Dreaming at the Secret Garden and Redesigning a Cheesecake
Posted on July 8th, 2012
This post is also available in: Romanian
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” - Anne Frank
Imagine you are in a secret garden, a garden full of roses; all kind of roses. The smell is charming you completely. Scores of walls full of roses and green bushes, fresh air and beautiful dawn-time light reflecting into the roses. It’s an immense quiet around and soon roses will give us their full bloom. It’s like the sun is shining on the roses and the roses will bloom on the sunshine*. Feel the scent of the grass, of the green leaves, the fresh morning air, and the roses. I have to tell you a story…
I ignored all the bad and kept the good inside me and promised to myself I will do my very best to accomplish something beyond my limits. I didn’t want to give up, I wanted to struggle, to feel I deserve an accomplishment. I didn’t want to receive anything for granted.
I created this place 2 years ago and I envisioned it as my home - a place full of things that represent me. I wanted to see how much good things are inside me, what I can offer and if I really can go beyond my limits. We never truly believe in ourselves or sometimes we forget to do it. I wanted to stop myself from doing this. I want to create and believe in my creation.
I wanted to make true all the great ideas I thought I had. Something from inside me. I put aside all confusion that was crowding my brain and started to build a place of tranquility, a place that will bring satisfaction and joy. Today, there’s no other bigger joy than to see this blog flowering and producing all these intimate thoughts I had about creation of value.
I have my soul full of gratitude for each one of you, who believed in me! Through your support and kind words I have kept going with this amazing project, that is today – What Liberty Ate. I have the conviction, the will and a lot of ideas to carry out still this blog with inspiration for everyone. I did felt I need to take a step up in order to accomplish my dream as I imagine it, and I did it because I wanted to cherish with enthusiasm and contentedness my life. Each one of us should have a secret garden that is blooming each day, is blooming with courage, good thoughts and gratitude for life.
To thank you all, today I prepared a special giveaway together with my dear fellow, Miss Babacilu, a great jewellery designer. I have created, special for you an inspiration small notebook, full of photos from the blog. Miss Babacilu has hand created some pieces of wonderful work, as per Liberty style : a beautiful gold plated necklace with adorable little bow attached. This is a one of a kind creation, custom made special for this giveaway. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and answer the question “What means happiness for you?”. The giveaway is opened until 14th of July and the winner will be announced here, using. Random.org.
For this special occasion, I wanted to tempt you with something different. I wanted to make a different celebration cake. Something that will mark you. Thus, I imagined this wonderful cheesecake with brioche base. It’s not a filled brioche with cheese, it’s a redesigned cheesecake with brioche bottom flavored with raspberry honey. While spending my vacation in Romania, I met with a dear friend from high-school, which runs now an organic shop. She offered me this wonderful honey 100% organic, made by placing the bee-house near forest raspberry bushes.
I named my cake Rosalia. As a kid I was charmed by the story “The Secret Garden”. While I was in Vienna, I ached for that beautiful rose garden they have there. I couldn’t make my photo-shoot there, but I improvised at home with paper, trying to reproduce the magic of a beautiful story. Also, I wanted to brake down that classic cheesecake with biscuit or crackers base, I wanted something soft and flavorful for this cheesecake. It was a risky move redesigning a classic, but the result was unbelievable! You never tasted something like this. Soft cheese, soft bottom, flavors all around, raspberries, vanilla, honeyed scent. Happy birthday, What Liberty Ate!
* Play on words based on the book quote “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Rosalia Raspberry Cheesecake with Homemade Brioche Base Flavored with Raspberry Honey Directions : Raspberry Syrup Raspberry Cheesecake (recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller) Directions :
(makes 8 servings)
Ingredients for the brioche (recipe by Bon Appetit):
1/4 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F)/60ml
1/4 cup warm whole milk (110°F to 115°F)/60ml
3 teaspoons active dry yeast (measured from two 1/4-ounce envelopes)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour/350g
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar ( have replaced the sugar with raspberry honey)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature/170g
1 large egg beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)
1. Combine 1/4 cup warm water and warm milk in bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Sprinkle yeast over and stir to moisten evenly. Let stand until yeast dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
2. Add flour and salt to yeast mixture. Blend at medium-low speed until shaggy lumps form, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in sugar/honey. Increase mixer speed to medium; beat until dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
3. Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until blended after each addition, about 4 minutes (dough will be soft and silky). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and climbs paddle, 8 to 9 minutes.
5. Lightly butter large bowl. Scrape dough into bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.
6. Gently deflate dough by lifting around edges, then letting dough fall back into bowl, turning bowl and repeating as needed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill, deflating dough in same way every 30 minutes until dough stops rising, about 2 hours. Chill overnight. (At this point, use the dough to make 12 brioches, or 6 brioches and 1 tart, or 2 tarts.) From this dough quantity I made 1 brioche tart used as bottom for the cheesecake (pan of 18cm) and 6 brioches.
7. Butter 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces; cut each piece into thirds. Roll each small piece between palms into ball. Place 3 balls in each prepared cup (dough will fill cup). I weighted the dough and I have used around 350g to make the bottom of the cheesecake (this means more then half of the dough quantity has been used to make the cake base). The rest of the dough has been used to make the “muffin”brioche.
8. Place muffin pan in warm draft-free area; lay sheet of waxed paper over. Let dough rise until light and almost doubled (dough will rise 1/2 inch to 1 inch above top rim of muffin cups), 50 to 60 minutes. No matter if you are doing “muffin”brioche or the tart, the same rules must be followed.
9. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F (205°C). Place muffin pan on rimmed baking sheet. Gently brush egg glaze over risen dough, being careful that glaze does not drip between dough and pan (which can prevent full expansion in oven).
10. Bake brioches until golden brown, covering with foil if browning too quickly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to rack. Cool 10 minutes. Remove brioches from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. After cooling the brioche tart, I have cut it’s top (1/4) and imbibe it with 5 tablespoons of raspberry syrup. This brioche is gently sweeten, thus can be served with butter or as a sandwich.
1 tablespoon Ballantines
4 tablespoons of tea gently sweeten (Rooibos tea with raspberry, strawberry and raspberry)
Important notes : follow recipe word by word. Don’t be tempted to add more flour at the point where the dough is raising or after, because the texture of the brioche will not be the same anymore! Don’t skip the step with letting the dough over night to chill in the fridge. This is a mandatory step! This will transform completely your dough and will help to get that soft, airy and tasteful brioche character.
1 brioche tart
3 egg yolks
50ml citrus juice (1 lemon and 1/2 grapefruit)
4 leaves gelatine, softened in cold water
200ml pouring cream
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1. Whisk egg yolks in an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Combine sugar and citrus juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and stir to dissolve, then bring to the boil and cook until syrup reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer. With motor running on high speed, add sugar syrup to egg yolks in a thin stream. Return saucepan to heat, squeeze excess water from gelatine and add to pan, stir until just melted then add to egg yolks and whisk until cold.
2. Combine pouring cream, ricotta and vanilla paste in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Fold cream mixture into egg mixture. Spread evenly over brioche tart and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until set. Decorate with raspberries.
Rosalia Raspberry Cheesecake with Homemade Brioche Base Flavored with Raspberry Honey
Raspberry Cheesecake (recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller)