Well lets not exaggerate. I just made a mental list of things I have on hand and a mental list of things Murtaza likes. And I crossed out the things he won't like and used up everything else I could. That isn't bad. Besides, that would make up happy right? An almost deprecatingly empty pantry and still I would make something he loves... I tell you what he loved it. No major purchases, no fuss and food he loves, oh and the money he saved on not taking me out for dinner, what more can a man want after 3 years of marriage?
So, as I went about ensuring myself that the man would love a cake. Oh yes! there has to be a cake, the sweet tooth that he is. Lets see!
We have flour but urghh just a cup!
Butter? 1/2 a stick
Eggs? Oh yes I have eggs, two of them ?
Sugar ? Yes oh yes of course I have sugar 1/4 cup?
But the man totally loves cheese cake! I'm sure he'll want it more than anything. But 1 package of cream cheese? No sour cream and no sugar. Oops lets drop my favorite cheesecake recipe to the dustbin.
Oh wait! Have you heard of dulce de leche? I have. Its all around the blog world. People talk about eating spoonfuls of it by its own. I can have spoonfuls of condensed milk anyway, how can a caramelized condensed milk be bad ? But then I need to think if the man would like it, won't he love a cross between caramel and condensed milk? He would.
So off I go to Smitten Kitchen, where I remotely recalled reading a dulce de leche bar recipe . Dulce de leche Cheesecake bars ? Bars no, not anniversary material. How about dulce de leche cheesecake? Jack pot! Crunchy, Cheesy and Chocolaty! The man is going to be a very happy.
Let me bring an end to your question about dulce de leche. Or may be heighten your curiosity on it ? You can by all means have a can to yourself not just spoonfuls. Its a dessert by it self and I'll soon be making it again in bulk. Yes in bulk! People you got to try this stuff.
But may I suggest, kick your ass and prepare it one day before the actual cake making. Why? because you know you could be pressed for time like say an anniversary and your cake will require more freezing time, and at the last moment you are all over the place. Lets call it a mess ? Where your clothes tell the story of dulce de leche, chocolate and more dulce de leche? I would have hit a pan, if he won't have found it sexy. Or may be he didn't he was just rescuing me of the embarrassment? Lesson learned : Make it a day ahead. Then its cake walk.
Dulce de leche Cheesecake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
150 g digestive biscuits (crumbled)
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp of Apricot flavored Jelly powder *
1/4 cup whole milk
300 g cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup dulce de leche
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
* There is no way you will taste the apricot here. My intention was to give a light peach color to the cheesecake, because he loves peach.
I love taking risks but today didn't seem right for it. An explosion in the kitchen added on the messy clothes, kitchen and hair. No, I certainly wasn't going to add another horror for him to watch. Dulche le leche is made by slowly heating condensed milk till it turns a caramel color. There are many ways of doing this including the risky one, where you submerge the can of condensed milk in water and heat for 3-4 hours, where the world of online material will scare you of explosion. The other and safer way (that's what I think) is to punch two holes on opposite sides of the can.
Submerge in water leaving about 1 inch distance from the top.
Bring the water to a simmer at medium high heat. Once, it reaches the simmer, reduce to low heat and let it simmer for 4 hours. Frequently replacing the water that evaporates ( every 15-20 minutes).
After 4 hours, switch off the stove and remove the can from the water and let it cool. Inside is a caramel colored thick dulche le leche. Whisk till smooth. Resist eating more than 2 spoonfuls. You need it for the cake, for the MAN!
Preheat the oven at 162 C (325 F) . Finely grind the biscuits along with sugar and salt. Add the melted butter. ( I didn't do a very good job at it as you can see)
In a 9 inch springform pan, press the mixture down with your palm.
Bake for 10 minutes.Cool on a rack.
Sprinkle the gelatin and apricot jelly powder in the milk and let it stand for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the cheese, eggs, and gelatin mixture well. Gently fold in the dulce de leche.
Pour it over the crust and bake for 45 minutes, till the center is done.I didn't use any water bath. Once out of the oven ideally let the cake cool for 2 hours. I managed to keep it for just an hour. (I removed the spring form at this time but you shouldn't.)
Then cover and chill for ideally 6 hours (I did for 4 hours)
Melt the semi sweet chocolate with butter in a doubler boiler till smooth. May be you could use more butter if you wanted for a smoother layer. Mine as you would see wasn't as smooth as someone was out of butter. But it didn't matter specially after it chilled.
Just about 3 hours before serving, I spread the chocolate
After you spread the chocolate, pin the baby buds of rose into the cake and refrigerate the cake for 2 hours.
1. Get your dulce de leche ready! (may be a day ahead)
2. Preheat the oven at 162 C . Prepare the crust. Grind salt, sugar, butter and digestives. Press down on 9 inch springform. Bake 10 minutes and cool.
3. Prepare the filling. Whisk togther cream cheese, eggs and gelatin + milk. Fold in dulce de leche.
4. Pour the filling on the crust. Bake 45 minutes . Cool at room temp. for 2 hours. Then cover and chill for 4-5 hours.
5. Just 2-3 hours before serving, melt the choc and butter and spread on the cake. Chill without covering again for 2 hours. Remove the springform.
After all the chaos, if you still end up with this gorgeous cake, perfect crust, well set cheese it speaks of how reliable this recipe is. You can't go more wrong then I did. This was a perfect sweet treat for the man. He refused to share it with anyone. He wanted to have it for lunch, dinner and of course in between. Its the second day now, and one last piece is awaiting me, which I had managed to hide for the moments like this. I got to go. I hear a calling.