Baking in the Woods: Experimenting with Neufchatel Cheese

Last weekend I spent sometime with a friend in a well-known suburb in Pennsylvania. While her husband planned dinner, we experimented with dessert!

We initially set out to make a traditional cheesecake, but accidentally picked up 16ozs of Neufchatel Cheese instead of cream cheese.  (To our defense the packages looked very similar and we had been focusing on the big, bold "1/3 less fat" sign) Nevertheless, it was not till we got to the house -which is nestled atop a hill in the woods- and I opened the package that I noticed something was different. It definitely didn't feel like cream cheese! Then I finally read the package...

Neufchatel Cheese is a popular type of goat cheese. At first glance it looks similar to cream cheese but is softer and, as we discovered, bakes into a crumbly texture.  If you'er interested in making your own Neufchatel Cheese go here.

First of the list of experiments was the Fresh Berry Neufchatel Cheesecake

I followed my traditional cheesecake recipe, but added 1 cup of sugar instead of a 1/2 cup along with the eggs, cream cheese and some mixed essence. Though I doubled the sugar, the cake was no way near overpoweringly sweet, which is what I always aim for...  Usually, my cheesecakes bake in about 25 minutes, but this however, took about 35mins and browned similar to a cheddar cheese topping on a pie (see below). Once cooled we topped the pie with freshly whipped cream and some fresh blueberries and strawberries (picked from a bush outside of the house). The result = YUM!!!!

Next was what I call Burnt Cheesecake
We created a crust using crushed Cinnamon Sugar Ritz Crackers, sugar and melted butter and added chunks of marshmallow to the remaining Cheesecake batter. The marshmallows roasted in the oven creating the burnt looking splotches on the cake. We couldn't wait to try it and ended up polishing it off shortly after it came out the oven.

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