Saturday, September 13, 2008
For some reason, I was under the impression that making a cheesecake was difficult, so I never tried one. (Plus I didn't think I liked the thing). I was used to the overly sweet mound of cream cheese, topped with some kind of sticky, syrupy, shiny fruit. But as I was going through a new (seriously great) cookbook of mine, I saw this cheesecake and decided to give it a shot. I am really glad I did - it is so good. Rich, creamy and fantastically easy to prepare. The original recipe calls for drunken raisins, soaked overnight in vodka, but I omitted that step because my husband doesn't like raisins. The poppy seeds give this otherwise texture-less cake a subtle crunch. If you are planning on having anyone over for dinner, make this and they will think you are a super hero. (At least, that's how I felt).
Poppy Seed Cheesecake
Adapted from John Pawson and Annie Bell's, Living and Eating.
2 TBLS softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup white bread crumbs
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 TBLS lemon, or any flavored vodka
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 medium eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 - 2 TBLS poppy seeds
Place raisins in a bowl and pour vodka over them. Soak overnight.
Preheat oven to 375. To prepare base, grease an 8" spring form pan, using all of the butter.
Mix bread crumbs and sugar and press into the sides and base of the pan.
To make the filling, blend cream cheese and sugar in food processor. Beat in eggs and heavy cream, carefully fold in flour and vanilla extract. Mix in raisins and residual soaking liquor. Carefully pour mixture into prepared cake pan. Dust surface with poppy seeds so it is lightly covered in a thin layer. Bake for 45 minutes - until just puffy around the sides. It should be wobbly in the center. Turn off oven and open door slightly. Cool in oven for one hour. Serve at room temperature.