Rain and Raspberries

I love rainy days!
Even when I have to run errands out in them. It just makes the ordinary seem not so “the same”, you know? It’s not everyday that I get to go splish-splashing through puddles to shop for my groceries. And it’s certainly not every day that I find sunflowers this gorgeous!

There should always be sunflowers at farmer’s markets on rainy days, don’t you think?
…And raspberries too! The moment I saw these huge beauties, my mind went, “Cheesecake!!” 
just like that.
“What? Okay, whatever”.
And I bought some. After all they were a great deal.
This cheesecake recipe was created just for rainy days like this.
 Never bake bread on rainy days – always make cheesecake. Simple as that!
Crust things first…
1 c. almonds
1/2 c. flour (whole wheat if you like)
1/2 c. sugar (or 1/8th c. honey)
1/3 c. butter (1/4 c. if using honey)
Blend the almonds in a food processor until finely ground.
Add sugar and flour and a pinch of salt.
Grind until very fine and add butter. Let blend until it starts to stick together.
Press into a cheesecake pan.
4 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
4 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar (or 1/3 c. honey)
1 t. vanilla
juice of one lemon or orange
6 oz. Polaner’s Orange jam
2 T. water
Beat the whites until soft peaks form. Did you know it only takes about 5 minutes to do that with a hand whisk? Seriously. I had to try it, since it was raining outside, of course…
Beat together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and citrus juice. Fold in whites. Pour into the waiting crust and smooth over with a spoon. 
Tip – try kneading lemons or oranges around on the counter top before juicing. When they are soft they yield more juice.  Just be careful when you cut them open!
Now, do you remember the orange jam I raved about a couple posts back? That’s what you need for this part. Stir in a couple tablespoons of water and dollop on to the filling.
With a butter knife, create a marbled effect in the top quarter inch of the cream cheese mixture.
A note on using honey – It actually works very well in this recipe. The crust won’t have the same texture, but the cream cheese part is fabulous (you might need to cook it a tad longer) and that’s what counts, right? (My Dad would totally disagree. :P)
Place on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Not a minute more. Yes, I know, it jiggles like jello when you pull it out, but trust me. It’s perfect
One of the biggest mistakes in making cheesecake is cooking it until the edges are dry and the inside is hard. One should not need a glass of milk to choke down cheesecake. 
Slide a knife around the edges to keep it from cracking as it cools. Sometimes, I do this about 30 minutes into baking just to make sure. Let it cool, then refrigerate until nicely chilled. Overnight works well if one is patient enough. *cough* That never happens here…
Top with fresh raspberries and enjoy!
Did I mention that we didn’t wait long enough? Well, we had to taste test to see how good it is at 71 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s what cooking and blogging is all about – testing every aspect. ;)

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