Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Vanilla-Hazelnut Cheesecake - TWD: Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia - 94th installment. The recipe is Vanilla-Hazelnut Cheesecake.
This is a very simple and tasty cheesecake with a non-traditional ingredient list, including cottage cheese. 
First step - a caramel hazelnut paste.  You prepare a caramel syrup, and then stir in chopped, toasted hazelnuts. Once this is cool, you process it in the food processor into a paste (mmmmmm.....)

Now the unexpected cottage cheese step - you drain it for a hour in a strainer, and then process it in the food processor until it is silky smooth. 
Cottage cheese after processing
You add the additional ingredients to the processor:  Neufchatel cheese, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Once that is combined, you mix a cup of this plain batter into the hazelnut paste, to make the hazelnut batter.

To bake the cake, you put the plain batter in an 8" pan, and then top with dollops of hazelnut batter.  The cake is baked in a water bath (inside a roasting pan with boiling water), and then cooled and chilled.  Once unmolded from the plan, you press graham cracker crumbs on the outside edge (this step was a pain - seems a little fussy, given the ease of the rest of the recipe!).
Here's the finished cake - I think I would try to make the top a little more marbled next time:

We really enjoyed the cake - it's lighter than the traditional cheesecake, but the flavor and texture were very nice, and the hazelnut caramel flavor is a great addition to vanilla cheesecake.

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