Can cheesecake actually make you happy?
I’m sure that if I looked hard enough and consulted Dr Google, I would find all kinds of scientific reasons why cheesecake could be good for you – things like boosting serotonin levels….
The simple answer to this question is:
Definitely! But (of course there has to be a but!) it is not just the eating of the cheesecake that can make you happy, there is a lot to say about making cheesecake.
There is the beating and crushing of the biscuits (by hand of course) to ease your frustrations of the day.
Blending those biscuit crumbs with warm butter and gently soothing it into a lovely, smooth base; the choreographed elegance of folding cream into cream cheese; and not forgetting the most important step – the licking of the spoon.
Last week was a Jewish holiday – Shavuos – where part of the custom is to eat dairy foods (read: cheesecake, and a lot of it) so when I usually write and post this blog, I was eating!
Stepping away from the mundane, stressful routine of life and just spending some time creating something beautiful can be one of the best ways of dealing with stress and giving your mind a chance just to calm down.
If baking is not your thing, then make sure that there is something that you can do to move away from the stressful and have something amazing and creative to show for it at the end.
This is your reward for all of the hard work, effort and exhaustion that goes into just living your life.
It can’t just be about trying to avoid stress and continually trying to cope with the all of the stressful work/family/financial/social situations.
It needs to be about letting yourself enjoy moments and to create those moments that are enjoyable.
So while I try to settle back into the hectic routine of actually working a full week, here is my recipe for a
Chocolate, chocolate, espresso cheesecake:
250g chocolate biscuits – crushed in which ever way you find best
160g butter (melted)
Combine the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter and press into a 20cm tin
Place into the fridge until firm
250g cream cheese
1 cup cream
3 eggs (beaten)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons espresso (drink the rest of the espresso while making the cake)
1 slab of milk chocolate (about 180g) – or white chocolate, or dark chocolate, or a mixture (is it really fair to have to choose?)
Place all ingredients, except the chocolate into a bowl and beat until smooth
Pour this glorious mix over your base
Melt the chocolate and get creative by pouring it into the cheesecake mixture – I like to get a marble look but swirls, dots, or just random lumps of chocolate are good
Bake at 200°C for about 40 minutes until firm.
Let it cool completely and place in the fridge.
½ cup sweetened coffee (or coffee flavoured liqueur or chocolate liqueur)
250g dark chocolate
½ cup cream
Place coffee or liqueur into a saucepan and simmer over a medium heat until mixture is reduced.
Add chocolate, butter and cream and continue stirring until it is melted and smooth
Remove from the heat and rest it until the mixture is cool and has thickened.
Pour all over your cheesecake and then return to the fridge to set.