Saturday, December 13, 2014

Coffee Cheesecake, or This Semester's Over!

Mazel tov to us at A Book of Cookrye, for we have survived finals! Today, we shall celebrate by making something absolutely divoon- cheesecake!

Coffee Cheesecake
3 tbsp butter
¼ c sugar, divided
¼ c cocoa
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp instant coffee
3 tbsp powdered milk
½ c (scant) boiling water
32 oz cream cheese or Neufchâtel
2¼ c sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp cornstarch

Heat oven to 350°. Line a 9" springform with foil and grease it lightly.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. When mixed, add the egg yolk. (You may find it easiest to just mix this with your hand.) Press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Dissolve the coffee in the water, then the milk. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese soft. Beat in the sugar thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each in thoroughly. Stir in the cornstarch. When mixed, add the coffee. Beat until well-mixed and pour into the pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until it pulls away from the sides of the pan. The center still won't look set. Cool, then refrigerate.

I copied this recipe out of the instruction manual for a mixer I got for a friend. Despite having never actually made it, I glued it into my little recipe book. It's bothered me for years that I have a recipe in my personal recipe book that I've never actually made. But cream cheese tends to burn up one's grocery budget. Or at least, it usually does.
Lacking anything else to cut it with, I had to hack off butter pieces with a beater until I had enough.

However, the other week I had nothing left to make for supper. Like a lot of people who need food tend to do, I went to the store which had unexpectedly closed early. Maybe I shouldn't put off groceries until midnight, but since I sleep all day, there you have it. Anyway, I've heard rumors that grocery stores tend to throw things out well before they're expired because people are just that picky. Being extremely hungry, it seemed like a decent time to personally verify or disprove this. And.... holy snizzbat are they right! Among other things like bagged vegetables and such for supper and frozen breakfast stuff with an expiry date 9 months in the future, there was a lot of cream cheese in there. Hence, cheesecake!
Why just the yolk? What was wrong with the rest of the egg, you picky snots?

At this point, I realized that I was missing a 9" springform pan. My parents have them, but I don't. Besides, what do you use a springform pan for besides cheesecake? The only other time I've ever used one was when I made a "screw it, I'm home by myself" pizza on the bottom part of one.  It wasn't very good. We at A Book of Cookrye, using what was available, gave our pot a tinfoil hat.

Now, when I first decided to make this, I just thought it sounded tasty. I was too tired to even think about what I was doing. I would like to show you the exact moment I seriously reconsidered what I was perpetrating.

Why no, I didn't rinse the bowl after making the crust.

This thing calls for four bricks of cream cheese. That's two pounds of the stuff. Please, look at this again.

Usually I use that Neufchâtel stuff because it's not straight fat but you can't tell the difference once it's baked. However, since they weren't chucking any out the night I was scavenging, this is all full-fat cream cheese. All nearly-a-kilo of it.
Adding a third of a dozen eggs is not helping.

But you know what'll make this all better? Over a pound of sugar!
The Diabetes Fairy just took out her book and put a triple-underlined mark next to my name.

At this point the original recipe says I'm supposed to mix my instant espresso, by which they clearly meant dollar-store coffee granules (we used double quantity because it's kinda weak), with half-and-half. What the ever-loving... All right, at this point they're just screwing with us. Maybe they hope all the people who bought their mixer will die of heart attacks before the mixers fail and they file complaints. We decided to use milk instead. Then we got a whiff of the milk in the refrigerator and got out the milk powder.
I had nothing else to mix it all together with.

And so, we dumped the reconstituted coffee and reconstituted milk onto the diabetic heart attack in the mixing bowl.

Awww, look at the cute cream cheese heart!
A reminder of which part of you will give up upon eating this.

This is the most batter I've ever tried to fit in my mixing bowl for a single cake. I think they might have accidentally doubled the filling ingredients when they typed up the recipe.

Anyway, we indeed made a lovely cheesecake. It took two people, but we got it lifted out of the pot. It went into the freezer for an hour, at which point patience ran out. My friends and I didn't care that it still hadn't cooled enough to set in the middle, we wanted to try it now. And so, we unpeeled the foil to reveal...

All right, we failed presentation. It looked even worse when we cut it open and the center started barfing cream cheese goo onto the foil. But I would be lying if I said it wasn't absolutely amazing and delicious. The crust was too thin- I'd have doubled it so there'd be lots of chocolaty goodness at the bottom. Nevertheless, I was swarmed with sad people who were also dazed from finals and one person seeking a hangover cure. Everyone left sated and happy. But dear God, either cut the filling in half or double the crust and make it in a 9x13 pan.