May 28, 2007

BLT Cheesecake with Lemon Aioli

Despite having worked all weekend and feeling physically exhausted, I was restless when I got home from the winery last night. So, I decided to cook since cooking has lately given me a feeling of calm satisfaction.

At 8:30 pm, I started making this BLT cheesecake recipe that I’ve had saved for a while now. I figured that I could lunch on it the rest of the week. It begins with a wheat cracker & butter crust that is baked for about 10 minutes. Right away I was skeptical. The recipe said to mix the cracker crumbs and melted butter in the food processor before pressing it into the springform pan. But all the butter stayed on the bottom of the bowl, and I guess I was too brain fried to think to mix it by hand. The crust, therefore, seemed weak and crumbly.

Nevertheless, I forged onward.

The filling is made from one pound of cream cheese, 15 ounces of whole milk ricotta, a cup of sour cream, four eggs, an entire package of cooked bacon, a half cup of sundried tomatoes packed in oil, some shallots, chives, salt, and pepper.

This is no diet food, my friends.

I poured the mixture into the prepared crust and baked it for over an hour, until the filling was set and the top was lightly browned. Then, I let it cool while I made the lemon aioli. I was nervous about this part, as I’ve heard that mayo (aioli is basically mayo with garlic) is somewhat difficult to make. But, it was a breeze! I pureed crushed garlic, 2 egg yolks, and some lemon juice in the food processor, then I slowly drizzled in a cup of olive oil. It came together nicely. I added some seasonings (salt, pepper, cayenne, oregano) and a little water to thin it out a bit. And, I have to admit...I was totally impressed with myself.

At 10:30, everything was ready to eat. I put some baby greens on a plate, topped it with a slice of the cheesecake, sprinkled on some chopped tomato, then spooned on some of the aioli. I felt a little like Julie Powell. She was always writing about cooking dinner for hours and not eating until late, sometimes around midnight.

The cheesecake tasted good, but was still warm so it had the texture of soft scrambled eggs. (The recipe says to let it cool 1-2 hours). The bacony flavor contrasted well with the cool lettuce (though, I think a crispier lettuce would be better) & tomatoes and the creamy, tangy mayo.

This morning, I tried another piece for breakfast. The cheesecake had cooled in the fridge and now had a very dense texture, much like you’d expect of cheesecake. And the aioli was still melded together, no separation at all, and the flavors had time to come together. It was delicious, refreshing despite the richness.

So, I have to pat myself on the back for this one. No disasters. Even that crumbly crust held together and looked absolutely gorgeous when the springform pan was removed.

I am so excited about this that I am going to have to make a dessert cheesecake very soon. I am thinking about blueberry swirl.....

1 comment:

Erin said...

mmmmmm...
blueberry swirl anything is a safe bet.