Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Huckleberry Cheesecake

I had quite the time in the kitchen last Thursday and Friday making this amazingly delicious cheesecake. You might be wondering why I used huckleberries since they certainly don't grow here in Iowa. Well, this was a birthday present for my boyfriend Josh who grew up in Montana where he ate and picked a lot of huckleberries. So huckleberries (canned, which I ordered from a farm in MT) it was! I used a blueberry cheesecake recipe from epicurious and sought the advice of one of the helpful ladies in the test kitchen at work for the amount of cornstarch to use to thicken up the topping which was actually a breeze to make.

Here are a few things I learned from making this:
1. I dislike springform pans. I think that someone should develop a new version of a pan that allows you to release the sides after baking, but that has a tight seal around the bottom. I cooked this in a water bath, per the recipe, and carefully and tightly wrapped it the pan in one large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. I was really worried that the water would leak and it did, a bit. Thankfully, the rest of the cake was so good that it was easy to overlook that the crust wasn't as dry as it should have been. Still, it was very frustrating.
2. I really like cheesecake, both in batter form and when fully baked.
3. Having been raised very close to the Blueberry Capital of the World (or so says the signage in Hammonton, NJ), I will always view them as my favorite berry. But, I can see the appeal of huckleberries (did you know they are called "purple gold"?) because they definitely have a distinct flavor and a lovely color. Whether one is better than the other, I can't say and I'm pretty convinced there is room in my world for both!
4. Cheesecake for breakfast is an excellent idea. Particularly with coffee.
5. A 10" inch spring form pan makes an enormous cheesecake. I carefully wrapped up a few pieces and tucked them into the freezer. I probably won't wait all that long to enjoy them, so I hope they hold up!

The other big food news from my kitchen this weekend is that I made a minestrone using vegetables from my CSA share (fennel, shallot, potatoes, celery, yellow squash, tomatoes, white beans) and I stirred in some homemade pesto. My thoughts about vegetable soup are forever changed because it was so ridiculously good due to the pesto. If there was ever a doubt that I'd eat my way through my weekly produce share, it's entirely gone. I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend and happy back to school to those of you (like my mom, who's a school nurse) starting this week.