Arts

Small Time Cooks

Because love is life’s dessert and dessert is life’s love.

*Chocolate Dream*

1 1/2 cups of whipping cream

4 egg yolks

3/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

Glaze:

1 can raspberries

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

Cut the chocolate into small bits suitable for melting. Use a double boiler if you have it; otherwise, rest a microwave-safe bowl over a pot of boiling water, making sure the water does not touch the bowl. Add the chocolate and a quarter cup of the cream to the double boiler and stir, incorporating the cream into the melting chocolate. Slowly add some more of the cream as the chocolate melts, taking care not to add too much. Once all the chocolate melts, pour the cream into the double boiler in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Remove the double boiler from the heat. In a separate bowl, put in about three and a half of the egg yolks. Stir in the sugar and vanilla, incorporating fully. Add to the chocolate and cream, stirring until smooth. Pour into crème brûlée dishes, and set the dishes in a baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Bake at 275 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the edges are set but the center is still jiggly. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cover and put in refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Make the glaze just before serving. Drain the syrup from the raspberries into a pot; leaving a few pieces of raspberry is fine. Add the lemon juice and sugar and bring to a simmer. Stir the cornstarch into a little water until blended and then stir into the raspberry mixture. Simmer until the glaze thickens. Pour a thin layer over the chocolate and serve immediately. Top with the leftover raspberries from the can if you desire.

This dessert is very rich, but equally delicious. If you enjoy darker chocolate, use about 2 to 2 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate instead of the unsweetened chocolate.

*Blackberry Cheesecake*

Crust:

6 chocolate or regular graham crackers, crumbled

2 Tablespoons sugar

3 Tablespoons butter

pinch of salt

Cheesecake:

24 ounces cream cheese

3/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 jar of blackberry preserves

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup sugar

For the crust, process the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until fine. If you don’t have a food processor, a Ziploc bag and meat tenderizer will do. Mix in the sugar and salt, and melt the butter and add. Press evenly over the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar. It helps if the cream cheese is at room temperature. Use electric beaters, if you have them, to fluff up the cream cheese and sugar, or else just whip as best you can. Blend in the eggs one at a time, and whip more as you add the eggs to try to add some air to the mixture. Blend in the vanilla and half the lemon juice. Once well mixed, pour into the springform pan over the crust. Take half of the blackberry preserves and pour loosely over the cheesecake. Take the tip of a knife and create swirl patterns in the cheesecake with the blackberry until you like the look. Bake at 300 degrees for about one hour, or until the sides are set and the center is jiggly. Do not overbake, or the cheesecake will dry out. Once done, turn off the heat and open the oven door for about 15 minutes with the cheesecake still inside. Remove the cheesecake, and let cool for about an hour before covering and putting in the fridge. Meanwhile, take the rest of the lemon juice, blackberry preserves, water, and sugar and mix in a pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Mix the cornstarch with a little water, then add it to the mixture. Stir in the blackberries. Once the sauce thickens, remove from heat. Let cool. Chill the cheesecake and sauce overnight. Serve with the sauce over the cheesecake.

Use any other preserves that you like; this recipe was adapted from a Cuisine at Home recipe that used fresh strawberries. In the wintertime, most berries and other fresh fruits are way out of season, so preserves are very useful. Add in 8 ounces of melted white chocolate to the cheesecake if you like. It should be added after the lemon juice and vanilla.

*Strawberry Champagne Sorbet*

1 pound frozen whole strawberries, thawed

1/2 cup champagne or sparkling apple cider

juice of half a lemon

In a blender, mix together the lemon juice and strawberries until smooth. Stir in the champagne, or use sparkling apple cider if you don’t like the alcohol. Freeze overnight, stirring the sorbet after one and two hours in the freezer. Vegan all the way.