Recently it was my turn to host our weekly gathering of foreigners, providing the perfect opportunity to make my first-ever cheesecake. It was always something on my list of things I wanted to try, but seemed a bit mysterious, not to mention expensive. The mystique of things like springform pans, paddle vs. whisk vs. food processor, etc, made me think twice every time I thought about giving it a shot.
But recently the situation changed. First, our import store started carrying a fairly inexpensive brand of cream cheese, sold in bulk. I have this great product in my refrigerator at the moment. Second, my friend Rachel gave me her Williams Sonoma Baking cookbook which had several luscious looking cheesecake recipes in it, all of which required using a food processor, which I also have. Third, I was given a springform pan from some dear friends in Iowa last Christmas. It got slightly bent in the shipping but some careful bending on my part restored it to its lovely round shape.
So it seemed like now was as good a time as any to give it a try. I followed the recipe to a T, and it did not disappoint! I decided to make a white chocolate cheesecake, since it only required one pound of cream cheese (as opposed to some of the plainer versions which needed 2 pounds!) and I thought that would be cheaper. On that point, however, I was wrong. It needed 10 oz (2 cups) of white chocolate and that really added up! Note to self for next time . . . the versions with more cream cheese would have actually been less expensive. Oh well, when you're making cheesecake you can't quibble over the price!
The cheesecake turned out beautifully, creamy and rich with a subtle white chocolate flavor. The fresh strawberries on top were just for fun, but added to the whole experience. Everyone seemed to enjoy it--even my husband, who isn't a huge fan of sweets. Clara Anne ate the crust and the strawberries, but Chloe enjoyed the cake part as well.
I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't take forever to make--of course Lou helped me and did all the dishes afterwards, but still it was not as time-consuming as I expected. I was also happy to find that the flavors intensified by the third day; I actually ate the last sliver for breakfast on Sunday (it was made on Friday) with a cup of Decaf Verona and it was like a mini-vacation, there at my breakfast table. Yum! Sorry you weren't all here for it, but enjoy the pictures of my first cheesecake attempt!