Monday, June 20, 2005

the cheesecake story

It was a purposely quiet weekend. Saturday I shopped for DH's Father's Day stuff (Don Julio anejo tequila, a couple of nice Padron Anniversary cigars) and prodded the kids to make cards for him, while he did some work in the yard repairing the nth leak in our sprinkler/drip system in the past 3 months.

Our plan for Father's Day itself was very simple: a very nice dinner at home. Steak and shrimp, a special salad, and cheesecake. Not too much fuss or bother. After supper Saturday, I put the cheesecake together (crustless, at DH's request), and stuck it in the oven. It cooks for an hour at 300 degrees, so I set the timer, and turned down the oven to 200 for another hour. That was at about 7:30pm, so I thought, I don't need to set the timer, I'll just shut off the oven when I come down after putting the kids in bed. A few minutes more or less isn't going to make much difference.

8:30 rolls around, we get the kids in bed, and I come downstairs. I remember to take my anti-biotic (that's a minor miracle, these days.) And then I shut off the vent fan, which I always run in the summer to keep the heat from the oven from venting into the house -- but I forgot to turn off the oven!

I didn't take the cheesecake out, either, because it's good to let it cool off gradually as the oven cools. This gentle technique works wonders in preventing cracking.

Then I watched Galaxy Quest, which is a very sweet movie I really like. Then I puttered around a bit, and at 11:30pm I finally decided I should get the cheesecake out of the oven so it could cool to room temp (or closer to it, anyway), before I stuck it in the fridge before I went to bed.

That's when I saw the oven was still on.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! I thought. And worse, of course. The big question, was it totally wrecked? Would it be dry and sticky, inedible? I hoped not. It was in a water bath, after all. The top did look a little dry, but it was impossible to tell about the rest of it. I stuck it in the fridge and hoped for the best.

Sunday evening, dinner was great, and it's time for dessert, and I was laughing off the possibility of having to trash the entire cheesecake, We'll go out for ice cream if it's horrible.

But... it wasn't horrible. It had the creamiest, most unbelievably light texture. It was even better than my previous attempts, which have all been truly remarkable. The differences? Well, for one thing, the cream cheese was very soft when I whipped up the batter, and I'm sure that helped. For another, I used erythritol instead of granular Splenda. Third, I cooked it for 4 hours at 200 degrees, instead of one.

DH says I should make it this way all the time, now.

No comments: