Something old, something new…

The holidays are always a fun time to cater to friends and family with mouth-watering desserts, whether you’re returning to an annual recipe or cautiously trying something new!

With my family hosting Christmas dinner this year, I was once again assigned to dessert duty? The requests: New York-style cheesecake and tiramisu.

The New York-style cheesecake recipe came from the Kraft website, which I discovered that I’ve been using for the past 6 years, according to the print date on the lower right hand corner of the stained recipe page (I didn’t realize that I had gotten into baking that long ago!). Prior to getting into the habit of baking all things banana, cheesecake had been my favorite go-to dessert for any gatherings. It’s also quite an easy, tasteful dessert to make once you get a handle on judging when the cheesecake is just about baked to remove it from the oven. Granted, my cheesecake usually comes out with cracks on the top layer despite following precautions (allowing the cream cheese to fully soften, not mixing the eggs for too long to avoid air bubbles, etc.). Fortunately the sour cream layer covers up the imperfections, and there’s nothing wrong with adding a little fruit or whipped cream on top for extra decor!

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The second request, the tiramisu, was rather spontaneous and unique. I’ll admit that I was a little surprised by the request for an Italian dessert given my family’s Polish heritage (we also served cannoli…). This dessert was more time-consuming, given it was my first time making the treat, but it was worth the effort! I followed this recipe from the Martha Stewart website. It yields a large tiramisu fitting for a large crowd, or one with guests willing to take pieces home. Some of my own tips from the experience of making the recipe:

  • 1.5 cups cooled espresso equals 1.5 cups hot water with 2 tsp instant espresso
  • 40 ladyfingers are enough for the two layers in a 9 x 13 pan
  • double the amount of ingredients for the whipped cream to create a pleasant, thick top¬†later (the amount listed in the recipe barely completely a layer on its own)
  • avoid small chocolate bars for the garnish and remember to cool the chocolate first – I attempted using a Hershey’s chocolate bar that kept cracking on me when grating the chocolate plus melting in my fingers
  • chill overnight

Overall, a success! I definitely recommend giving it a try.

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Hope everyone had wonderful holiday dessert experiences!

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