We’re still picking up the pieces in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but compared to the rest of New Jersey the Philadelphia area came through with minimal damage. The carnage in New York , and the northern and central parts of New Jersey is just unimaginable. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those that have lost so much because of this devastating storm.
But when tragedy strikes, we do what we do best. We come together as a community, becoming the people we wish we were all year long. We are at our best when life is at it’s worse. Some may say that’s a sad commentary on the state of the human race, but I think its what defines the us. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
When life gets becomes overwhelming, I take solace in my kitchen, finding my balance. And when I really need to cheer myself up, I bake. There’s just something so therapeutic about sugar and butter.
I had seen a pie on the cover of Palate magazine, and it was gorgeous. It was a combination of cranberries and blueberries and the article referred to it as an Amethyst Pie, because of the amazing color of the filling. I tried to recreate that pie, and even though I wasn’t too sure about the accuracy of the recipe, I followed it exactly. I have to tell you it was a complete failure…..sigh The worst part is as I was making it, I knew it wasn’t going to work, but hoping it would. Unfortunately there was nothing to save from that failure, but it had possibilities!
When I buy cream cheese I buy in bulk and after my pumpkin cheesecake, I still had quite a bit of cream cheese left and thought a cheesecake tort with that Amethyst topping would be a thing of beauty. I thought I would go with a traditional graham cracker crust for this torte, but thought a chocolate crust would be a great contrast not only in colors but in flavors as well.
It tasted as good as it looked! The creamy cheesecake against a not too sweet chocolate crust and that delicious combination of berries cooked down to that amazing color…..sigh It was a beautiful thing!
- 1½ packages chocolate graham crackers
- 4 oz butter (120 g)
- 3 8-ounce (227 g each pack) packs cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup ( 200 g) sugar
- 2 Tbsp (30 g) flour
- 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
- ½ tsp (2.5 g) salt
- 3 large eggs
- 8 oz (200 g) frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
- 6 oz ( 160 g) fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw; about 1½ cups)
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 3 tbsp (45 g) cornstarch
- 1 tbsp.(15 g) fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp.(2.5 g) finely grated lemon peel
- place chocolate graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process into a fine meal. Place in a mixing bowl
- Add melted butter and mix together to make the crust
- Press mixture onto bottom and up the side of the deep tart pan or springform pan
- Bake in 350 degree (177 C) oven for about 15 minutes, until firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In your stand mixer add cream cheese and beat just until smooth
- Slowly add in the sugar, scrape down the sides of bowl
- Add in flour, salt, eggs, and vanilla mix for 2 -3 minutes until well blended and smooth.
- Pour cheesecake mixture into prepared crust and place in 350 degree (177 C) preheated oven for one hour.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on wire rack
- Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours (overnight is better)
- Combine all ingredients in large saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil (this will take 10 -12 minutes) make sure to keep stirring the mixture
- Continue cooking until mixture begins to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer berry mixture to glass or ceramic dish; cool completely (mixture will thicken)
- After mixture has cooled completely,spread evenly over the top of the cheesecake, leaving about ½ inch of the cheesecake showing.
It really was a delicious combination of berries and I may try to make that pie again, but this time I’ll develop my own recipe, hopefully one that works! With Thanksgiving coming it would be the perfect addition to my holiday table, and I’ll make sure to let you know how it turns out!
What are you serving this year?