But I came out of the cinema feeling deflated, disappointed, underwhelmed, unenthused and unimpressed ... ha ha, I'm sure you get the message! Don't get me wrong, I loved the fashion and the decadence of Abu Dhabi but not in place of actual story lines and the glamour of Manhattan! As my dad (who really dislikes all forms of chick flick my mum tries to drag him to) gleefully quoted from a review he'd heard on the radio, 'there was no sex (yup, it was weird to hear him say that) as only the one who normally gets lots of sex got some and even then; once??? and there was no city, only the desert'. As we came out, my brother in law who was dragged there against his will said, 'It was entertaining, but just really frivolous and superficial', and I had to agree but also clarify that Sex and the City might be frivolous and fun to watch but it usually also has substance! My friends and I reference their numerous dating and life dilemmas because they are so relevant. In conclusion, I'm really sad :( On the bright side, there were some fabulous dresses from Carrie (but who wears a dress with a train at home to watch TV????) and some laugh-out-loud moments so it's not all bad!
Okay, so I promise that there's a link between SATC and today's baking endeavour. Magnolia bakery - I made it a must stop on my last trip to NY after hearing about it on the show and now have two of their cookbooks. This and my next post are recipes from 'At Home with Magnolia' - which is the only one of their books which is not just a cake/desert book. It's also the only one of their books with lots of pictures which is usually a must for cookbooks for me ... so if you're reading Allysa Torey, please make sure all of your upcoming books (and I hope there'll be plenty) have lots of pictures of your beautiful cakes!
This was my sister's birthday cake and I'll post my mum's next. This recipe has been adapted as there are some things we just don't have in the UK (like graham crackers!) and I've changed all the measurements to g and ml from cups and ounces.
98g unsalted butter, melted
130g ginger nut biscuit crumbs
92g chopped toasted macadamia nuts (see note)
908g cream cheese (left at room temperature for a few hours to soften)
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 x 227g tins of pineapple chunks, drained thoroughly! I drained them in the tins then drained small portions in my fist, using my fingers to cut them into smaller pieces before putting in the filling.
2 tablespoons double cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
White chocolate sauce
340g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
200ml double cream
90g coarsely chopped toasted macadamia nuts, for garnish (see note)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4
1 - To make the Crust: In a medium-size bowl, combine the butter, ginger nut crumbs, macadamia nuts, and sugar.
Press into the bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 165ºC/Gas Mark 3.
2 - To make the filling: In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Gradually add the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time.
To ensure that the batter has no lumps and that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer several times and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Stir in the pineapple, double cream, and vanilla.
Bake until the edges are set and the center moves only slightly when the pan is shaken, about 1 hour but it could take slightly longer.
At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat, and keeping the oven door slightly ajar, cool the cake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another hour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
Note: my cake had a couple of cracks in the middle once it cooled but don't worry too much about that, the chocolate sauce is pretty thick and will cover any cracks.
4 - To make the white chocolate sauce: I recommend covering the cake in the white chocolate sauce a couple of hours before you serve it and returning it to the fridge until you serve.
In a small saucepan, over very low heat, combine the white chocolate with the heavy cream.
Stir until the white chocolate is completely melted and the sauce is smooth, 3-5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and transfer the sauce to a glass measuring cup. Allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Place cheesecake on your serving plate, remove from the tin (you might have to run a table knife round the edge to loosen it from the tin) and pour the sauce over the entire top of the cheesecake (letting it drip down the sides) and garnish with the macadamia nuts.
Note: To toast the macadamias, place on a baking sheet in a 180ºC/Gas Mark 4 oven for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.