Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Betty Crocker never lived in Brazil...

Cheesecakes are notoriously difficult. There's the special pan...the refrigeration...the crevices that appear if you jiggle it by accident...the trying not to burn the pre-cooked crust or the edges while it bakes for over an hour.

So just try cooking one in a gas oven without a temperature gauge, which on its very lowest setting can sometimes climb to 350 degrees F if the gas is adjusted improperly, in 95+ degree heat, converting the cream cheese from grams to ounces and substituting ingredients left and right. Then throw in a colony of ants that appear from nowhere, the lack of a mixer, and a grater that eats your fingers rather than the lime peels, and you're getting close to my day. But not quite. Mix the cheesecake batter in a blender, while attempting not to boil the delicate lime curd that will go on top, only to discover that Brazilian limes are powerful, pungent, and even subtracting 1/4 cup of the juice for water will still leave your curd so sour that it could strip the enamel off front teeth...and the gas stove isn't cooperating so the curd boils anyway which leaves you picking out pieces of cooked egg from the jelly-like goo. At least they taste like lime...

I went through all this trouble because I saw a cheesecake pan at Dona Dora's little bazaar and I paid three reis to bring the pale green thing home with me. Then it was Valentine's Day and I thought about chocolates and yummy things and romantic dates, which brings one to think about The Cheesecake Factory...and the abundance of limes and how wonderful a good key lime cheesecake is on a hot day (remember the Dinghy Dock restaurant???). But I'm not sure it was worth it...I have half a knuckle on both ring fingers and a foil slice on my left thumb from removing a stubborn foil seal from the off-brand cream cheese.

I give the recipe 5 stars for difficulty, number of pans to wash, and length of time you're chained to the oven, 3.5 stars for taste because I'm sure I was part of the problem, and 3 stars for being do-able in a foreign country. And when you add in the cost of cream cheese...well, let's just say this will be a once-a-year event. And if Junior doesn't like it, he's in trouble!!!

1 comment:

Brooke said...

hey beautiful! If you ever come home I promise ill make you a key lime pie that wont taste like crap!

love always
brooke