Cooking with a friend

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy 2010! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Can't believe it's February already.
My friend, Begonia, had purchased a new house a few months ago. She admitted she's not much of a baker (*gasp!*) and found a recipe for a dessert that she wanted help in making. I think what she meant was I'll help by providing the use of my kitchen. I went over there on Saturday.

The recipe sounded unusual but in a good way,
Coconut-sweet potato cheesecake. It sounded fairly ambitious with a comment from a newspaper reporter who attempted this recipe. I found the suggestion of doubling the crust to be very helpful.

Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes; cook time: 2 hours. Not in our experience! Cooking in someone else's kitchen is always a challenge. I love her kitchen but I would have to bring over a lot more things.

The recipe has 28 ingredients, a few were repeated: butter, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice. The only ingredient I wasn't familiar with is the Coco Lopez, which is sweetened cream of coconut. I am sure they keep in the liquor section of grocery stores but Begonia had to go to BevMo for a can.

It would have been nice if I had a food processor for the sweet potatoes. We used yams instead. The recipe didn't make any distinction and I wish the recipe author had. I learned last year that there is definitely a difference between a sweet potato and a yam.... but I digress.
I had the idea of using a blender to puree the yams. However, several of her kitchen outlets weren't working. Begonia said her blender was old. She went to her neighbor's house and borrowed one. This blender didn't work either.

We were able to get the blender going although I decided not to use it but use a potato masher instead. I knew that it would not be the beautifully smooth puree as described in the recipe. My yams were going to be "rustic". I forgot to bring my hand mixer. Begonia didn't own one. We went to Target in hopes of finding a decent one that was cheap which we did.

About twenty minutes later, I am ready to move on to the filling. We had fun crushing (cinnamon) graham cracker crumbs in Ziploc bags. The crust was the only part of the recipe that I didn't struggle with. This was not my first cheesecake but I had to re-read the recipe at least 3 times. The crust had to be chilled for exactly 30 minutes.

Now, here comes the fun part. "
For filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add cream of coconut, lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla; beat until smooth. Fold in 1 cup flaked coconut and sweet potato mixture. Pour filling into prepared pan."

Now, Begonia didn't have a mixing bowl or anything close. So channeling my inner Iron Chef, I improved with the bowls that she had. I could not use the proper speed (4 was recommended on the blender). I had to use the lowest setting and immediately the batter started splattering. I had to use the blender in quick spurts and mix the batter with a wooden spoon.

I had started this project around 4:10 or so. I believe it was around 6 when the cheesecake was put in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. We were starving by the time the cheesecake was done and went to get food and come back. The cheesecake still looked a little raw in the center but I know cheesecakes tend to do that. It was actually 'set' in the center when we returned.
I didn't get to eat the cheesecake Saturday night. The recipe stated that the cheesecake needed to chill overnight. So I went back yesterday afternoon. I had to top off the cheesecake with toasted coconut. (You can use a toaster oven or oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or so, frequently stirring. When it's golden brown and fragrant, it's done.)

As you can see from the first picture, my cheesecake was not flawless. I had a crack in there and I will have to ask my mom to figure out what happened. (Then again, with as many mishaps as we experienced, I am thankful that it turned out well at all.)

The second picture has the toasted coconut topping. Begonia promised the neighbor who lent us the blender a piece. He came over with his 4 year old son and they both had slices. I hope he wasn't just being polite because he ate the whole slice and said how much he liked it.

All About the Food Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino