It’s been a while since I’ve made a cheesecake. I’m overdue.
I may have overdosed on cream cheese a while back. I’m still in recovery.
Two years ago, when I opened up my kitchen to become the test kitchen for cheesecakes (all self-proclaimed and not state certified in any way), I was unaware of the aftermath. For almost a year, I made a minimum of two cheesecakes a week, sometimes three, occasionally more. I was testing flavors as well as liquid-to-cream cheese ratios. Baking is delicious science. Only one out of the over 130 cheesecakes could be listed as a ‘fail,’ and I’ve already blogged about that one. Most were pleasant and there were a few, approximately 28, that nailed it. Those recipes are in the book.
As fun and scrumptious as it all was, I didn’t expect a few things that hindsight says maybe I should have.
A proper cheesecake is baked in a water bath. A pan of water in the oven creates a steamy environment, allowing the cheesecake to rise to its full potential and generate a texture that is not too unlike a kiss. The steamier the better on all accounts.
An occasional oven full of steam has no long-lasting impact on your appliance. Daily steam, however, does. The interior of my twenty-year-old Maytag oven looks like road-side debris long forgotten by special pick-up. It’s rusty and has a calcified crust on parts of it. The temperature stopped being consistent about twenty cheesecakes in. I nurse this stove like it’s on life support, in short, because it is.
I pray for my oven. May she last until the book is published and the proceeds can give her a proper send off. May I, at that time, convert to gas and live happily ever after with a La Cornue.
I’ll start practicing my French to properly welcome the range.
Another unintended consequence of baking so many cheesecakes goes beyond dish-pan hands and right into pants that no longer fit. This goes past muffin top and into carrying-twins-to-term weight. I tried shifting blame on 2020, pointing fingers at the pandemic and charging menopause with aiding and abetting, but the last notch on my waist-strangling belt tells me that this is the result of 2019 and close to 135 cheesecakes. Merde.
My padded chin keeps my head from dropping too far in shame. It’s like I have a built-in head rest. Enfer.
I bought new running shoes with high hopes that I might actually run. The good intentions were there but running with a bowl of pudding strapped to my midsection only distracts from the punctuated bounce of my ass each time a foot hits the ground. Putain Je deteste courir.
The last consequence of so much baking is expectation. I’ve been dubbed “the cheesecake queen” and people have been asking for more. I get it. If I hadn’t eaten enough cream cheese to build summer homes for at least a third of the employees at Philadelphia Cream Cheese Company, I’d want more, too. I’ll bake again when my arteries clear and my pants fit. Until then, qu’ils mangent de gateau. Just not cheese cake.