I finally got a proper oven thermometer and nearly gagged at the hefty price of 15.50 Euros. Ah well, all for greater bakes eh?

With my spanking new thermometer, I was ready to play kitchen doctor to my old Technogas convention oven. When I placed the thermometer into the oven to start my tests, I started hearing this cranky-ticky sound (more crank than tick) . I was even half afraid it would blow up in my face (Can you envision the headlines: Girl Dies in Oven Blast BEFORE baking her cheesecake!). I realised that not only does the temperature mark of my oven not read true, but the temperature within does not stay constant. (Does that mean the treatment for this patient is to tell him to R.I.P. and get a brand new oven?)

Anyways, with the ingredients for Lori's Simply Sinful Cheesecake already in the fridge, I decided to take my chances and bake anyway. I read that it was really important to ensure there were no lumps and hence, spent some time creaming my creamcheese (parodoxical rhetoric?) before adding the condensed milk. I had to use my untrustworthy sense of estimation here for an entire can of condensed milk weighed 397gms when the receipe only called for approx. 325gm.

My crust had a bad time because it had to bake in the ticking bomb of an oven first. The temperature was so hard to control that the crust had to sit in the oven for at least 30 mins before I was satisfied that it was sufficiently baked. Thereafter I said a silent prayer that the crust would turn out fine and not crumble all over itself in distress.

Similarly, I was more edgy when it was time to bake the cheesecake/crust concoction. In the end, I spent the entire 50mins babysitting the oven, staring at the thermometer every 5-10mins. Adjusting the temperature ever so slightly to achieve the 180degree celsius heat required. Each turn of the knob took at least 10mins to effect and hence, it was a rather harrowing and backbreaking task. Would you believe I actually brought my novel out to read throughout this hour?

The receipe I tried out was great except that I used granulated sugar instead of castor sugar and hence, I could taste the crunch in the cookie base. I ended up topping the cake with blueberries so that I could cover the slightly overbrowned appearance at the top of the cake. Here is my creation (once again, excuse the bad photography):

Ok to be frank, in my elation that Lori's cheesecake receipe was practically foolproof, I forgot to take a proper pic of the cake after it was topped with blueberries. The taste of the cheesecake astounded me. My colleagues told me that this tastes like a cheesecake from a good bakeshop, less the slightly tough crust (my fault, not Lori's). I also found out not many people like a thick crust. But after tasting Lori's Cheesecake receipe, I must say the crust is actually pretty good at cutting thru the cheesyness of the cream cheese.

A couple of days later, I was invited to a potluck by some friends. Being quick to notice that no one had offered dessert, Lori's Simply Sinful Cheesecake instantly came to mind. I was nervous on the day of the potluck.

When I arrived at the potluck, I was surprised that no one commented much on my cheesecake. Most of em had their maids cook for them, the late comers bought stuff on the way over. Nevertheless, I sat thru the entire dinner and drinks till late. When it was time to have the cheesecake, friends started oohing and ahhing and asked when did I have time to pick it up since I had a packed schedule that day. Blinking back my confusion, I told them I simply rushed home in a cab and got it outtav the fridge before rushing to their place. There was a moment of silence before everyone started chirping at the same time. It seems that the cake looked so professionally done (with my store bought plastic see-thru cover and maroon base) with the decoration, shape and smell that everyone had naturally assumed that I had bought the cake. My My!

I was nervous that the taste of the cheesecake might not live up to its over-emphasized appearance and when realised that due to the inconsistency of my oven, the crust was superbly hard, my heart fell. It took a guy two hands to cut thru (oops!). I had also swirled a couple tablespoons of the blueberries into the mixture for continuance to its blueberry-ed top. Everyone finished their cheesecake and those who loved harder crusts, ate their cheesecake first and then actually picked up the crust to eat as a biscuit. Gosh... the compliments were overflowing and my head got so inflated that it almost couldn't fit thru the doorway of the host's house when the party was over.

Again... coz everyone was so eager to eat the cheesecake that I never got a chance to unveil my digicam from its pouch to take a pic of the cheesecake in its entirety. Here is another bad pic of my slice of the cake:

Thanks Lori.. you saved my life!!!!
Verdict: SUCESS!

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