cheesecake por nigella por camila

26 Feb

Lá nos idos de 2005 Camila morava em Nova York e foi quando Nigella Lawson escreveu um artigo para o New York Times falando sobre sua história com cheesecakes, e contando que essa história passava por Londres de onde vem sua receita. A Camila, mera leitora mas grande chef e amiga, decidiu guardar a página de jornal e a guardou até encontrar alguém (no caso eu) que ficaria muito feliz em ler seu conteúdo. Como o New York Times é fantástico e tem tudo digitalizado, desde sua primeira edição em 1851!, achei a matéria e copio ela aqui, tim tim por tim tim.

Mas confeso que o gostinho de receber o jornal já meio amarelado de 2005 foi quase como entrar num tunel do tempo… sensação que só as coisas físicas dão…

Aí vai

London Cheesecake, via Newcastle


THERE are few words that make people salivate more easily than “cheesecake,” and I’m not talking about the pinup. Even those without a pronounced sweet tooth (I include myself in that number) can muster an appetite when cheesecake – a dessert that straddles sweet and salty – is on the menu. 

Dishes that have long been part of human history speak most forcefully to us. Small pastries baked with cheese and honey were said to have been served to victors in the first Olympic Games centuries ago.

But cheesecake as we know it is a more recent phenomenon, a legacy of Jews from Germany and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Europe, as they spread throughout the world, taking culinary customs with them.

The popularity of cheesecake is also the story of successful commingling: the Germans provided the recipe, the Americans the cheese. European cheesecakes were generally made with cottage or curd cheese, but what made this dessert so prevalent was the invention of cream cheese by American dairymen in the late 19th century.

I feel somewhat embarrassed because writing about cheesecakes from London is rather like taking oil to Texas. But in my defense, I can only say that there can never be too much cheesecake. Even if New York cheesecake is the standard by which all others must be measured, it is London cheesecake that I wish to introduce to you.

This, similar to a plain New York cheesecake, is an unadulterated, vanilla-scented, sour-cream-sharp version: it can be embellished upon, but never improved.

The recipe here is my paternal grandmother’s, or rather is based on it. She used sieved cottage cheese and a little curd cheese. She did not bake the cake in a water bath, as I always and resolutely do, but had arcane methods that instructed the cook to turn the oven off and leave the cooked cheesecake in it for half an hour, then open the door and leave the cake in the oven for another hour before letting it cool out of the oven and chilling it overnight in the fridge.

This was how she stopped the cheesecake from cracking or splitting as it cooled. I find the water bath method much more reliable, if less amusing. All you need to do is wrap the cake pan in plastic wrap and a double layer of foil, then set the pan in a roasting tray filled with just-boiled water. The texture you get from baking a cheesecake this way is incomparably, celestially light. Once you do it this way, there’s no turning back.

My grandmother would not be amused at all by fancy additions to and corruptions of her recipe, but I take the simple view that if something tastes good, it is good. There is a cheesecake in Britain that is a spinoff of a banoffee pie, a toffee pie made from boiling condensed milk until it is buff-colored, caramelized and thick, then adding sliced bananas. In this recipe, I add mashed bananas to the cheesecake mix, then a little brown sugar along with the white sugar to introduce a slightly caramelized note. I add dark corn syrup to the cracker base, and when I serve the cheesecake, I pour a thick homemade caramel sauce on top. This is heavenly.

The cappuccino cheesecake is perhaps bolder still: a little instant espresso powder is added to the base, more is added to the cream-cheese mix (along with a slug of coffee liqueur, should you have some) and dark brown sugar is used to intensify the deep coffee tones. When you have the chilled cheesecake in front of you, top it with a cloudy mound of softly whipped cream and dust it with cocoa. It may not be a cheesecake for purists but it will certainly keep the rest of us happy.

Link para o jornal, aqui


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