Monday, April 27, 2009

Mexican Turtle Cheesecake (Challenge)

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:
crust:2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar1 tsp. vanilla extract
cheesecake:3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature1 cup / 210 g sugar3 large eggs1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream1 tbsp. lemon juice1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)

DIRECTIONS:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

My spin on things: I did the water bath alittle differently since I concluded from other sources that sometimes the water bath will leak into your crust. I put the cheesecake batter in a springform pan and then placed the springform pan into another aluminum type pan with the water bath under the middle pan. Does this make sense? Springform pan-middle pan-water bath in larger pan. This worked great with no cracks at all.

** Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce (Kraft caramels website).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reese at Therapy!

All these pictures were taken at therapy. I didn't know they were going to try braces on her and the assistant came to get me and told me that Lisa wanted to show me something. When I walk in Reese had the biggest grin and was standing up (albeit with braces and a walker). She just stood there so proud. Lisa said when she first saw herself in the mirror she had said "Reese is tall". So sweet! I'm not sure what this means for her except that she is definitely getting stronger and this is something we were not sure that she would ever be able to do. Good job Reese, keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Easter 2009

We were at the Colonial Hills easter egg hunt down the street from our house. The last time we went to this hunt it started snowing on us...right here in Tyler.

Rylee, Madison Murphy, & Maggie.
Maddie won the raffle in her age division and got a gift card to Target. She was super excited.

Rylee and Friends at Oak Tree. This was taken during their Easter Party. Looks like there are no girls in her class, I just didn't think to get their pictures.

Mrs. Sandy Zhiranek, Rylee, and Peyton. Mrs. Sandy is a great teacher. Rylee says she likes her because she is pretty and "is always smiling". Rylee also adores Mrs. Sandy's daughter Zoe, who is a year younger.

This year we had our playgroup at our house for the Easter party. It was alot of fun! Everyone brought food to share and we hid the eggs while the kiddos played. The weather was wonderful that day as you can see from this pic.

Rylee loved hunting eggs, she could never wait so she usually peeked...

What a great smile~