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Old 08-27-2005, 10:37 AM   #1
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California Mudslide

You know that great looking recipe that Crewsk entered a week or so ago, the one with the Jello Cheesecake and chocolate? Well, I modified it and entered it into a local cooking contest. Here's the blow by blow description of what I did and how it turned out. I invite anyone who loves rich desert to try it, modify it, and enjoy. Only, be forwarned, this is not a desert suitable for those watching their carbs or fat. And it is NOT to be eaten frequently. But it is absolutely yummy! And yes, after it was judged, I limited myself to a single forkfull, just to see what it tasted like.

Theme: Chocolate and Cheesecake with Strawberry topping, decorated with piped, chocolate frosting.

Construction: Graham Cracker Crust, filled a layer of gancach, followed by layer of New York style Cheesecake, topped with thickened strawberry sauce

Procedure:

Graham Cracker Crust:
Ingredients:
2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
4 tsp. sugar
1 cube butter
Mix crumbs with sugar and melted butter. Press into a 10 inch springform pan, pushing crust 1.5 inches up the sides. Place in 425 degree oven for five minutes. Remove and chill.

Ganache:
Ingredients:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. sunflower cooking oil
1/2 cup Sweetener (optional, but don't use sugar as it turns the ganache into a chocolate caramel that is wonderful, but wrong for this desert)
Heat the cream in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir with whisk until silky smooth and remove from heat.

Crust with ganache:
REmove the crust from the fridge and pour in the ganache. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, place the springform pan back into the hot oven for three minutes. Remove the pan sides and use a long and thin icing spreader to loosen the crust from the pan bottom. Slide the crust onto the serving platter. Return to the fridge.

Wash the springform pan and thoroughly dry.

Cheesecake layer:
Ingredients:
2 lbs. cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbs. cornstarch
1 cup sour cream
Mix together all ingrediants until smooth and creamy. Line the bottom of the 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper before re-attaching the side ring. Attach the side ring and trim any paper protruding outside the ring. Spray inside surfaces with cooing spray (spray-can oil). Pour the cheesecake mixture into the pan. Gently bounce on working surface to level and remove any trapped air bubbles.

Place the pan into a pre-heated 425 degree F. oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200 degrees and bake an additional 35 minutes. Open oven door and check to make sure the cheescake is done. Turn off the oven and close the door. Let cool for three or more hours, in the oven. This will prevent the top from cracking. I made my cheesecake layer jsut before retiring for the night. I took it out of the oven next morning and it was perfect.

This cooking process is modified from the original to accomidate what I was trying to achieve. I used a 10 inch springform pan, rather than the 9 inch pan called for in the original recipe. That being the case, more surface area and a thinner filling would absorb heat more rapidly than in the 9 inch pan. So I shortened the cooking time by ten minutes by reducing by five minutes each, the exposure to both the 425, and 200 degree exposure time.

When the cheesecake is completely cooled, it will have pulled away from the pan sides. Remove the ring. Gently slide a wide spatula under the parchment paper to assist in removing the cheesecake. Place on a very flat plate. Remove the crust with ganache layer from the fridge and hold the plate with the cheesecake over the crust. I used my hand to hold the cheesecake in place. Gently slide the cheesecake into the crust, on top of the ganache. Place everything back into the fridge.

With mine, the cheesecake had shrunk just enough to fit exactly into the crust. You couldn't have believed what a good stroke of fortune that was, as the ganache was too gooey to have supported the cheesecake without the crust to hold everything together.

Strawberry topping:
Ingredients:
12 oz. can Straberry Pie filling
8 oz. fresh straberries, hulled and washed.
2 tbs. Tapioca starch
Combine all ingrediants in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a suitable saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. Spread on top of the cheesecake layer and chill.

Ganache frosting:
Ingredients:
1 cup left over ganache
1 cup icing sugar (super fine or Castor sugar)
Combine and place in piping bag. Use the decorating tip that makes star-shaped chocolate drops or pinwheels. Pipe the frosting from the center to the rim, making 3 equaly space spokes that divide the cace into three eaul slices. Add another spoke, again starting at the center and running to the rim, spaced midway between the original spokes. REpeat the process one more time. You now have 12 equally spaced spokes. Using the same tip, pipe a bretty pinwheel over the center to cover the spot where all spokes meet. Place a smaller pinwheel at the end of each spoke. Place the whole thing back into the fridge and chill until it's time to serve.

Nope, I didn't win anything. But a good freind overheard one of the contestants say to one of the judges, before the results were read, "I did win, didn't I?" To which the judge replied, "Of course you won. Was there any doubt?" This is just heresay, but I did get a chance to talk to two of the judges. They both said that my desert should have own, because it tasted great and wasn't the same old no-bake cookies, or jellow cheesecake spread over a melted chocolate bar. And they loved the creativity. But I live in a small town where popularity for a few select people is everything.

But here's my own critique. In an honest competition, with people who really know how to cook, I don't think my desert deserved even an honorable mention. The ganache was too gooey. It just didn't have enough body to carry the other fillings and oozed out when the crust was cut into. It was messy to eat and hard to serve. In retrospect, I would use 3 1/2 cups of chocolate to 1 cup cream. I would still use Splenda to avoid caramelizing the sugar. I am shooting for the texture of those creamy little chocolate squares called Ice Cubes, that you find on gas station counters, but with the same flavor that I achieved. The cheesecake and strawberry toppings were, IMHO, perfect. I couldn't have done anything better with that part. Though I'm tempted to add a cup of cream to the batter and see if it makes the cheesecake any creamier. But that's just to satisfy my own curiosity.

This is a truly wonderfull desert, but is best served as an indulgent, and delightfully gooey desert for good freinds and family. It's like having a chocolate volcano cake with cheesecake on the side. I can see this served after a good Itallian meal, as a powerful taste conterpoint. But like I said, don't expect anyone to say that there are any health benefits to this one. Yup, I allowed myself just one forkfull. I think that fact is more important and satisfying to me than if I'd one the competition.

Now, I have to go and bake this wonderful loaf of multi-grain bread that's been leavened with sourdough or bigga, and has been resting in the fridge all night. It's being entered into a chilli/bread cook-off/corn roast taking place tonight at my church. Wish me luck.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

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Old 08-27-2005, 10:41 AM   #2
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Goodweed, if you're only eating a forkful, I'll take the rest off of your hands for you...

and btw, good luck with your bread in the cook off!
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Old 08-27-2005, 10:46 AM   #3
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Oh, and the name for this desert; it was coined as my wife and I were driving to the picknic, where the competition was being held. DW is a California Native from El Cajon. We always marveled that people would build houses in the San Diego river track, in a place called mission valley, where every time the rainy season hit, homes build partially on stilts would be ruined by mudslides, and other homes in the valley would suffer flood damage.

The desert, when sliced and placed on a plate, when tilted a bit, would exhibit the same catastrophic tendancies. That is, the cheesecake and above toppings would slice off of the ganache, which is dark brown in color, similar to a very dark mud. Hence the name, in remembrance of the Mission Valley area of San Diego county.

Just a bit of California humor.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 08-27-2005, 10:59 AM   #4
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It sounds great Goodweed!! The one I made also has a tendancy to slide apart when sliced. I'm glad your experiment turned out well & I can't wait to try it!
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Old 09-02-2005, 04:16 PM   #5
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How do you determine what was wrong with a non-winning entry? You taste it and give an honest appraisal of what was right, and what was wrong.

What was right with the California Mudslide desert?

1. Ganache on a Graham Cracker crumb crust is a wonderful flavor.

2. Ganache made with 2 parts semi-sweet chocolate, 1 part heavy cream is rich and fabulous tasting.

3. New York Style cheescake is great tasting and lends itself perfectly to crustless baking.

4. New York style Cheesecake shrinks perfectly when cooled to fit into a crust made in the same pan as was the cheesecake.

5. Canned strawberry pie filling, when blended until smooth, is a great flavor combination with cheescake

6. Creamy smooth ganache, when mixed with super-fine sugar makes a wonderul chocolate icing for decorating with, and tastes great.

What was wrong with the California Mudslide?

1. The ganache was too soft to hold up under the weight of the cheesecake.

2. The 1 inch thick ganace overpowered the cheesecake flavor.

3. The 1 inch thick ganache overpowered the strawberry topping.

5. A very thin, hard-chocolate shell should have been used for chocolate accent rather than the ganace, and it needed to be subtle.

6. Due to the soft ganache, the desert was messy to serve and eat.

7. In spite of specatcular visual impact, this layered desert was a failure. The ganache was too strong for the other ingredients, and did not go well with the cheesecake.

Lessons learned:
1. Ganache is easy to make, and is very useful for cakes, or as a sauce where chocolate is the star.

2. Cheesecake comes out very nicely when baked without a crust, and on top of an oiled sheet of parchnet paper, with the springorm pan sides oiled as well.

3. Strawberry pie filling makes a great base for a quick and easy strawberry sauce.

4. Experiments are fun and sometimes produce spectacular results. But sometimes, they produce something less than perfect, and sometimes, something downright nauseating.

The California Mudslide is far from nauseating. But it is far less than spectacular. But it sure looks great.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 09-02-2005, 04:39 PM   #6
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very articulate, goodweed, as always.
i would love to the recipe out to take to a picnic.
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