4/20/09

cheesecake gone wrong/ biscotti



so speaking of crack's cousin... meet cheesecake gone wrong... so horribly, horrible wrong... run away, avert your eyes... i know you can't, it's like a train wreck.

This cheesecake started out innocently enough. I saw this Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust and Candied Lemons in Urban Italian. I mean what's not to like? Biscotti, lemons, cheesecake. Check, check and check. Oh, that's right I don't like ricotta cheese.

But we'll get to that in a second.

Wait, no we won't. I want to talk about it now. Ricotta is Italian for lumpy cheese and when is lumpy good by the way? Lumpy ass? You don't want that. Lump in your Burt and Ernie's? Really Bad. And for you guys, if you have a lump in that area where it hurts when you get kicked? Really bad also. Lumpy pillow? You can't sleep. So you don't want lumps in general... why do you want that in your cheese? Or in your cheesecake. And ricotta is runny... so runny+lumpy= does that really equal tasty? really?

Mom's Biscotti: Urban Italian (recipe straight from the book not adapted because one problem is right in the recipe)

makes about 40 biscotti

3 whole eggs
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest 2 lemons
3/4 cup whole shelled pistachios (i used pine nuts)
1 tablespoon anise seed (or crushed fennel seed) (i used fennel seed)
1 tablespoon Sambuca (didn't have it, didn't use it)

Using the whisk attachment on a KitchenAid, whip 2 of the eggs and the sugar together at medium speed (speed 4) until mixture becomes foamy and pale and doubles in volume, about 15 minutes. In the last 2 minutes of the egg-whipping process, pour in the melted butter and allow it to incorporate.

Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with the paddle attachment. Add the flour, baking powder, and lemon zest to the bowl and mix at low speed (speed 2) until everything is combined.

Add the pistachios and mix 30 seconds, so the nuts are combined into sticky dough.

Refrigerate the dough in the mixing bowl for 20 minutes, covered in plastic wrap, so that the dough cools and becomes workable.

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from fridge: take half the dough out of the bowl and shape it into a log about 9 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide. Repeat with the remaining dough. Lay these logs out on the cookie sheet, leaving 3 inches between them to allow for expansion during the baking process.

Whisk the remaining egg briskly in a small bowl. Lightly brush dough with this egg wash.

Bake the dough until the loaves start to brown, about 15 minutes. Rotate the tray in the oven, and continue baking until the loaves are golden brown about 10 to 15 minutes more.

Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool until the logs are warm, but not too hot, to the touch, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 325.

Place the loaves on a cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut them on a slight diagonal into 1/4- inch biscotti-sized pieces, discarding the end pieces.

Place the cookies back onto the lined baking sheet, one by one, and return the sheet to the oven. Bake until the biscotti are crunchy, another 15 minutes or so.

Allow the biscotti to cool before serving. They will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Tasting Notes: The biscotti in and of themselves were great except that the recipe never states when to add the fennel seeds and Sambuca. I almost forgot, I'm pretty sure you should add them with the nuts but arg!!!! I added them after the dough had already chilled so stirring them in was not fun. I thought I was going crazy until Rich read the recipe and reread it again and he didn't see it either. So, I'm not crazy... at least I've got that going for me.

Next Post: Cheesecake recipe for all the people who like ricotta, my epic fail, and who's to blame for this mess?

18 comments:

Emma said...

Lumps in cheesecake - oh, my, no! Cheesecake was created to be divinely smooth - silk on the tongue. Dare I read what comes next?

Kristin @ Going Country said...

BOOOO. My aunt-in-law one time brought cheesecake for Easter dinner or something and I was all excited until I started eating it and realized it was made with ricotta. It was grainy and nasty and NOT RIGHT. Ricotta cheesecake is a travesty. So there.

cook eat FRET said...

no no no no no no no
i love ricotta cheesecake
LOVE IT

cook eat FRET said...

oops, meant to say more
i blend my batter long and hard - in a blender.
unless i am using fresh sheeps milk ricotta which is a bitch to get your hands on anyway... but regular store bought ricotta? blend it. ii have a pretty powerful blender. makes all the diff. no lumps ever. but see, i don't mind a lump or two...

Mayberry Magpie said...

I so would have fallen into the trap that is this recipe. Thank you for saving us all.

By the way, yesterday for lunch I made your Monte Cubano and it was wonderful. I used a LOT of garlic and was glad I did. We had crappy swiss cheese and I know a really good cheese would have made it even better. Mr. Mom loved it and he wants me to add sauerkraut next time. Not sure about that one. I want to try a couple of dashes of Tabasco in the egg wash.

SaintTigerlily said...

I made bad cream cheese based cheesecake this weekend. Maybe it was a bad weekend for cheesecake.

Lumpy gravy?

Rebecca (Foodie With Family) said...

Boo hiss... I make like Cook Eat Fret when I make ricotta cheesecakes (infrequently... You know how I feel about those, Krysta.) It improves the texture, but I always think ricotta cheesecakes are on the dry side. I want my cheesecake like buttery velvet. Or like Emma said, silk. Mmmm. I think I need to go make a cheesecake.

Snooty Primadona said...

Well, it certainly looks innocent enough. Oh hell, I'd eat it anyway, or just go ahead & rub it on my body since that's where it would be going anyway. But, that's just me.

noble pig said...

Well, most likely I'd eat it because I'm a slob. I mean why not. I love the idea of a biscotti crust though.

Laufa said...

Maybe the seeds and Sambuca were to be sprinkled on top. Looks interesting.

MrOrph said...

Sounds like a lumpy recipe to me. I do like the idea of biscotti cust.

melissa said...

at least I've got that going for me.At least.

;)

And I suppose blending the crap out of it would help. Though what the hell do I know? I've never made a cheesecake. I do, however, like ricotta. Weirdo.

Lisa said...

Umm..I've never thought of ricotta as lumpy. Where are you getting yours? :) It should be creamy, smooth, milky goodness.

katie said...

I hate it when that happens.I think I sometimes play it too safe with recipes because I don't want to put the effort into a dish that isn't a sure thing. Good for you for at least trying something outside of your comfort zone. Now you know, ricotta cheesecake = not as good as regular cheesecake.

coffee and queso said...

Uh-oh: It this the cheesecake from Martha? That Lisa is Cooking posted about? http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/2009/04/ricotta-cheesecake.html
I was thinking of making it; will be sure to see what tricks it threw at you!

coffee and queso said...

read, mindy, read! so this is NOT the same recipe; maybe the Martha recipe will work better...? look forward to the post. ;)

Jamie said...

Well, the biscotti crust is a fab idea! I am not a big cheesecake fan and, truth be told, yours does not look too inviting. But if I ate it with my eyes closed, would it taste great? Possibly, I mean all the flavors are there! And I think ricotta + heavy cream would be so much tastier than cream cheese!

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