Happy New Year to you from a chilly Paris! I hope you all had a chance to have a good break, pick up a book now and again, stick your feet up and enjoy spending time with the family. If you’re like me, you may have also spent much quality time in the kitchen – but it’s my favourite, cosy haven to concoct new dishes and bring out old favourites to the table, making the family happy bunnies.
While I’m making the traditional royal French Galettes des Rois this week for Epiphany, I’ve also had a crescendoing urge to make … cheesecake! Julie is the greatest cheesecake fan I know – training her eye to spot them from a distance – as New York-style cheesecakes are gradually appearing more in Parisian pâtisseries. Since her major discovery of Gontran Cherrier‘s deliciously tangy Yuzu and lime cheesecake, festive shopping trips to St Germain-en-Laye up the road have had a major attack on her pocket money. So, Mum to the rescue, it was high time to stock up on some cream cheese and make one family-sized this weekend. Besides, I wanted to ensure she was eating enough fruit. Excuses over.
In my RECIPES TO DO pile, has been the most sumptuous-looking cheesecake on the 7th cover edition of Fou de Pâtisserie magazine: by Chef Jean-François Piège. He owns Thoumieux: a restaurant, a hotel and brasserie (see my reviews here), plus one of my favourite pâtisseries in Paris, Gâteau Thoumieux – at 58 rue Saint Dominique.
Chef Piège’s ingredients’ list is precise with 401g of cream cheese, but I should have taken note in step 2 that you only need 300g of the base – I used all of it in the recipe which was too much for a 16cm diameter cheesecake mould. The next time I make this, I’ll reduce the base by a 1/3 and add a little more butter, just to keep it better together. However, the extra base was excellent as a crumble topping! The cream cheese was divine – I added half the zest of an unwaxed orange, just to give it that extra tang. He doesn’t mention this, but I recommend that your cream cheese filling ingredients are all at room temperature in order to mix well.
Le Cheesecake de Gâteau Thoumieux
Recipe by Jean-François Piège and Ludovic Chaussard (Paris), extract from Fou de Pâtisserie magazine, September-October 2014 Number 7 (Cover feature).
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
260g plain flour (type 55)
110g butter 1
55g icing/powdered sugar
1g orange and lemon zest
(I added 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
65g butter 2
35g soft brown sugar
401g Philadelphia (R) cheese
55g single cream
1 egg yolk
(I added the zest of half an unwaxed orange)
Rose petals, coriander and parsley flowers, quenelles de mascarpone, almond streusel (According to the winter season, I instead used physallis, pomegranate jewels and my leftover macarons – over to your imagination!)
1. Make a shortcrust pastry with all the ingredients except the Butter 2 and soft brown sugar. Bake the pastry then, using a paddle beater of a mixer, break up into pieces when cool. (I mixed all the ingredients to a crumb consistency like shortbread and baked in the oven at 160°C fan /180°C for about 15 minutes). Add the Butter 2 and brown sugar. Mould 300g of the cheesecake biscuit round by 16cm diameter. Set aside.
2. To make the cream, mix the Philadelphia cheese with the sugar then gradually add the yolk, eggs and cream together.
3. To finish, pour the cream mix over the base and bake at 90°C for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Leave to cool in the fridge. Just before serving, decorate with the above suggestions.
Now that we’ve devoured plenty of sweet treats this festive season, I’m back to soups and lighter savoury delights for a few days. All the extra courses are now beginning to hang like a brioche over the jeans, which is not so sweet! So it’s back to the yoga tomorrow but I also fancy trying out chef Piège’s Pizza Soufflé, a popular signature dish in his brasserie.
Join me on Instragram and Facebook for a daily dose of photos from Paris and the suburbs – this week I’m sure you’ll see scenes from the Sales (les Soldes) as of 7th January, plenty more Galette des rois cakes decorating the pastry shop windows and baking them chez ze Colonnas.
Cheers to you and a delicious 2015!