Warm Duck and Lentil Salad

I’m not even going to pretend that this is healthy, although honestly, it could be worse. Once you try it, you won’t care in the slightest. Picnics, family BBQs, feeding whosoever is in your bubble, or dropping it off to those with whom you cannot break bread at present. This is hearty, rich, decadent and yet still filled with healthful legumes. I won’t say it’s uncomplicated either—it’s full of several little steps­, which can be broken up and tackled in stages. 

Why is this a salad, rather than a warm side dish? Mainly because I use a vinaigrette to dress the lentils. But instead of oil, duck fat is warmed up and used along with the reduced pan juices. I got this idea from the brilliant Brad Long, chef and owner of Café Belong and Belong Catering, and sometimes star of the Food Network smash hit Restaurant Makeover. His Brown Butter Vinaigrette, born out of necessity, provided me with the understanding that different types of fat can stand in for oil in a salad dressing. Duck fat is delectable in any recipe. Here it is paired with the vinegar from my Smoky Onion Pickles, and the pickled onions, paired with a sweet mustard. Fresh tarragon makes this feel like the most French thing you’ll eat all summer, and well into the fall.

I made use of pre-made duck confit, but roast duck legs would work perfectly here. As long as the skin is crisped and thrown in with the shredded meat, you should have plenty of hearty flavour to boost your lentils, with or without pan juices. 

The other cool trick I learned this week is that sous vide lentils are their own thing entirely. I usually put puy lentils in the pressure cooker, not caring if some become mushy. Preferring it in fact, for lentil and potato soup. I’ve tried cooking them carefully on the stovetop to preserve them in distinct and unbroken form, only to find that the age of the lentils can create wildly varying results. And they require an exceedingly watchful eye. Sous vide lentils, on the other hand, can be left for hours without any fear of disintegration, and leaving you free to turn your attention to other matters. You can cook them in a Ziplock bag, but I cooked them in mason jars.

This salad can be easily doubled for a crowd. Makes a nice side dish or a main with a wholegrain sourdough and an endive salad. 

Warm Duck and Lentil Salad

Hearty, rich, decadent and yet still filled with healthful lentils, this salad uses pickled onions and crispy duck for a hefty wallop of umami.
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Canadian, French
Keyword: #duck, #lentils, #salad
Servings: 8 people

Equipment

  • Sous vide device (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup puy or beluga lentils
  • 2 ½ cups water 
  • 2-4 fresh bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp sea salt 
  • 1 whole leg of duck confit (or 2 roast duck legs)
  • 1 cup tarragon, washed and chopped 
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup smoky onion pickles 
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp salted capers
  • ½ cup vinegar (from the onion pickles, or white wine or champagne vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard  
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup duck fat, warmed
  • ¼ cup pan juices 
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 pats duck fois gras (optional)

Instructions

  • Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve, then place them in jars or bags with water, bay leaves and salt. Set sous vide devise to 190ºF (87ºC) and cook for 90 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Open and let cool. Drain and set aside. 
  • Alternatively, bring lentils, salt, bay leaves to a boil in 4 cups of water, then simmer until tender, 25-30 minutes.
  • Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 350ºF for 12-15 minutes. Let cool. Rub off most of the skins, then chop roughly with a knife or pulse in a food processor until roughly ground. Set aside.
  • Remove the duck from its bag, pouring the juices into a small pan. Bring juices to a boil, then reduce over medium heat until you have about ¼ cup. 
  • Reheat duck in a cast iron frying pan, browning and crisping the skin. Remove the skin and crisp it on all sides. Melt any fat under the skin. Reserve ½ cup of the fat.
  • Remove duck to a cutting board, let cool slightly. Shred with hands. 
  • Chop onion pickles (use fresh mild onions or shallots if you don’t have the onion pickles) into a fine mince. Chop tarragon and parsley, then throw all three into a bowl with the lentils. 
  • Make the vinaigrette: put the vinegar, garlic cloves, capers, mustard, salt and pepper together in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour over the lentils, onions and herbs. Warm up the duck fat in the pan. Toss together thoroughly. 
  • Add half of the hazelnuts and the duck meat and skin, and chopped fois gras, if using, and toss again. Top with remaining hazelnuts and a few sprigs of tarragon. 

Notes

You can use your own sous vide duck, buy it, or roast a couple of duck legs to use instead. 
If you happen to find duck foes gras, adding it in will take this dish from decadent to doubly delicious. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Potage Jacqueline

There is something so delightfully nostalgic about an old cookbook. Once beloved, long since fallen out of fashion, then dusted off and revived once more. Like finding your childhood teddy bear or an old photo you didn’t realize you’d kept.

I don’t generally go in for nostalgia. It’s usually only fun for a brief moment; a warm memory, a resurgence of feeling, a fuzzy image—suddenly ungraspable and empty, all-too-quickly receding again into the past. The present comes quickly knocking again to remind you of what’s what.

Not so with old cookbooks. It’s been twenty years at least, but I knew exactly where to find New Recipes From Moosewood Restaurant in my library, and exactly which page to turn to.

I learned to cook from Moosewood cookbooks. As a young West Coast vegetarian whose eating habits offended my family of hunters, I was thrilled to learn that books and restaurants and a whole food culture was geared to people like me, because there was a whole movement of people like me. I am no longer vegetarian, due to the pressure of feeding meat-lovers in my house, but I often eat vegan cuisine when I’m home alone. It’s better for animals, the planet and my health. And more vegetables can never be a bad thing.

This is a non-vegetarian take on a vegetarian soup that I made once for my friend Jacqueline. She was delighted to have a soup bearing her name. I’ve upped the cream and switched out the water for chicken stock. Both tweaks make for a richer soup, but honestly, water or veggie stock will do just fine. I’ve upped the ginger, too, but trust me, it’s not overwhelming. It’s a very balanced, still a very French-seeming soup, perfect for transition weather. Gently from summer to fall we go, back and forth, then and now. 

The other tweak was the lemon. The original recipe called for a floating lemon slice in the soup, which is a beautiful garnish, but it also was essential to the flavour, but a very uneven delivery method. I didn’t want the acid of lemon juice, and I didn’t want to boil the lemon zest, which would make the soup unbearably bitter. So, I grated so zest—a fair bit—to be blended in with the cream. It makes the sweet potato soup tastier and less insistently healthful.

If you can find fresh bay leaf, please do use it—dried is acceptable but just not the same. Tarragon also makes a lovely garnish. Potage Jacqueline, la deuxième fois.

Potage Jacqueline

A luxurious update of an old Moosewood recipe, sweet potatoes and cream scented with ginger.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack, Soup
Cuisine: American, Canadian, French
Keyword: cream of sweet potato, ginger, soup, sweet potato ginger, sweet potato soup, sweet potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 large onions, or 3 small
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 cup fresh whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest 

Instructions

  • Melt butter in oil over medium low heat. Sauté onions slowly until they are translucent. Add ginger and celery, stirring until celery is soft. 
  • Add chopped sweet potatoes, salt, bay leaf, white pepper and chicken stock. If you have the leaves from the celery, throw that in too. If the stock doesn’t quite cover the potatoes, don’t worry, they will submerge as they cook. You want them to be almost covered by liquid, not quite. Add more stock or water as needed, leaving about half an inch of potatoes sticking out. 
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are thoroughly softened. Let cool a little to make the soup easier to handle. Remove bay leaves and celery leaves, if using. 
  • Blend soup with cream and lemon zest on high until perfectly smooth, about 2 minutes. Reheat gently on the stovetop. Serve with a slice of lemon and some chopped tarragon, if desired.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Strawberry Pistachio Icebox Cake

The Ultimate in Strawberries and Cream

Is there any more heavenly combination than strawberries and cream? Actually—yes. Strawberries and pistachio. More accurately, strawberries and pistachio and cream. Okay, okay: strawberries, pistachio, cream and cookies. That’s it! I swear!

This is all you need to begin the most divine of all icebox cakes. What is an icebox cake, you ask? It’s like a trifle, minus the custard, booze optional. This is a family-friendly, liqueur and liquor-free concoction, and it is a crowd pleaser. There is nothing to it, but slapping some fabulousness together and letting it sit overnight until it becomes Über-fabulous. Heaven in a bowl, and easy as you please.

I’ve made this before with vanilla whipped cream and it was so good we all scarfed it down until our tummies hurt and then got up again the next morning to gobble it down for breakfast. But strawberry and pistachio has to be one of my all-time favourite combinations (you’ll see many incarnations of this delicious pairing to come on this blog) and it fits so perfectly here.

I have used a store-bought pistachio butter, but from the finest of food merchants: SOMA Chocolatemaker in Toronto. You can make your own, of course, but why would you, when products like this exist. Next time you are in the Distillery District or on Queen West, stop in a grab a couple of jars (the hazelnut too), along with a myriad of other treats.*

SOMA Chocolatemaker makes beautiful pistachio paste.

If you’d like to try this with Homemade Pistachio Paste, the incomparable Stella Parks aka BRAVETART gives you the key here. But I had the SOMA version in my cupboard, and the only raw pistachios I could find were from California. They are bland and lacking in the subtle, magical, ethereal pistachio flavour that comes from Sicilian, Iranian or Moroccan pistachios. So while I’m waiting on a special order of the very best pistachios, I’ll happily buy this smooth and flawless nut butter by people who know their stuff when it comes to good food.

When you layer this cake, the cookies and strawberries will not lay flat or smooth, so you’ll press and spread the cream a bit to fill in any air holes. What doesn’t get filled will likely disappear as the dry cookies expand, absorbing liquid from both strawberries and cream, transforming overnight into the most heavenly, cakey, delightfully cream-covered strawberry slop you will ever have. It’s messy and sludgy and gorgeous in its deliberate disarray.

If you think something so simple and so easy can’t be this divine, you will be amazed and delighted beyond all measure. Try it. What have you got to lose, but your deference to structure, form and—once you taste it—proportion?

*For goods from SOMA: You don’t need to hit the brick & mortar actual store. Everything is online, with FREE shipping within Canada (min $50) & Porch Drops (min $50) + Next Day Curbside pick-ups at the factory. online@somachocolate.com. And NO! They did not pay me to say this. Sadly. Doesn’t matter. Just get your hands on some of this business because it’s the real deal.

Strawberry Pistachio Icebox Cake

Strawberries and pistachio cream soften vanilla cookies into a cake-like texture for a bowl of glorious decadence.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, British, Canadian
Keyword: #chantillycream, #feedsacrowd, #goopygood, #iceboxcake, #iceboxcakerecipe, #makeahead, #overnightcake, #pistachio, #pistachiocream, #strawberries, #strawberry, #strawberrycake, #strawberrycakerecipe, #summerdesserts, #whippingcream
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 4 pints strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 4 cups whipped cream (1 L)
  • 1 box Nilla wafers
  • ½ cup pistachio paste (storebought or homemade)
  • ½ cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Rinse and slice three pints of strawberries. For the last pint, remove the green tops and set those berries aside for later.
  • Add ½ cup of cream to the bowl of a standmixer along with the pistachio paste. Using the paddle attachment, blend on low until the pistachio is fully incorporated into the cream, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  • Add sugar, vanilla and the rest of the cream. Using the whisk attachment, beat together on low until mostly blended, about one minute, then beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Smear a ½ cup of pistachio cream on the bottom of your bowl (preferably glass) to anchor your cookies.
  • Your layers should proceeds like this: cookies, strawberries, cream. Smooth your cream over each layer gently. You want to fill in any huge gaps without completely squahing and deflating the cream. A few holes are not a problem, they will fill up as the cookies expand.
  • Keep going until you are out of sliced berries. Top with one last layer of cream, and chill overnight. You can add your whole berries to decorate before you chill it or after, whicheve rmakes it easier to wrap it up. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Haskap Berry Slushie

The newest, weirdest, surprisingly pleasing superfood

Haskap. How do you say that? Just as it sounds – with an “a” like “at” or “hat”. Doesn’t reel off the tongue with great ease, nor does it recall easily, since it sounds like nothing else you might hear in regular conversation. It is said to derive from a Japanese word; I’m sure there’s a gentler Japanese pronunciation than the awkward noise I’ve heard people make when referring to this berry. They are known by prettier monikers, too: edible honeysuckle, blue honeysuckle and honeyberry. This is a trick. It’s meant to make them sound so lovely that you fail to notice how ugly they are. You won’t.

There’s no way you could call these things pretty. I think the visual comparisons are immediate and thoroughly off-putting, (at least that my mind, perhaps you’re less squeamish or prone to imagination), so I’ll refrain from naming them. Not pleasant to behold in the slightest. 

Behold the haspkap berry. Also known as Swamp Fly Honeysuckle. Go figure.

What they are, though, is incredible tasty, which I only discovered by forcing myself to try one. First bite seemed mouth-puckeringly sour, next bite was all sweetness and joy. Which is great, because they are really, really good for you. 

“Haskap berries are high in Vitamin C and A, fiber, and potassium. Specifically, they have three times the antioxidants of a blueberry, more vitamin C than an orange and almost as much potassium as a banana. They are extremely high in antioxidants such as Anthocyanins, Poly Phenols, and Bioflavonoids.” LaHave Berry River Farm

I don’t know how many berries it takes to defeat an orange, but let’s accept that they are nutrient rich, shall we? Now, not every fruit or vegetable is best consumed raw, but Vitamin C and antioxidants are easily lost through heat, and the raw taste is so lovely, let’s go with it. Most people describe them as tasting like a mixture of blueberry and raspberry, with varying third influences such as Honey Crisp apples, elderberry or black currant. I think the more common association with black grapes is the most apt. And I gotta tell ya; ya put those all together, and —strange as it sounds—somehow it works. 

They are quite addictive once you get a taste for them, but what to DO with such an unappealing mutt of a berry? They are apparently a bit watery when baked, which can be easily remedied by using a small amount of haskap berries with a pectin-rich fruit like a plum (skin-on for more pectin and firmness). I’m guessing such a combo would make a heavenly pie. 

But this is the new superfood! We must find a way to enjoy the fabulous raw taste while – if at all possible – concealing the look of the hideous little beasts. So I went with a boring old smoothie.

I left a little pulp in the smoothie, not wanting to decimate all fibre.

A smoothie seems such a waste, and especially paired with blueberry, which could easily drown out the unique flavour of the haskap berries. But my wild blueberries got smushed and dampened in the delivery box, so there was nothing for it but to give it a whirl, so to speak. Just berries – haskap and blueberry – and a touch of watermelon to keep it sweet, light, and refreshing. Vegan, too. 

It was scrumptious. So delectable, the pickiest of toddlers would gulp it down, no added sugar. I tried swapping out the watermelon for yoghurt and a touch of water (milk coated the berries in a cloying manner). Also fabulous. No added sugar necessary! 

Try this smoothie/slushie. And try haskap berries when you can get your hands on them, anyway you like: in fruit salads, scones, pancakes or in a honey-sweetened cooked sauce. Roasted or raw on a green salad with cherries and goat cheese and almonds. Or a coulis, blitzed and strained. Make people guess what that is on their cheesecake. Or poundcake, ice cream or meringue. Or baked brie. 

Haskap Berry Slushie

Haskap berries are as nutritious as they are weird looking. Great in fruit salad or in a smoothie.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Drinks, Snack
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #haskapberries, #haskapberry, #rawjuice, #smoothie, #superfood, #vegan
Servings: 4 glasses

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 1 cup haskap berries
  • 1 cup blueberries, preferably wild
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon, seeds removed
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup ice (otional)

Instructions

  • Throw your ingredients together in a blender until desired texture is acheived. I like it a little pulpy for extra fibre.

Notes

I tried substituting the water with milk or blueberry juice. Milk gives a discordant texture – I’ll try oat milk next time. 
Blueberry juice made it too sweet and overwhelmed the other flavours. This smoothie is so sweet already, it doesn’t need the sugar boost from juice. If you must add some, squeeze a quarter of a fresh lemon or orange in. Don’t overdue it or you’ll lose the elusive haskap berry flavour. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

TRIGGER WARNING: BUGS

Bonus: if you have little children that love eating bugs, especially in defiance of parental rules and common decency, just tell them you’ve collected some very sizable larvae or baby slugs for them to eat and let them chase the neighbours’ kids through the yard. It’s a superfood AND an exhilarating pastime! 

Elderflower Sangria

WITH CAPE GOOSEBERRIES, GOLDEN KIWI & GREEN GRAPES

A good sangria is a special summer delight. Too often, however, they are overly sugary concoctions, the kind that makes you sick rather than delightfully sated. The use of sharp, tangy wine, heavily sweetened juice or pop, and indiscriminate marriages of post-ripe fruits sounds more like a cheap cocktail than a divine elixir.

I’m a big fan of using what you have to make wonderful surprises when you’re cooking. But a sangria is not a stew. Let us build and layer flavours that complement and contrast each other until you’ve got a fruit blend worth macerating in advance of company arriving. 

Instead of mixing wine with juice, hard liquor, simple syrup, ginger ale or soda, I went for two simple liquid ingredients: elderflower liquor and sweet sparkling wine. Almost more like an elderflower cocktail than a sangria. Infusing the fruit in advance, however, means that it takes on enough essence and booziness to transform it into the kind of chunky, alcohol-laden bits one expects to find at the bottom of a glass of sangria. 

Layer your fruit a day ahead to soak up the liquor.

Cape Gooseberries have a unique flavour and a hearty texture that make them worthy of fishing out of your glass (with a spoon!) when the drink is drunk. They are only slightly smaller than the grapes. I tried cutting them, but they released too many seeds for my liking. I settled for giving them a pinch or a squish with the back of a spoon before dropping them into the pitcher.

Yellow kiwis are a favourite of mine too, because the flavour is light without being citrusy or floral – it has its own unique taste, with that lovely firm texture. It lacks that sharp acidic bite that is sometimes overwhelming in green kiwi. Perfect for soaking up a little extra flavour from the elderflower liquor. 

Fruit is the hero in this gentle concoction.

Eldflower liquor is sometimes looked down on as “the bartender’s ketchup” or “the poor man’s vanilla”, but such snobbery is irrelevant for a crowd-pleasing punch. I especially love that it gently enhances and underscores the fruit, which is still the hero of the day. Or night. 

Light & breezy summer sangria.

Enjoy the easiest ever white sangria! 

Elderflower Sangria with Cape Gooseberries, Golden Kiwi & Green Grapes

A super-simple, make-ahead recipe for white sangria with only three ingredients: fruit, sparkling wine, and elderflower liqueur. Featuring Cape gooseberries & golden kiwi.
Prep Time: 1 day
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #capegooseberries, #goldenkiwi, #sangria, #sparklingrosé, #sparklingwine, #summersangria, #summervibes, #whitesangria, Summertime
Servings: 6 people

Equipment

  • Pitcher
  • Mason jar
  • Potato masher

Ingredients

  • ½  cup Cape Gooseberries, husked and rinsed (100g)
  • ½  cup green grapes, de-stemmed and rinsed (100 grams)
  • 1 bottle elderflower liqueur (200 mL)
  • 1 bottle sparkling white or rosé wine

Instructions

  • Place the grapes and Cape Gooseberries in a bowl and mash them with a potato masher. You want them slightly crushed, not a bowl of fruity mush. If there are any outliers, feel free to pop them with your fingers, like you would bubble wrap.
  • Add peeled and chopped golden kiwis, cuttign them about the same size as the grapes and gooseberries.
  • Pour the fruit and their juices into a mason jar or other container. 
  • Cover with elderflower liquor and shake well. Place in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours. 
  • Pour in a jug. Add sparkling wine or prosecco, taking care not to stir too hard. iPour into ice-filled glasses and top with a Cape Goosberry with the husk pulled up but not detached.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Cheesecake feature image

New-fangled CHERRY CHEESECAKE

Fruit-filled, sous-vide, light and fluffy, this is the most flavourful cheesecake you will ever have

Welcome to the Cheesecake Revolution. This new ingredient-method mashup gives you a unique type of cheesecake: one with the fruit flavour in the batter, not on top.

I devised this cheesecake recipe for my audition for the first season of The Great Canadian Baking Show. Sad to say that I did not make it on, but the producers were incredibly gracious and I left the audition feeling lucky to have been invited to participate. What do you think—should I audition again? Maybe let me know after you’ve tried this cheesecake. 

This recipe is special thanks to two things: the miracle of sous vide cooking, and freeze-dried fruit. At the time, this was a really innovative use of ingredients and method, although both commonly used by foodies now.

Freeze-dried fruits are everywhere nowadays, but I first learned about them when I saw this post on the Serious Eats website by the brilliant Stella Parks (aka Brave Tart): Super Thick Fruity Food Processor Whipped Cream

Freeze-dried cherries are available all year around.

The idea is that you pulverize freeze-dried fruits with sugar into a fine, Kool Aid-like dust, and then blitz it with whipped cream. The fruit is hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs some of the moisture from the cream, leaving an extra-thick, smooth, fully flavoured whipped-cream topping. I thought, if you can do this with cream, why couldn’t you do it with cream cheese? I wanted a cheesecake that was flavoured throughout, not just plain vanilla with fruit on top. 

Looks like chunkier Kool Aid.

Well, turns out that if you try to beat fruity sugar into your cream cheese, it doesn’t get all that light and fluffy.  But if you add to it the sour cream and let it sit while you make the rest of the batter, it supplies a fulsome, hearty flavour to your batter. 

Where it got tricky in devising the recipe is that you need granulated sugar to help aerate the cream cheese as you beat it, too. Obviously sugar in the cream cheese AND sugar in the fruit could lead to a cloying, tooth-aching mess. But both require it. So I had to reduce the sugar in each part of the recipe as much as possible while keeping it at a functional base level. Too little sugar in the cream cheese and your cake will be dense. Too little sugar in the fruit mixture and your fruit powder will harden as it is processed. After several trials, I hit a version that is just right.

This recipe owes much to Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Cordon Rose Cheesecake from her classic Cake Bible (as does my Banana Chai Cheesecake recipe, for those who love spice). I tried to replace the lemon juice with cherry juice, but it needed the tang to avoid being overly sweet. I’ve increased the amount of cream cheese to make up for the absorbent fruit powder. I’ve increased the vanilla both to add liquid and make a more assertive base note to complement the cherry flavour.

Once you try this cheesecake, you’ll be sharing it with all your friends. My taste testers were certainly enthusiastic, agreeing that all the experimentation along the way was well worth it. If you don’t have a sous vide device, you can cook this batter in the usual way. It just won’t be as fluffy and light, but then some people prefer a cheesecake that is more dense.

Almond cookies make the perfect crunchy accompaniment to this mousse-like cheesecake. @somachocolatemaker

Top with freshly made cherry sauce, crumble amaretti, and top with whipped cream. Or dark chocolate sauce on freshly pitted cherries. Or mixed berries, or lemon curd, or….you get the idea.

New-fangled Cherry Cheesecake

This original cheescake uses freeze-dried fruit to saturate the batter with cherry flavour. Sous vide makes it lighter and fluffier, but you can make it in a traditional cheesecake pan and water bath as well.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #cheesecake, #cherrycheesecake, #sousvide
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Theresa

Equipment

  • Sous vide device or oven
  • Mason jars, 16 x 4oz, or 8 x 8 oz jars OR cheesecake pan
  • Stand mixer
  • Food processor or mini-chopper

Ingredients

  • 3 pkgs cream cheese Philidelphia brand, if possible
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 tsp freeze-dried cherries (60 grams)
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp cherry flavouring 
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  •  Attach your sous vide device to a heatproof container, then fill ¾ full of water. Preheat to the water to 80 °C or 176 °F
  • Make the flavoured cream first: into the bowl of a food processor (small bowl or mini-chopper if you have it), pulverize the cherries with ½ cup of sugar until it mostly resembles a fine dust. A few little pieces are okay but bigger chunks mean you need to pulse a few more times. Stir into the sour cream and let sit. 
  •  Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend with remaining 3/4 cup of sugar using the whisk attachment. Beat for 3 minutes on medium high speed until light and smooth, scraping down the side as needed.
  • Add the egg yolks one at a time on medium low speed, scraping down the sides after each addition
  • Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until combined.
  • Stir fruit and sour cream mixture again, trying to make sure as much of the fruit sugar has dissolved as possible, squelching any little pockets you find with a brisk stir.
  • Beat into the cream cheese mixture gently until fully incorporated, no more.
  • Cast the batter into your jars using a ladle or serving spoon. Fill to just below the rim, leaving about a half inch of space between the cheesecake and the lid. Screw on fingertip tight (see here) and place gently in your preheated water bath. Use tongs if you like to avoid getting splashed by hot water. .
  • Cook for 90 minutes.
  • When they are done, use those tongs again to remove the jars to a tray or a flat tea towel on a hard surface. Let them sit until they have cooled to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight. 
  • Top with freshly made cherry sauce, crumble amaretti, and top with whipped cream. Or dark chocolate sauce on freshly pitted cherries. Or mixed berries, or lemon curd, or….you get the idea.

Notes

  • If the cherries aren’t powdered with some sugar they can turn sticky and hard.
  • If the bowl of the food processor is too big, the cherries won’t pulverize into a small enough pieces.
  • Cherry flavouring is really strong – err on the side of caution. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away. Add with care.
  • This recipe works really well with freeze-dried raspberries as well, and I’m sure blueberries would do too. Strawberries tend to be too mild in flavour to stand up to the tang of the cream cheese and sour cream.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!