Monday, June 04, 2018

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Ganache Topping

This is my favorite cheesecake. I love white chocolate everything but especially cheesecake....and with the addition of milk chocolate dripping down the sides.....oh my. Well let's say, you'll never forget it.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with
Ganache Topping

10 ounces graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
Cheesecake Filling

3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces Ghirardelli or any premium white chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
boiling water

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees while crust is cooling and you make your batter. 

Place the chopped white chocolate into a heat safe bowl and set aside. Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a simmer over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, and allow to stand for one minute. Stir the chocolate gently until melted completely. 

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump free. Add the sugar and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On medium speed, slowly add the white chocolate mixture. Once combined you can add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until each egg is incorporated. Once you've added all the eggs, mix in the vanilla and salt and pour into your prepared crust that has cooled in your spring form pan. 

Set the pan onto a couple of heavy duty, large sheets of aluminum foil and smooth them up the sides of the pan to waterproof. Set the cheesecake into a larger roasting pan and then place in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, filling to about one inch. 

Bake at only 325 for the first hour and then reduce heat again down to only 300 degrees and bake for another hour or so or until the center is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Chocolate Ganache Topping
1 cup chocolate chips (use dark chocolate or milk chocolate)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Raspberries for garnish

Add water to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof glass bowl over the pot and add the chocolate and heavy cream. Slowly stir with a spoon until the chocolate has melted, careful not to incorporate too much air. Once melted, remove from heat. Pour chocolate ganache over cheese cake and allow to drip down sides.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Shepherd’s Pie

For all you meat and potato people out there, this is the ultimate comfort food.  It is traditionally made with lamb but I make it with ground beef.  What is Shepherd's Pie?  It's basically a casserole with meat and veggies, topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven until golden.  Some make it without a crust. I make mine with a buttery crust for extra comfort!  When you dig into this rich wonderful dish, you get a spoonful of mashed potatoes, some meat and veggies all in one bite.  How good can it get! 

Shepherd’s Pie


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup very cold butter
2-3 tablespoons of very cold water

Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water with fork just until flour is moistened.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into un-greased 9-inch deep dish pie pan; unfold dough, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan. Crimp or flute edge. Set aside.

Unbaked Pie

Potato Topping 

1 ½ pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons parsley

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 

Heat half and half and butter in a small sauce pan until warmed through.  Drain the potatoes very well in a colander and return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.  Set aside.

Meat Filling

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced very small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen baby peas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and carrots and saute for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. 

Add the ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. 

Baked until crust is golden and potatoes have browned lightly.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.  Add the corn, mushrooms and peas to the meat mixture and allow to simmer for five more minutes on low heat.

Spoon the meat mixture into prepared pie crust.  Top with the mashed potatoes. Make sure you spread the potatoes with a rubber spatula all the way to the edges to make a seal. This will prevent the mixture from bubbling over into your potatoes.  You can use the back of a large spoon to create the design I made on top or just smooth them out.  Sprinkle top with parsley.

Place pie pan on a foil lined baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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