I have this friend who always knows what books to read, she moved from Kansas City a couple years ago but when she came back to visit and we went out for crepes of course she had a couple titles to rattle off and tell us all to read. She's one of those inspiring people who reads every night instead of watching TV, i wish i was more like Kim. :) So i made sure to pick up Garlic and Sapphires this summer and i loved it. I loved it so much i insisted that we read it in book club and last night i hosted the book club where we discussed Ruth Reichl's fun read.
Garlic and Sapphires is about Ruth Reichl's experiences as the New York Times food critic in the 90's. Because she would receive amazing service at every establishment she dined at, which sometimes was not indicative of how the restaurant treated normal customers, she decided to dress up in disguise and go out and eat. It is such a fun read, she writes so descriptively about food and people that you are completely captivated.
One of the fun things about this book is that she includes recipes at the end of some of the chapters, she says: "This book is going to have recipes instead of pictures because i want you to be able to taste what i am talking about."
So for our book club refreshments i made two of the recipes included in the book- New York Cheesecake and Gougeres. I didn't get a picture of the gougeres, but i will say that i have tried making these little cheese puffs in the past and they never turn out and last night they did! Keep reading to get the recipe for the cheesecake!
Ruth Reichl's New York Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (i put 1 1/2 packets of graham crackers into my food processor)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds (3 8oz. packages) - room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
grated zest of 1 lemon
Sour cream topping:
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup sugar and the melted butter. (I put my graham crackers into my food processor- processed them until smooth, added the sugar and processed again, then i added the melted butter through the liquid opening at the top with the processor on and kept it running until all was combined). Press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (or your Demarle large round mold- to see how amazing the Demarle molds un mold cheesecake you can see my video HERE) Chill while preparing filling.
Beat all the ingredients for the cheesecake until smooth. (I like to beat the cream cheese for several minutes before i add any ingredients to make sure it is creamy and smooth- if its not at room temperature your cheesecake will have lumps in it and not be silky, i always take my cream cheese out of the fridge an hour or so before i plan to make it). Pour into chilled crust and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cheese is set and starting to turn golden in spots. Remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.
Stir together the ingredients for the sour cream topping. Spread over the cooled cake. Return to the oven for 12 minutes until glossy and set.
Cool completely, cover and chill for at least 8 hours.
I have to be honest here, i'm not a huge fan of the sour cream layer of this cheesecake. I thought the cheesecake layer was fabulous, and i plan on using it in the future and experimenting with different topping layers, but the sour cream layer was a tiny bit tart and i like my desserts sweet all around. At book club it had mixed reviews, some were of the same opinion as I while others loved it. So i decided to include it in full because although it wasn't my favorite, others really liked it, and Ruth is a master chef and knows what she's doing. :)