cheese

Figgy Pudding Cheesecake

Posted on December 23, 2020 at 9:56 pm

So, you want a plum pudding cheesecake. I have you covered. Yes, the title says figgy pudding…. this has both figs and plums in it, so I still have you covered!

This is a crustless cheesecake. You are welcome to add one if you wish.

  • 3 packs cream cheese (8oz / 225g each)
  • 1 cup white sugar or equivalent (7oz / 200g)
  • 1 cup sour cream (240g)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (230g)
  • 3 tbsp flour of choice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 oz (60g) each dried figs, plums, and 2 other dried fruits of choice, cut into roughly equal sized pieces, for a total weight of 8.5oz / 240g
  • Preheat oven to 350f / 180c. Boil kettle.

    Put sugar in bottom of mixer bowl. Put the 3 packets of cream cheese on top. Mix on medium speed until completely combined. Blend in the sour cream, heavy cream, and then the eggs one at a time, making sure each is completely incorporated before adding the next. Blend in the vanilla and flour.

    Remove bowl from mixer. Fold in the chopped dried fruit. Split between two 9 inch / 23cm pie pans. Place pie pans in deep baking dish and pour boiling water into the baking dish until it comes half way up the pie pan.

    Bake for 60 minutes, or until the centre of the cheesecake is mostly set – you’re looking for a slight wobble.

    Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Serve cold with mulled wine, a Wassail cup, or a nice cuppa tea.

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
    Share

    Sodium citrate

    Posted on September 5, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Is a moderately expensive substance to buy.

    But why would you buy some anyway?

    Because you can turn any cheese into melty cheese. How’d you like a slab of “processed cheese” that melts just like those cheese slices, but it’s made from an actual cheese? Sodium citrate does it. It’s also used in molecular gastronomy, but I don’t do that. Yet… 😉

    But why would you buy it.. when you can make it? Well, I am a cheapskate. So I made it.

    I provide weights in metric first. Accuracy is important in this recipe so please use metric if you can.

  • 125g (1/2 cup) water
  • 97g (3.42oz) sodium bicarbonate / bicarbonate of soda / baking soda
  • 74g (2.61oz) citric acid
  • Add the citric acid to the water. Stir till the citric acid is dissolved. Warning before adding the baking soda – it will fizz like mad. Make sure the pot you use is a large one.

    Add the baking soda. Stir thoroughly while it’s fizzing. Once the foam dies down, it will fizz gently for a while – possibly over an hour. Keep an eye on the pot, and stir from time to time if you start seeing any cloudiness.

    Once the fizzing has died down, heat the liquid on medium-high until it comes to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and keep stirring. You want to cook off all the water. Stir constantly, you want to break up the crystals as they form.

    Once all the water is cooked off, you’re left with what looks like slightly odd shaped salt. That’s your sodium citrate.

    The thickness of the cheese product will depend on the ratio of liquid to cheese. If you weigh the cheese and then add the liquid as a percent of the weight you will get:

  • Cheese plus 0% to 35% liquid – firm, moulded cheese, cheese slices
  • Cheese plus 35% to 85% liquid – thick and flowing cheese sauce, good for dips and quesos
  • Cheese plus 85% to 120% liquid – thin cheese sauce, cheese foam, fondues, mac and cheese
  • Cheese plus 120% liquid or more – continues to become thinner and thinner.
  • Add sodium citrate at 2% to 3% of the combined weight of the cheese and the liquid. As a specific example, to make a tasty cheese slice:

  • 400g/14oz aged cheddar, shredded
  • 140g/5oz water
  • 15g/0.53oz sodium citrate
  • Add the sodium citrate to the water, stir while heating over low-medium until it’s dissolved, add the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Quickly transfer to a plastic wrap lined mould and refrigerate until completely cold. Slice thinly and melt over your burgers!

    Further customisation – instead of cheddar, why not try blue? Or pepperjack/blue cheese blend? What about the liquid – again, let your imagination go wild. Water, milk, cream, stock, beer, what do you want to add? What will go with your final dish?

    Since sodium citrate brings a salty, sour taste it’s important to use appropriate proportions while keeping the flavour of the dish in mind. But with it being so cheap to make, you can experiment to your heart’s content.

    Final note – a double batch of this yields 231g, or just over a half pound of SC. This should keep you in experimental materials for quite a few batches!

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
    Share

    Velveeta

    Posted on August 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Now that I have your attention…. here’s how to make a home made version of Velveeta, only from actual cheese!

  • 1/4 ounce packet unflavoured gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) boiling water
  • 1 pound (16oz/450g) shredded cheese
  • Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap.

    Put gelatin and powdered milk into a blender. Add boiling water and process immediately until smooth. Add cheese and continue blending until mixture is very smooth.

    Pour mixture into pan and smooth out with a spatula. Cover with more plastic wrap then refrigerate until firm.

    Use in any recipe that calls for melty cheese… with the added advantage that you control which cheese it is. I use a blend of cheaper orange block cheese for the bulk of the cheese, then add in a stronger cheese for flavour. You can totally play around with this, using offcuts and bits of leftover cheese to make a cheese loaf that suits you perfectly… then melt it over some delicious burgers, or use it for Mac N Blue Cheese….

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
    Share

    Cheese straws and obesity

    Posted on March 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

    You should make this recipe as soon as possible, because it is that awesome. But I will identify why I think this sheds some interesting light on the obesity problem:

    Cheese Straws
    1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
    4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
    3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1 tablespoon half-and-half or cream or milk

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, or use a pastry knife if you lack a food processor. Add the dairy and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
  • On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8-by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza wheel), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut).
  • Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.
  • Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool. Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days. They will not last an hour at a party.
  • Recipe from smitten kitchen, which is a great website – you should go there and read for a while, I’ll be here when you get back ;).

    So, why do I think that this sheds some light on the obesity problem? Because, as utterly amazing as these cheese straws are, they are a hyper-palatable food.

    Wait, what’s a hyper-palatable food? In a nutshell, they are foods that are laden almost – but not quite – to the excess point with fat, salt, and sugar. They fall just short of being sickeningly sweet, inedibly salty, or leaving a puddle of grease behind. The effect of this is to over-stimulate your brain’s pleasure/reward system which leaves you craving more even when you are already full.

    To deconstruct this recipe, it has fat (cheese, butter, dairy); salt (salt and cheese); sweet (lactose in the dairy and caramelised proteins in the browned bits of the stick); and protein (also known as umami) – cheese again. Add in the crushed red pepper and you have capsaicin, which activates all your taste buds.

    Putting it simply, if you eat one of these you will reach for another while still chewing the first mouthful. This explains how so much junk food, burgers, pizzas, and so on get sold every year – people are almost addicted to the “rush” they get from ingesting the hyper-palatable, fatty, salty, sugary food-type-substances that are being sold with billion dollar advertising budgets.

    I am serious when I say “make this recipe”. It tastes awesome, but it is also deeply educational when you start paying attention to what is going on in your mouth and in your brain. In my case, it is helping me avoid junk foods, which will reflect itself in my waistline in due course.

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
    Share

    Top