Vanilla-Flecked Cheesecake with Beurre Noisette Crust #FoodieReads
You might remember how much I love female detective stories. And Jasmine Webb is prolific creator of those. I am posting this after reading the first of the Mackenzie Owens mysteries, Dead to Rights by Jasmine Webb.
You may remember I posted about Webb's Charlotte Gibson mysteries in Double Starch, Pineapple on Pizza, and Passionfruit Panna Cotta and about her Poppy Perkins books in Japanese Curry Rice for a Date Night. Mackenzie Owens is the protagonist in this series. I read both the first and second books.
On the Page
Mack has just moved from the United States to Cornwall after finding out that she has inherited a house and a bookstore from a father she never knew. The only problem: her grandmother, Maggie, was also told she inherited the same house and bookstore...and Maggie didn't know Mac existed before! When they go to the bookstore together, they discover a dead body. That launches them into trying to solve the murder. The banter between the two women was hilarious and, then, there is the budding romance between Mack and a private investigator.
This, like all of Webb's books, was a fast read and quite enjoyable.
On the Plate
And like all of Webb's books, there is plenty of food on the pages as one of her new friends works in a bakery. "There were cinnamon buns slathered with rich frosting. Cream-colored muffins dotted with thick, juicy blueberries and crispy streusel topping. Chocolate cake layered with creamy white frosting, naked-style, topped with fresh berries. And about twenty other options. As soon as my eyes landed on the New York–style cheesecake, covered with a gorgeous strawberry glaze, I knew there was no hope for me. I was a sucker for cheesecake. Sophie packed it up for me in a nice compostable container, with a compostable fork to go with it, and began making my coffee."
" I perused the options, and when Christine returned a couple of minutes later, I ordered a diet Coke and the sirloin steak with onion rings. Because why would you ever have fries when onion rings are an option?" I love fries and onion rings, but definitely agree with Mack that onion rings always win.
I was inspired by this passage...
I dug into the cheesecake, leaning back and letting out an involuntary moan of pleasure as the soft, creamy interior hit my tongue. Anyone who said sex was better than a good cheesecake was lying, and this was a very good cheesecake.
Cheesecake also makes an appearance in the second book, Against the Odds. After she tastes a Tart Tatin, Mack muses, "'Renée has done something no one else in this world has ever managed: she’s turned my whole life around. I’ve always been a cheesecake girl. It’s the perfect dessert. The texture of the base. The creaminess of the cake. The sweetness of the topping. I never thought there was anything better. But this. This is making me reconsider my whole life,' I said seriously. Sophie burst into laughter. 'You’re the most dramatic person I’ve ever met.' 'I meant it when I said cheesecake it important to me. I’ve tasted hundreds of them in my life. Maybe thousands. But I didn’t know what I was missing out on'."
Vanilla-Flecked Cheesecake with Beurre Noisette Crust
I make cheesecakes all year round, but especially on March 25th for my anniversary. We didn't have a traditional wedding cake. Instead I opted to have a local-to-me baker make seven different cheesecakes for our reception. So, I've been celebrating our anniversary each year with cheesecake. Still it took him over a decade to reveal that he really didn't care for all of my creatively-topped cheesecakes.
He likes his cheesecake 'plain and white.' Fine. I fold in the caviar of a vanilla bean pod and make my crust with browned butter to make it more interesting! He doesn't complain.
Beurre Noisette [bur nwah-zet] noun, French Cookery.
Literally 'butter the color of a hazelnut.'
Browned butter is one of those magical ingredients that transforms the flavor of just about anything be it sweet or savory. Its nutty taste and aroma are out of this world. And it can add a creative twist to any recipe that includes butter.
3 cups crushed graham crackers
8 Tablespoons beurre noisette (browned butter)*
2 Tablespoons organic granulated sugar
3 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup organic granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups organic sour cream
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla bean paste
2 cups organic sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
1 Tablespoon organic granulated sugar
*To make beurre noisette: place butter in a pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will foam and begin to darken. The color will progress from a pale lemon yellow to golden straw hue and, finally, to a hazelnut brown. Once you achieve the color and aroma you want, pour the beurre noisette into a glass container. The milk solids will continue to brown - and eventually burn - if you leave it in the pan.
Mix all of the ingredients together until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of a springform pan that's been wrapped in foil. Chill crust while preparing filling.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream and vanilla paste.
Transfer filling to prepared crust. Place springform pan in large roasting pan or a rimmed baking sheet. If your springform fits in the roasting pan, pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan.
Bake until cheesecake puffs around edges, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven 1 hour, leaving oven door ajar.
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Spread this evenly over the cheesecake and bake in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven again for 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer cake to rack. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Cool completely.
Remove foil from pan sides. Cover cake and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Remove pan sides to serve.