Late one afternoon I arrived at Al Bustan Palace for a meeting and was told that pastry chef, Amar Roy, was in the kitchen making a cheesecake. Visions of pillowy, thick white wedges topped with strawberry slices filled my mind. I was shocked when a plate arrived festooned with coils of ivory and dotted with vibrant splashes of pink and yellow; berries and micro-mint scattered around the edges. It looked more like a piece of contemporary art than a dessert.
Amar smiled coyly when he explained that it was ‘100 Degree Cheesecake’, a deconstructed ode to the classic dessert. It reminded me that although I love food, what I’m really craving when I choose to dine-out is the decadent element of surprise.
Quick Fix Cheesecake
If what you are really craving is a luscious piece of rich, creamy cheesecake, it is actually one of the easiest desserts you can make. With endless variations, from the crust to the toppings, start with this basic recipe and add your own twist.
• 2 packages (8 ounces each)cream cheese*
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 eggs
• Pre-made graham cracker crust**
• Heat oven to 163 degrees Celsius.
• Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Then add eggs and mix until blended.
• Bake for 40 minutes or until the centre is set.
• Refrigerate for three hours. Serve topped with fresh fruit or macerated strawberries.
*Use flavoured cream cheeses to add
a unique twist.
**You can make your own cookie or graham cracker crumb crust by combining 1 1/4 cups crumbs and 1/3 cup melted butter and pressing the mixture into a pie dish before adding cheesecake and baking.
Recipe adapted from Kraft’s Philadelphia 3-step Cheesecake