Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mini Blackberry Caramel Cheesecakes

I've been wanting to make these for a long time. Their picture in Alice Medrich's A Year in Chocolate looked soo inviting. When I found blackberries for sale in the supermarket stand, I knew it was time. Let me say outright that the taste was outstanding. Very creamy and complex, with one taste closely following the next ... Of course, this did not come as a surprise as I expect nothing less from an Alice Medrich recipe. However, they were also very rich and we ended up sharing portions since nobody in my house was able to eat one mini cheesecake in one sitting. But if you love cheesecakes, this may be the ultimate dessert for you.

I encountered two difficulties with this dessert. The first was more of an observation. Part of my caramel hardened and got stuck at the bottom of the molds. It is not the first time this is happening to me, either. If any of you have an idea why, please let me know. (I think in this case it was just as well, because the dessert was still quite sweet. I will definitely reduce the amount of sugar the next time I make it.) The second difficulty was to gracefully unmold the cheesecakes. I used a sharp knife as she suggested and even supplemented by heating the bottoms of the molds with my hand torch, but the results were not always pleasing. Maybe this also has to do with the hardened caramel, I do not know. Suffice it to say that some of my cheesecakes did not look good enough for company. After trying with several different kinds of molds, it seemed to me that pyrex cups worked better than porcelain ones. It looks like Alice used them, too. Her pictures are always so perfect that it makes you think there is some magic involved in the preparation!

All in all, I am happy to have tried this recipe. The caramel--or what little I had of it--mixed with the juices of blackberries and the sweetness of white chocolate tamed by the tartness of the blackberries ... Imagine all this happening in the backdrop of the creamiest of cheesecakes, and you'll know how great that first bite was.