City Paper is not for tourists
An occasional series whereby Jule admits she is not Julia. And keeps trying anyway.
Although I’m supposed to have mastered the art of the dinner party by now, throwing them doesn’t thrill me. Inviting people over for dinner makes me feel like my parents broiling steaks for the Jordans, the Mrs. of which possessed a cackle that could break lightbulbs. Also, my “English basement” apartment in Adams Morgan is small and sort of strangely laid out, so fuck it. I don’t do it. But I do like getting invited. And if you get invited, you should bring dessert. Dessert is easy. Baking is fun. Try this: Marble Cheesecake.
Recipe after the jump.
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup (or so) crushed chocolate graham crackers 2-3 T melted butter 3 8-oz blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (or Neufchatel) 1 cup sugar 3 T flour 1 T vanilla extract 1 large egg 3 egg whites 1/3 bag of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks WHAT TO DO WITH THEM: Crust: First, have a good time crushing the crackers. I find whacking things with a rolling pin to be completely satisfying. I sometimes name whatever I’m whacking after a really bad boss I once had (Dean Olsher, are you listening?). But I digress. Put the crumbs in the bottom of a springform pan, pour the melted butter over them, and mix with your hands. Press the crumbs into an even layer, getting some up the sides makes for a nice presentation. If you don’ t have enough butter to make the crumbs stick together, pour some more in. This is not science class. Bake that puppy for about 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven and let it cool some.
Cake: With your beaters or expensive mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s lighter and fluffier, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and flour, beat another 4 minutes or so. Add the vanilla, the egg, and the egg whites, and keep beating until things look right. You’ll know. Trust me. Pour that good stuff into your pan.
Cool Marble Effect: Put your chips/chunks into the microwave on low power for a minute, check them, stir, put them back if you have to, but don’t burn the little fuckers. They’re done when they’re not completely melted and stirring makes everything glossy. Drop teaspoon-size dollops on the cream-cheese batter and then drag a knife through. This will make arty, professional-looking swirls and you will be delighted with yourself. You will possibly call someone into the kitchen to be delighted with you, as well.
Bake the whole thing at 350 for 35 minutes. This is almost exactly the right amount of time. If you take it out five minutes early, it’ll be sort of squishy in the middle. If you leave it five minutes more, it’ll brown up on the edges, which isn’t terrible. Let it cool and stick it in the fridge, overnight is best. Make a sauce with sugar and fruit if you like. I made one on Sunday with on-sale strawberries, some brown sugar, and a little balsamic vinegar. But hey, I’m fancy like that.