The box arrived right on schedule.
I wanted to make it an Indian sweet but one that I'd never fixed before. Then I had it. Cheesecake. And not just any cheesecake, but the only cheesecake made in India, Chenna Poda from the state of Odisha. It turns out that cheesecake originated there about 50 years ago when a baker left some cottage cheese in a partially warmed oven. The next morning bingo! Cheesecake! I also decided on cheesecake because this is the time of year when all of us are involved in a lot of dessert fixing. Cheesecake always looks great on any Holiday table. As a matter of fact I think cheesecake looks great almost anywhere! I also wanted to create a recipe that would be a bridge between the type of cooking I do most of the time (Indian) and a very familiar dessert for most people.
I decided to make some chenna cheese for the filling. Of course I had to put my own spin on this cheesecake, so I thought I'd make it with a chocolate, chili, graham cracker crust with the aji panca chilis I'd been sent. I'd use the bourbon vanilla beans from the box to flavor it and the maple sugar as a sort of brulee topping. I would caramelize. I would buy a torch! I was excited! I was going to make
Indian Cheesecake With A Chocolate Chili Graham Cracker Crust and a Brulee Top
The first step involved making the Chenna Cheese. If you don't want to try making your own chenna cheese (it's pretty easy just click on the link above for directions) Ricotta cheese makes a great substitute.
Of course I use only the most sophisticated method in my cheesemaking. Note the high tech equipment.
2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of flour
Seed and toast 1 large Marx Foods Aji Panca Chili Pepper. Put the pieces into a spice grinder until you have a fine powder.
1 pack of graham crackers
1 Tbs of Valhrona cocoa powder
1/4 cup of melted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
the ground chili powder
Put the pan with the crust into the freezer for 30 minutes to set. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
All filling ingredients should be at room temperature.
In a large bowl beat together 2 packs of room temperature cream cheese along with 1 cup of chenna cheese and 1 cup of sugar.
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs of flour
Marx Foods Bourbon Vanilla beans.
Take the pan from the freezer, set it on a cookie sheet. Pour the batter into the pan.
Okay, now here's something I learned the hard way. This cheesecake has to rest in the fridge for at least 6 hours before you can eat it. Overnight is better.
Waiting was hard, but boy was it worth it.
Marx Foods Maple Sugar. Ignite a culinary torch and slowly moving it over the surface of the cheesecake but not touching it... melt the maple sugar.
Heat it on the stove till it's red hot, then hold it over the sugar till it melts.
In India this cheese cake doesn't have a crust. In fact it's baked more like a flan with the sugar on the bottom of the pan, batter on top and then upended for serving. Making the cake the way I did crosses it with the version of the cheesecake we're all more familiar with... plus you get to play with a blow torch!
I want to thank the great folks at Marx Foods and Foodie Blogroll for giving me a chance to compete in the Iron Foodie 2010 competition. I hope when voting opens on the 7th you'll give me a vote. I loved my box of goodies and can't wait to do more experimenting with the ingredients I haven't used yet.