Cheesecake comes in two basic varieties: New York style (denser and richer) and French style (creamy and fluffy). For the first time ever, I made cheesecake in a cake pan yesterday, and then after freezing it overnight, today we unmolded it by slightly heating up the sides and bottom, using a paring knife to loosen it and then flipping it over onto plastic wrap and then back onto a cake round for slicing (once it was slightly thawed but still somewhat frozen). We mixed some cherry puree with chocolate sauce to make a cherry chocolate sauce for plating (we thickened it with some instant starch so it wasn't too thin), and we also dried out some cherry puree on a silpat sheet to make a cherry crisp to garnish. Although our plating came together at the last minute (what else is new), for the most part I like what we did. I think the chocolate drizzle was more of an afterthought and looked fairly messy, but otherwise, I think the rest of the dish was really clean and I'm happy with how it came out :) Our cheesecake, more importantly, was very delicious!
We also made French style (custard-based) ice creams in class, to go with the strudels we will be making tomorrow (we're pulling strudel dough! I can't contain my excitement!!). My group will be making apple strudel, so we decided to make a spice ice cream with candied walnuts mixed in. We crushed up cinnamon sticks and allspice berries and infused them in the heavy cream and sugar, then tempered in egg yolks, cooked the custard, strained and cooled it, and then froze it in the ice cream maker. Meanwhile, we caramelized some sugar with nutmeg, allspice, and ground clove and poured it over toasted chopped walnuts, mixed it around to cover it evenly, and then when it cooled we chopped it up to mix in the with the ice cream. Once the ice cream was frozen in the ice cream maker, we put it in a metal bowl we had put in the freezer, and then folded in some of the candied chopped walnuts. We'll save the rest for garnish.
Also today for the very first time, I successfully made caramel sauce (we will serve it with our strudel). Years ago in making my first attempt at caramel sauce, I ended up with toffee instead. My first attempt today burned, I looked away for a few seconds and it was a few seconds too much. My second batch today was perfect. I am so proud of myself :) I mean, caramel sauce really isn't that complicated to make if you pay attention to the sugar, and especially if you use the wet method for cooking sugar (you add enough water to wet the sugar, use a wet brush to brush down any sugar crystals on the inside of the pot, and you DO NOT STIR IT AT ALL while it cooks). Once the sugar boils off, you can tell the difference in the sugar bubbling because it appears less fluid. You can tell by looking that it has a shinier somewhat thicker look to it.
This is what it looks like when the sugar is bubbling as opposed to regular water boiling. At this point you are watching the sugar for various stages of cooking.
NOT an epic fail at making caramel sauce :)
Our unmolded cherry chocolate swirl cheesecake
Plating our dishes: a cherry chocolate sauce is streaked under the cheesecake, while a cherry crisp is stuck on top. Some piped chocolate, Chantilly cream, and strawberry coulis finish off the plate!
Another group made almond sugar lollipops to garnish their turtle cheesecake
Turtle cheesecake (caramel, chocolate, and almonds)
Steeping the heavy cream for the ice cream we made
The strained, cooling custard
Our "candied" spiced walnuts
Chopped up and ready to mix into the ice cream
Our spice ice cream...
Mixing in the candied walnuts
The finished product: spice ice cream with candied walnuts