No April showers this morning, just golden light and empty roads. I came upon a tribe of Boer goats that had managed to escape their field. As they stampeded past me I snapped a quick picture. I will miss these Hill Country roads when we move east this summer.
A couple of April Fools?
Nope. At 85 degrees it is totally appropriate to go tubing in Texas in early April, see last year's post here.
Picnic involved a mix of homemade sandwiches/salads and plenty of candy to please the pre-teens. Harris joined us and wore himself out swimming and barking randomly. New Braunfels recently passed a "can ban" on the river. Bad news for the tubing companies and manufacturers of floating beer coolers but great news for families like ours who had grown tired of the endless parade of drunken idiots floating by.
What with all the fresh air we needed a substantial dessert with dinner. A cheesecake is also an efficient way to use up the wholesale brick of cream cheese in your refrigerator. You will have to plan ahead for this one, don't think you can whip it up after a day on the beach. It feeds an army--Sophie and I had a small piece after dinner, and I brought the rest in to work.
I have yet to find a cheesecake I like more that the one served at the Trellis restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia, where I worked in my college days. Adapted from the recipe in their cookbook...
Dark Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake
For the crust:
3 cups gingersnap crumbs
4-6 TBS melted butter
Combine and press into the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan. Freeze for 15 minutes prior to filling.
for the cherry puree/sauce
12 oz bag frozen cherries
3 TBS Luxardo or brandy
Blend, adding a little water if necessary. Reserve 1/2 cup puree to mix into cheesecake. Strain remainder of puree into a saucepan and add 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer until sugar dissolves and mixture is slightly thickened.
for the cheesecake
1 lb. semi sweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips, don't tell anyone)
1/3 cup coffee (shh, don't tell Sophie)
1/2 cup cherry puree
1 1/4 lb cream cheese (at room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Place a pan of hot water on the lower shelf. Melt chocolate with coffee on top of double boiler (or in a microwave like I did), stirring til smooth. Set aside and allow to cool slightly. In a bowl of a food processor or stand mixer with paddle attachment place cream cheese, salt and sugar. Beat until combined, scrape down and beat again for another 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time beating and scraping down sides after each addition. Add vanilla, melted chocolate and cherry puree and beat until smooth and thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared springform pan. Place on center rack of oven (above the rack with pan of hot water). Bake for 15 minutes, then lower oven temp to 325F. Bake for ~2 hours or until the internal temp reaches 160F (I just poke an instant read thermometer into the center). Turn oven off and allow to sit in oven for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 12 hours prior to serving.
Serve with cherry sauce.