Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Neufchatel Day

You didn't know? Just kidding, of course but I was whipping out appetizers and desserts and it seemed I went through about 6 kilo of Neufchatel. Lucky girl, I am. The Neufchatel being made at Golden Ears CheeseWorks is superb for baking.
I was also asked to use and review a product made by C-Dubs Get Naked Rubs. I loved the freshness and flavor of the BBQ Rub I chose for the appetizer. I was perplexed with what to make as I have seen the grape/basil leaf/gouda mix on a toothpick but I knew that children would accompany their parents to the open house at Fuller Watson this evening so decided to make something more 'kid-friendly'. At the same time I needed it to fit the venue of the gorgeously re-modeled store.
Pretzaco Cheese Balls

 Aren't they cute?
I rolled mini Neufchatel Cheese balls flavored generously with C-Dubs BBQ Rub ( in crushed Spicy Nacho Doritos and stuck them with a pretzel. So simple, so delicious. No mess, no fuss and certainly "kid-friendly". Moms not worried about choking hazards is a good thing. I think they would be wonderful with a glass of wine or a cold beer for the adults.

Since there would be over 100 people milling about at the open house, I needed a simple dessert that would showcase the cheese. Neufchatel to the rescue. For those of you used to putting cheesecake together with regular creme cheese, please take note. Neuchatel is luscious, creamy and rich and once you try it you will be hooked. Normally I make cheesecake in 6inch tall springform pans or a standard 10 inch but for samplers I used 2 9x13 inch pans lined with parchment.
Cheesecake for 1 9x13 pan
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
1 kilo Neufchatel
1 c sugar
3 T all purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 c heavy whipping cream (I use creme fraiche)
1 T lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
For the crust mix all together and spread over bottom of 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper. (If using a springform pan, grease sides and bottom and bring the crumbs up about an inch on the sides)
Refrigerate while you make the filling.
For the filling place Neufchatel, sugar, flour in mixing bowl and beat until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Scrape the sides of the bowl well, add the creme, lemon zest, vanilla and beat until incorporated. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour in the filling. Place cheesecake in the 350 degree oven.
Bake 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 250 degrees. Cook approximately 60 minutes more (60-90 minutes for a 6inch tall springform or 10 inch round) until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the centre. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Let cool completely and then put in fridge overnight. If possible cool at least several hours before cutting.
For the samples I kept it plain but normally would have used a blueberry sauce which compliments the lemon so beautifully. We have a 'lime peppa chocolate sauce' at work that swirls on cheesecake and is such a unique flavor burst! Of course you can eat this 'plain' ( an understatement) or with your favorite topping (strawberry, caramel, crushed belgian chocolate bars, toasted nuts...)

Neufchatel Cheesecake Samplers ready to party

To go along with the theme I also made 150 mini quiche and 2 litre containers of Feta Dip. Recipes to follow....I need a little break. I'm all mini'd out! :)
Be sure to visit for some of the finest cheeses made locally and a whole host of interesting products.

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