My presentation was about determining the extent to which molecular gastronomy could be considered an art or a science - in conclusion, molecular gastronomy is an art that uses science as a tool to create it. I had quite a bit of a struggle with this as I had my conclusion before I came up with my points; but anyway, I'm just glad it's over!
So, did you know that soufflés were one of the first products of molecular gastronomy? It's quite interesting, really - apparently, Herve This (the "founding father" of molecular gastronomy) got into it because of a flat soufflé which led him to undertake multiple experiments in the kitchen to arrive at a soufflé which didn't fall. As an 'experimentation', I made a baileys soufflé which I brought to class. It was pretty cool, and it was why I bought an entire bottle of baileys (of which I only used 15ml, but it was definitely worth it!)
With all the extra baileys left in the wine fridge, I had been toying with the idea of making a baileys cheesecake for quite some time now. However, there weren't many recipes on the internet that did not require a crazy amount of ingredients (I only had two packets of cream cheese at home, and I really wanted to use my 24-cm springform pan). I ended up having to adapt recipes and make adjustments here and there, but thankfully everything turned out alright (or so I'd like to think).
This cheesecake is dense, with a strong baileys flavour which I suspect will only grow stronger tomorrow as the flavour sets in. The base is dark and lovely, albeit a little crumbly - I'm a sucker for digestive biscuit bases, or just digestive biscuits in general. Maybe a little more butter would help make it stick together better. I was kind of worried when I finished my cheesecake filling as it looked terribly wet, but my mother assured me that it was alright, and it was - in fact, I suspect that led to its incredibly creamy texture. No complaints there.
Caramel Baileys Cheesecake
- 250g digestive biscuits
- 125g butter (salted or unsalted; it's your call)
- 500g cream cheese
- a dash of sugar (as much or as little as you'd like, but try to have a little in there!)
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup of sour cream (which I didn't have, so I substituted it with 1 tablespoon of butter and approx 1/3 cup of buttermilk)
- 1/3 cup of baileys
- salted caramel sauce
- Prepare all your ingredients (a no-brainer, but you'll be surprised how many times I find myself forgetting something in the midst of baking and rushing to the kitchen to find it)
- Preheat your oven to 176 degrees celsius (350 fahrenheit). Grease a 24-cm springform pan.
- Crush the digestive biscuits in a blender, melt butter in the microwave.
- Mix the butter into the crushed biscuits until you get somewhat of a moist crumb. Pat into the base of your springform pan and bake for 10 minutes! Upon removing the pan from the oven after the 10 minutes, increase your oven temperature to about 232 degrees celsius (450 fahrenheit).
- Using an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy (yum).
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Pour in the sour cream (or buttermilk and butter), followed by the baileys. Mix well.
- Pour mixture into pan and bake at 232 degrees celsius for 10 minutes, after which, lower the temperature to about 125 degrees celsius (250 fahrenheit).
- Bake at 40 minutes, the cheesecake will be a little wobbly in the centre but the sides should be a lovely-golden brown. My cheesecake cracked quite a lot so if you're not going for the crackly effect; the original creator of the recipe recommends putting it in a water bath to bake. I have personally never tried doing so before, but I've read that it works with great success for many, so give it a go!
- Remove your cheesecake and cool it on a wire rack, chill it if you wish or cut a lukewarm slice for yourself, but not before microwaving some salted caramel sauce for about 10 seconds and drizzling it over your cheesecake. Yum.
- Savour it, enjoy it, relish it.
You probably deserve it.