Feb. 28th, 2013

nverland: (Monthly-February)
[personal profile] nverland
And another month comes to an end. Thank you all for playing along. New theme tomorrow

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Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Ouzo-Poached Figs
This tangy yogurt cheesecake is topped with ouzo-poached figs inspired by sikomaida, a traditional delicacy from Corfu made with dried figs macerated and kneaded with ouzo (an anise-flavored spirit) and pepper, which are formed into disks and dried in chestnut leaves. It’s also delicious with seasonal fruits, fresh or dried and poached, or with whole preserves.

Serves: 16
Preparation time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
For the crust:
15 plain Melba toasts (about 4 ounces; not Melba “snacks”)
1/3 cup walnut halves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar

For the cheesecake:
14 ounces reduced-fat (Neufchâtel) cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2-1/2 cups low-fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
7 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the topping:
16 whole dried figs
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup ouzo, Mavrodaphne or port wine
2 rose geranium leaves, plus more for garnish
1 cinnamon stick
1 3-inch strip orange zest
1/2 cup sugar

Preparation
To prepare crust:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Coat a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray; tightly wrap the bottom and outside with a double layer of foil.

2. Process Melba toasts and walnuts in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add oil and 2 tablespoons sugar and toss until evenly moist. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

To prepare cheesecake:
1. When the crust is almost cool, beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add yogurt, egg whites and cinnamon; beat until well blended. Pour the batter over the cooled crust.

2. Place the cheesecake in a roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch up the outside of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake in the center of the oven until set around the edges but the center still jiggles, about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit in the oven with the door ajar for 1 hour. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour more.

To prepare topping:
1. Meanwhile, place figs in a small bowl, cover with warm water and let soak for 1 hour.

2. Strain the figs, reserving the soaking water. Strain the soaking water into a medium saucepan. Add ouzo (or wine); bring to a boil over high heat. Add geranium leaves (if using), cinnamon stick, orange zest and the figs. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the figs are plump and the liquid is the consistency of a thin syrup, 10-15 minutes. Remove the figs with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Stir 1/2 cup sugar into the liquid, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, 15-25 minutes. Discard the geranium leaves, cinnamon stick and orange zest. Chop the figs and return them to the syrup.

3. Remove the pan sides from the cheesecake. Serve each slice topped with some of the fig sauce and a rose geranium leaf, if desired.
nverland: (Viggo-aragorn)
[personal profile] nverland
2-28-13
Because some days we really could use a hero
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