Brownie-Swirl Cheesecake

Hello again to all my friends, I’m glad you came to play. Our fun and learning never ends, here’s what we did today! (Bonus points to anyone who remembers that show from childhood.)

Well we are back with another cheesecake recipe.  Here is something for you chocolate lovers – brownie and cheesecake – together! Doesn’t get much better than that.  In this version, we have a brownie layer and a cheesecake layer which are then swirled together – somewhat – and then chocolate chips are sprinkled on top.  My version did not get so swirled as the brownie layer was much denser than the cheesecake layer (possibly because I used white cheese instead of cream cheese – but those are my limitations here). So it ended up more as a fudgy-brownie layer (the best kind) and a cheesecake layer.

Brownie Swirl Cheesecake
Brownie Swirl Cheesecake

I have to say that it was really easy to make.  Only required one bowl (which I washed in the middle) and in the oven it went. I actually doubled the cheesecake part of it because I was making the cake in a 9×13 pan instead of an 8×8 as the recipe calls for. The recipe below is the original.

I was actually up to one am last night as one of my customers decided to have a conference call event at midnight Israel time, just to be sadistic, and I had to stay up for it.  So if I was going to need to stay up anyway, might as well accomplish something.  So I made this cheesecake to take to our friends at whom we will be staying for Shavuot, and a blueberry cheesecake for Rocker Dude, because it is his favorite.

Chocolate chips!
Chocolate chips!

Shavuot is kind of a crazy holiday because it is only one day long (or two outside of Israel) and there is so much preparation for it because everything has to be dairy.  Most people I know cook primarily meat for holidays, so everyone tries to get in all the fancy dairy food that they have always wanted to make and it sometimes makes for some really heavy meals. I planned on practicing restraint this year, but now we are going away for the holiday, so I don’t have to do anything but provide dessert.

Have a bite.
Have a bite.

Shavuot is when we celebrate receiving the Bible. As a result, one of the customs on Shavuot is to learn Torah all night.  Usually it’s the men who do it, but some women like to join in as well.  Once you have kids it is harder because those kids will be up at 6:30 in the morning, so you better be functional at that time of day. Going to bed at 4 am – not so conducive.  So Rocker Dude plans on being up all night, and he needs good food to keep him going – so, cheesecake!!!

All done!
All done!

Squeaker is squeaking, so I have to run.  Here is the recipe.

Recipe (from Smitten Kitchen):

Brownie batter
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened (or equivalent amount of white cheese – gevina levana)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.

(You can use a butter knife because the tip of it is round enough that you can use it to fold bits of the brownie batter over the cheesecake batter for a more visibly marbled effect.)

Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl.

Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Caramel Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Crust – Bring on the Dairy!

Hello everyone.  Here we are two days before Shavuot – the holiday during which we eat tons and tons of dairy to make up for all the other holidays in which we eat meat. Rocker Dude, being of a lactose intolerant nature, does not enjoy this holiday as much as other people, and this year, due to Squeaker’s sensitivities, I will be joining him in the non-dairy consuming club. But don’t worry, to make up for this, when I do stop nursing her, we will have a make-up Shavuot filled with all sorts of dairy delicacies.

In any case, at this time of year, the interwebs are filled with tons of cheesecake recipes of all varieties.  As we were having a cheesecake celebration at work, I wanted to make something different, something new. I spent a morning exploring options for possible flavorings, and settled on two options – something caramely or a brownie cheesecake. I knew that I would only have a few hours to make the cake on Saturday night as I did not want to stay up past midnight, so I decided to go with the caramel cheesecake for work.

Caramel cheesecake with caramel goodness all over.
Caramel cheesecake with caramel goodness all over.

I bounced around possible versions in my head for a few days and finally on Saturday I finalized how I would go about making it. I had bought dulce de leche to mix into the cheese, but then I read on the container that it is not suitable for cooking in high temperatures, so I freaked. What was I supposed to do now??? Do I just make a standard cheesecake and put the dulce de leche on top? Do I scrap the idea completely? Major dilemma.

I wanted to get the caramel flavor into the cake itself, so in the end, as I was measuring the sugar to mix into the batter, I decided to caramelize it first. I threw the whole cup and a half straight into a pot and set it on the fire.  I knew that it would be hard when it cooled, but that I could probably use the cheese to smooth the caramel out.  When the caramel was ready, I put in half of the cheese because I didn’t want the consistency to change too much. After much stirring, the caramel smoothed out and became usable in the cheesecake. I mixed it with the rest of the ingredients and into the oven it went.

The whole cake. (Sorry for the poor photography, I did not have fancy dishes at work to really show this cake off).
The whole cake. (Sorry for the poor photography, I did not have fancy dishes at work to really show this cake off).

My one issue with this whole affair was that I would not be able to taste the cheesecake when it was done – how would I know if it even tasted good?? Well, we put our faith in God.

When the cheesecake cooled, I spread the dulce de leche on top so that this cake would have a double whammy of caramel flavor.

Caramel Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Crust
Caramel Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Crust

I brought the cake to work the next day and let me just say, God delivered.  It was a hit all around, the consistency was perfect, and the caramel flavor was there. I even snuck a bite (hope it doesn’t come back to bite me later when Squeaker wakes up crying at night because her tummy hurts), and it was delicious.

Shavuot cheesecake spectacular
Shavuot cheesecake spectacular

If you need a cheesecake pick-me-up – here you go. Also, just because I am curious, do you say car-a-mel or car-mel?

Recipe:

Crust:
50 g tea biscuits, crushed into fine crumbs
50 g butter or margarine, melted
1 tbsp. brown sugar

Cake:750 g white cheese (gevina levana) 5%, or equivalent amount of cream cheese
5 eggs
3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

400 g dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C/320 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients for the crust and press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan, or a 9×13 rectangular pan (the crust will just be a tad thinner). Bake the crust for ten minutes until it is lightly browned.

Place the sugar in a pot over medium-low heat. Without stirring, let the sugar heat up until it dissolves. You can use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pot from any sugar crystals that might creep up. When the sugar starts browning, take it off the fire to ensure that it doesn’t get too dark.  It should stay a light amber color. The sugar will still cook after it is removed from the fire. Once you have reached the desired caramel color, add half of the cheese to the pot.  The caramel will seize up and bubble, but keep stirring the mixture over the medium-low heat, and it will soften and mix into the cheese. Set aside to cool (or refrigerate for 10 minutes or so.

In a bowl, mix up the rest of the ingredients, being careful to not incorporate too much air.  Add the caramel mixture and mix well.  Bang the bowl firmly on the table or counter to pop any air bubbles that might have gotten in. Gently pour the batter over the crust and place the pan in the oven. Because I usually cook my cheesecakes in my toaster oven I don’t have space for a water bath, so I just undercook the cake slightly – it should still be jiggly in the middle, and usually that is enough to prevent cracking. Also, covering the cake with a topping helps.

When the cake is completely cool, spread the dulce de leche over the top of the cake. Slice and serve!

You can also melt some chocolate with some heavy cream and drizzle it on top of the cake and that would be delicious too.  I just didn’t have time for it.

Blueberry Cheesecake for Shavuoth

Shavuoth is, according to Rocker Dude, the Holiday of Death.  It is the holiday in which Jews celebrate receiving thew Bible.  For a number of reasons, there is a tradition to eat dairy.  Rocker Dude is lactose intolerant, hence, holiday of death.  I love cooking dairy, especially because it happens so rarely.  I am not well equipped to cook and bake dairy, as everything needs to get cooked in a toaster oven.  In Israel, the holiday is only one day (as opposed to two days outside of Israel).  This means that there are only two meals to cook everything I want to make.  And as we like to be with our friends over the holiday, we are eating out at J and M’s for lunch, so that leaves me with one meal.

So here I am trying to make blintz souffle (the ultimate of Jewish dairy foods), quiches, and of course, the most important part – cheesecake! (I am also making a fish dish with no dairy so that Rocker Dude won’t suffer too much – thank God for Lactaid!)  Last year I made three kinds of cheesecake: blueberry, chocolate and tiramisu.  I have to make the blueberry one because it is Rocker Dude’s favorite.  For that he is willing to take as many lactaid pills as are necessary.  It is the easiest recipe in the world, and tastes so good.  Everyone should try it.

It is supposed to have a graham cracker crust, but I can’t get graham crackers here, so I use tea biscuits instead.  Because my food processor is meat, I set Rocker Dude to crushing tea biscuits.  It’s for his benefit after all.

Rocker Dude crushes tea biscuits, and watches TV
Crumbs mixed with melted butter

Then you mix the filling.  It literally requires  mixing the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon.  No food processor, no whipping, no nothing.  I also substitute 5% white cheese instead of regular cream cheese, and it actually works really well.  I have to say that the quality of the dairy goods in Israel is amazingly high.  All types of cheeses are available, most of which I had never heard of in America, or required going to a specialty store to get.

Everything you need, cheese, eggs, flour, lemon juice, and sugar

Back to the cake.  Mix all ingredients and pour over the crust – how easy?  And when it is cold, spread on some blueberry pie filling.  There you have a delicious and easy cheesecake.

Cheesecake Batter

I know that I haven’t been blogging as much as I should, work has been absolutely insane, my inbox is full of red flags.  The craziness should last until May 31st, and then I will be able to get back to my blogging.  I know I missed another Tuesday’s With Dorie recipe, but I have cooking and baking for the holiday, so I hope it’s a good enough excuse.  Hopefully next week.

Blueberry cheesecake
A slice of heaven

Recipe:

180g tea biscuits crushed (for a 9 inch cake) or a prepared graham cracker crust

50g butter or margarine, melted

750g 5% white cheese, or cream cheese

3/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

2 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 cups blueberry pie filling

Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.

Mix melted butter with tea biscuit crumbs.  Press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.  Bake the crust for about ten minutes while you prepare the filling.

Mix all the filling ingredients together (except the pie filling) until smooth.  Pour into the pan and bake for 40 minutes, preferably in a water bath, but I don’t have space in the toaster oven for one and they still come out perfectly.  Let cool and then spread pie filling over the top of the cake.  Refrigerate until serving.

White Chocolate Brownies

This was probably my first serious flop.  I was very excited to make this recipe because I am not such a fan of chocolate, and I love fruit based desserts.  This also sounded like something unique and not your typical run of the mill cake.  Because I wasn’t going to make these “brownies” dairy I used pareve white chocolate and I wonder if that contributed to the problem.

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of pictures of this recipe because I made it a while ago, before I started blogging and so before I knew what I wanted to photograph.

So all was going well until I had to melt the chocolate.  I made the mistake of letting the chocolate get too hot.  The whole thing separated.  If white chocolate is finicky, then pareve white chocolate is even more so.  The margarine completely separated, but I had no more white chocolate and the stores were closed, so I mixed it really well, let it cool a drop and mixed it really well before I poured it into the batter hoping against all hope that it would work.  It didn’t.

The batter looked fine when it was all mixed and I poured it into the jelly roll pan with no issues.  I then sprinkled cut strawberries on top instead of raspberries because I didn’t have raspberries.  This might have been my next mistake.  As I learned later, all berries can be substituted for each other, except strawberries because they are significantly moister than all other berries.  This moisture affects the consistency of the batter.  Not for nothing do they say that baking is a science.

So, batter is in pan.  On to beating the egg whites.  The first set of whites got overbeaten (never answer the phone when beating egg whites!!!!).  Rocker Dude told me that I need to have a standard of excellence and I should throw them out and start again (did he read the first part of this blog?).  So I tossed them and started again.  The next batch was nicely beaten and I gently spread the egg whites over the batter.  Into the oven it went.

The whole thing is supposed to cook for about half an hour.  Well after half an hour, the brownies were still jiggly.  I was worried because the whites were starting to brown, so I lowered the temperature of the oven and let it cook some more.  After another ten minutes, it looked much better, but to be sure, I lifted the brownies out of the pan, holding them by the edges of the parchment paper.  Guess what happened?  The paper tore and the brownies fell back on their pan, sideways.  The whites completely collapsed and shrunk, no longer covering the surface of the brownies.  I put them back in the pan and promptly sat on the floor about to cry.  Rocker Dude came over and comforted me – or at least tried.  He tried to get me to tell him what I would change next time to fix everything – who wants solutions at a time like that?

So when the brownies cooled, I carefully cut away the unattractive parts and sliced what was left into squares.  The verdict was that they tasted delicious (and we had guests that night – we didn’t mention what happened).  So next time, we try to not drop the cake and hope fully it will turn out better.

It doesn’t look to bad, right?

Have fun with it!

Recipe:

2/3 cup flour

1/2 cup finely ground almonds

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick butter

4 oz. premium-quality white chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. grated orange zest

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup fresh raspberries

Meringue:

3 large egg whites

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Butter a 9×13 inch pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust the bottom and sides of the pan with flour; tap out the excess.  Put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk together flour, ground almonds and salt.

In a double boiler, melt the butter and the white chocolate.  be very careful not to over heat the mixture – you don’t want the chocolate or the butter to separate.  White chocolate is finicky so don’t leave it alone.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic.  Add the eggs and beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, or until pale and foamy.  Beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the speed to low and blend in the melted butter and chocolate.  Still working on low, mix in the dry ingredients, stirring only until they disappear into the batter.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle raspberries evenly over the batter.  Set aside while you make the meringue.

In the cleaned mixer bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the salt on medium speed until they are foamy and just turn opaque.  Increase the mixer speed and add the sugar in a slow and steady stream.  Whip the whites until they form firm and glossy peaks.

Gently spread the meringue over the batter.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the meringue is browned and crackly and the brownies pull away from the side of the pan. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow to cool.

Daring Bakers: Tiramisu

I know this is a touch late, but I have to get it in.  This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was to make tiramisu from scratch – I mean all the way from scratch.  From the mascarpone cheese, to the ladyfingers to the vanilla cream.  It was delicious.  I was a bit apprehensive when I saw that we would have to make the mascarpone cheese from scratch as I have never made cheese before, but it seemed pretty simple.  I went out and got cheesecloth and a new whisk.

S. was sick in the beginning of the week so I had to stay home with her.  This actually gave me the time to start the tiramisu a bit early.  This recipe is really a two or three day project.  You have to make the cheese and let it sit overnight.  You also have to make the pastry cream and the zabaglione and both have to sit overnight and cool completely.  So I decided to start early – make the cheese on Monday, make the creams on Tuesday, make the ladyfingers on Wednesday and put it all together on Thursday or Friday.  At the same time I was also preparting for Purim and the party that we were having on Saturday – more about that later.

The cheese was really cool to make.  All you had to do was heat heavy cream until it started to curdle and then add a tiny bit of lemon juice and let it thicken.  This is what it looked like before I added the lemon juice.

Then with the lemon juice it really thickened up.  I poured it into a cheesecloth lines seive and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  When it came out, it was thick and creamy and delicious.  I was so proud of myself that I called my mom and told her what I did.  She was also impressed.  Maybe now I can try other cheeses!  Here is the finished product 24 hours later – how creamy!

By Tuesday, S. was ready to go back to daycare and so I wasn’t able to get back to work on this until after I got home from work, put S. to sleep at 8, and did 45 minutes of kickboxing (if I’m going to be blogging at least I shouldn’t look like I am!).  Then I got to work of the creams (I also made tartlet shells – more in another post).  The zabaglione was a bit daunting as it didn’t seem like there was a thickening agent and I wasn’t sure how it was going to get to a custard-liek texture.  But as I was stirring (and stirring and stirring and stirring) it started to thicken up.  The recipe calls for port or Marsala wine but I used coffee because I didn’t have port or Marsala.  When that was done, I started on the pastry cream – it was delicious with a nice vanilla flavor.  I was still in the middle of all this when M. came home from doing his radio show (www.rock4rookies.com) it was already 12:00 am!  I knew that I was not going to get to do the ladyfingers that night because I had to get up for work in the morning.  So I just wrapped up the creams let them sit in the refrigerator until Wednesday when I would continue.

To make ladyfingers, you have to make a meringue and add flour carefully so that you get a light and crispy cookie.  A really cool idea that was included as part of the recipe was to sift confectioner’s sugar over the cookies once they were on the pan and let the sugar absorb most of the moisture in the cookie.  This helped them get crispy.  Because I was making the tiramisu in a round pan, I made round ladyfingers and not the traditional log shaped ones.

Thursday night was when it all came together.  We had had a thunderstorm that night – of course just as I left work- and during the ten minute walk to the bus stop I got drenched, my suede shoes (bad idea) were ruined and I was literally dripping wet.  When I finally got home, I immediately took off my clothes and jumped in the shower – getting splashed by cars on the road and walking with grit in my shoes is just nasty.  Finally, I felt clean and fresh again and was ready to go.  First I had to play a bit with S. until she went to sleep so that we could spend quality time together and then we could get to work.  I beat up heavy cream by hand with a whisk (I don’t put dairy in my Kitchen-Aid so that I can use it for dishes that will be cooked in my meat oven as well as the dairy oven).  So as M. was watching old episodes of MacGyver (his latest obsession) I was beating cream until it held stiff peaks.  Let’s just say that it was a real workout for those arm muscles.  When it was done I was ready to put my tiramisu together.

First, I lined the pan with saran wrap so that I would be able to remove the cake easily.  Then, I folded all the creams together carefully.  I dipped only one side of the ladyfingers into a coffee/sugar mixture (I didn’t want them to get too soggy) and made one layer on the bottom of the pan.  I added 1/3 of the cream and made another layer of ladyfingers.  Poured more cream and made the last layer of ladyfingers and spread over it the rest of the cream.  I covered the surface of the cake with the rest of the saran wrap and put the whole thing in the refrigerator to set.

I was done!! It was so exciting and I couldn’t wait until I could try some of it.

When I pulled it out on Friday, I uncovered the cake.  It was not as firm as I would have liked it to be, I probably should have frozen it if I wanted it firm as some pwople suggested.  I sprinkled some cocoa powder on top and then bit in – delicious!!  All the effort was worth it and I hope to make it again soon!

Here is the recipe copied from the Daring Bakers’ site:

TIRAMISU

(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

MASCARPONE CHEESE

(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

Ingredients:
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

It has a lot of components but it is worth the effort!