Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Cheesecakes

We have a family tradition that when it is your birthday, you get to choose what we have for dinner.  My younger son is celebrating the anniversary of his birth today, and requested that we order in pizza and that his birthday cake be in the form of cheesecake. 

I make a pretty good cheesecake, if I do say so myself.  The recipe is from my friend Tina, who actually trained at the NY culinary institute and is a fabulous cook.  This cheesecake is one of our family's favorites -- right up there next to Barefoot Contessa's unbelievably delicious lemon curd tart.  But I digress... 

After the kids left for school today, I got to work on making the cheesecake, so it would have plenty of time to chill in the fridge before dinner, and so that I'd have plenty of time to go for a run and to get some work done (I've got a writing deadline today).  I went out to the store to purchase the ingredients (the recipe calls for 3 packages of cream cheese - not exactly the sort of thing I keep on hand).  I used my new food processor (a Christmas gift) to grind up the graham cracker crumbs and mix the other ingredients for the crust.  For a change of pace, I used chocolate-flavored graham crackers and they positively sparkled with the bits of sugar mixed in.  The cream cheese filling came out great, too.  I assembled the whole thing and, frankly, it looked beautiful.  But as I lifted the springform pan off the counter to put the cheesecake in the oven, the spring opened and the whole thing splattered all over the floor and the front of the stove.  I just stood there for a moment, taking in the mess.  I almost couldn't believe this was happening.  I wanted to cry.  There was no one home to complain to, and calling my sister, my husband, or a friend for consolation would just set me back, in terms of time.

So I made a half-hearted effort to clean up the worst of the mess, trudged back to the store, and started all over again.  I have to say that this time, making the cheesecake wasn't as fun as it was the first time.  But I finished without incident, completed my clean-up, and moved on to other things.

The kicker, though, was that as I was (very carefully) placing the finished cheesecake in the refridgerator, a container of fruit fell into it and made a hole.  The thing is cursed, I swear!

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