Celebrate Canada Day With Light, Festive Recipes

By BARBARA SILVERSTEIN

Traditionally, July 1, Canada Day, is a celebratory time for young families. When my children were small, we would go to the local park to watch Canada Day fireworks with our neighbours. When the children were older, they marked the holiday at summer camp.

In adulthood, my children would spend the Canada-Day long weekend with friends at cottages they rented together.

But 2020 will be different. With COVID restrictions, there will be no cottage invites or rentals with friends. My children will be coming to our house for dinner. The day will be a throwback to earlier times when the whole family celebrated the day together.

We’re a bigger group now. Two of my sons have partners. There are two grandchildren and even a grand-dog. I’m planning a light, but festive summer dinner.

I’ll be making salmon, a dish I could never serve my children when they were young. Nobody ate fish then, but it’s a real crowd pleaser now.

My salmon recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Simple. The recipes include ratings according to their simplicity and prep time. Bridget Jones’s Pan-Fried Salmon with Pine Nut Salsa is rated “S-I-E”: S – short on time; I – one to 10 ingredients or less; and E – easier than you think.

When I’ve made this dish, I have substituted pecans for pine nuts because the latter is expensive and hard to find.

I’ll also be making cornbread, a special-occasion dish. I found this recipe for Chive Cheese Cornbread on a site called Taste of Home https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chive-cheese-cornbreadChive

Cheese Chive Cornbread
Chive Cheese Cornbread. Photo credit Barbara Silverstein

Sybil Eades of Gainesville, GA contributed this recipe, which offers a nice balance of sweet and savoury flavours.

BRIDGET JONES’S PAN-FRIED SALMON WITH PINE NUT SALSA (Yotam Ottolenghi)

¾ cup (185 ml) currants
4 salmon fillets, 1 lb 2 oz (500g), skin on and pin bones removed 
7 tbsp (105 ml) olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
4 medium celery stalks, cut into ½-inch (1 cm ) dice, leaves removed but kept for garnish
¼ cup (60 ml) *pine nuts or pecans, roughly chopped
¼ cup (60 ml) capers, plus 2 tbsp (30 ml) of their brine
½ cup (125 ml) large green olives, pitted and cut into ½-inch (1 cm) dice (about 8)
1 good pinch or ¼ tsp (2 g) saffron threads, mixed with 1 tbsp (15 ml) hot water
1 cup (250 ml) parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon: finely zested to get 1 tsp (5 ml) then juiced to get 1 tsp (5 ml) 

Cover the currants with boiling water and set aside to soak for 20 minutes while you prep the salmon and make the salsa.

Mix the salmon with 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the oil, a rounded ¼ tsp (2 ml) salt, and a good grind of pepper. Set aside while you make the salsa.

SALSA

Put 5 tbsp (75ml) of the olive oil into a large sauté pan and place on a high heat. Add the celery and *pine nuts or pecans and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (don’t take your eyes off them, as they can easily burn). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water, and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants and add these, along with the parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Put the remaining 15 ml (1 tbsp) of oil into a large frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and fry for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Decrease the heat to medium, then flip the fillets over and continue to fry for 2–4 minutes (depending on how well done you like the salmon). 

Remove the salmon from the pan and set aside. Arrange the salmon on four plates and spoon on the salsa. Scatter the celery leaves on top. Makes 4 servings

CHIVE CHEESE CORNBREAD (Sybil Eades) 

1 cup (250 ml) cornmeal
1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 ml) sugar
4 tsp (20 ml) baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (250 ml) 2% milk
¼ cup (60 ml) butter, melted
1 cup (250 ml) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tbsp (45 ml) minced chives

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) 

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and butter. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Gently fold in the cheese and chives.

Pour the batter into a greased 13 x 9-in (23 x 33-cm) baking pan. 

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 18 minutes. 

Cut into strips; serve warm. Makes 9–12 servings.


Barbara Silverstein
Barbara Silverstein

Barbara Silverstein is a Toronto-area journalist and an award-winning food writer. She was a freelance writer and food blogger for The Canadian Jewish News. Her articles have appeared in Homemakers Magazine, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and Tablet Magazine.


Bold Side Dishes Make a Father’s Day BBQ Festive

By BARBARA SILVERSTEIN

Mother’s Day is often associated with elegant brunches – crepes, French toast, fancy omelettes and all kinds of poached egg specialities. 

But Father’s Day is all about the meat. Usually, people celebrate with a barbecue of some kind because the weather tends to be warm and many Dads like to flaunt their barbecue prowess.

Some men, like my brother-in-law David, are terrific grill masters. My husband, on the other hand, tends to burn almost everything he barbecues.

In keeping with COVID guidelines, my family will be gathering in our backyard for Father’s Day. A barbecue is the simplest and safest plan for dinner. My husband will be manning the grill, but we’ll be limiting the main course to hot dogs and hamburgers.

I’ll be preparing some side dishes and serving them because a buffet-style spread has to be avoided during the pandemic. 

It’s still asparagus season and Teriyaki Asparagus, will be a nice addition to the meal. This recipe comes from Meal Leani Yumm! 800 Fast, Fabulous & Healthy Recipes for the Kosher (or not) Cook, by the late Norene Gilletz.

You can never go wrong with potatoes. I’ll be baking Hasselback Potatoes. The recipe I’ll be using comes from I Heart Kosher: Beautiful Recipes From My Kitchen by Kim Kushner, a Canadian cookbook author based in New York City. I’ll also be making Kushner’s Sexy Red Kale with Beets & Fresh Dill in Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. This colourful, bold-flavoured salad should give the meal some extra pizzazz.

TERIYAKI ASPARAGUS 

1½ lb (750 g) asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch (5 cm) slices
2 tbsp (30 ml) teriyaki sauce
1 tsp (5 ml) minced fresh ginger
2 green onions, chopped
½ to 1 tsp (3-5 ml) toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) honey 
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh orange juice
½ tsp (3 ml) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp (30 ml) toasted sesame seeds

Soak the asparagus in water and drain well. Place the spears in a 1-quart or (1-lL) casserole and drizzle with the teriyaki sauce. Sprinkle with the ginger and green onions.

Microwave on high for 6 or 7 minutes, until the spears are barely tender. Let them stand covered for 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil, honey, orange juice and mustard. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve immediately. 

To toast the sesame seeds: Place the seeds in a small pan and roast them on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.

SEXY RED KALE WITH RED BEETS & FRESH DILL IN MEYER LEMON VINAIGRETTE

Adapted version of Kim Kushner’s Kale with Beets and Fresh Dill Salad. Photo Barbara Silverstein

4 –6 cups (1–1½ L) red kale leaves, washed and stored, roughly chopped
2 Belgian endives, leaves peeled off whole
1 red beet, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml ) frozen shelled edamame, thawed and rinsed
1 cup (250 ml) roughly chopped fresh dill
Juice of 3 Meyer lemons
½ tsp (3 ml) whole mustard seeds
¼ tsp (1 ml) crushed dried rose petals (optional)
1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Combine the kale, endive leaves, beet, edamame, and dill in a large bowl or platter. Toss them all together.

Pour the lemon juice into a glass jar, add the mustard seeds, dried rose petals (if using), honey, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Shake well. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad just before serving. Makes 6 –8 servings.

HASSELBACK POTATOES

6–10 medium to large Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and dried
Light olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line an extra large rimmed baking sheet (or 2 regular baking sheets) with parchment paper.

Working with one potato at a time, cut thin slits into the top of the potato from one side to the other, cutting almost, but not all the way through, almost like a fan. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to rub in the seasonings and ensure that the potatoes are completely coated with the oil, salt, and pepper.

Place the potatoes, uncut side down. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until the potatoes are crispy and golden, about 30 minutes longer. Makes 6 to 10 servings.


Barbara Silverstein
Barbara Silverstein

Barbara Silverstein is a Toronto-area journalist and an award-winning food writer. She was a freelance writer and food blogger for The Canadian Jewish News. Her articles have also appeared in Homemakers Magazine, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and Tablet Magazine.

Food Celebrities Showcase Delis, Israeli Fare at Jewish Food Fest

By BARBARA SILVERSTEIN

The Great Big Jewish Food Fest, a 10-day virtual lineup of free programming celebrating Jewish cuisine, ran May 19-May 28. Jewish chefs and food personalities led a variety of cooking classes and hosted discussions on Jewish food and culinary traditions.

Two of the events featured Canadian food personalities: Toronto-based writer David Sax, author of Save-the-Deli, and television cooking show host Gail Simmons.

Sax’s event kicked off the festival. He interviewed delicatessen owners from New York City, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Portland, Ore. about the impact of COVID on their restaurants.

The owners were all candid. Business is definitely down, but take-out orders and catering, they said, are sustaining them.

Toronto-born Simmons, a trained culinary expert, is best known for her role as a judge on Bravo’s Emmy-winning series, Top Chef. In addition, she was the host of Iron Chef Canada this year. She lives in New York City, where she is also a food columnist and cookbook author.

For the food fest, she hosted a Shabbat dinner event with cookbook author Adeena Sussman, and chefs and restaurateurs Michael Solomonov and Einat Admony. The presenters prepared different courses for a Shabbat dinner.

Within the last year or two, Solomonov, Admony, and Sussman, have all released cookbooks featuring Israeli cuisine.

Simmons introduced Solomonov, a James Beard Award-winning chef, author and restaurateur, as the “Hummus King.” His recipe for 5-Minute Hummus comes from his latest cookbook, Israeli Soul.

The recipe for hummus pitryot, a hummus and mushroom dish, is from his award-winning cookbook Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.

Admony, the owner of several New York City restaurants, prepared Braised Chicken with Olives and Citrus. This recipe can be found in Shuk: From Market to Table, The Heart of Israeli Home Cooking.

The recipes for Sussman’s side dishes, Jeweled Rice and Tahini-Glazed Carrots, are from Sababa: Fresh Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen.

The festival uploaded the recipes of many of the presenters on the event page at https://www.jewishfoodfest.org/recipes so that participants could buy the ingredients in advance, and cook along at the various events.

CJR readers can directly download Solomonov’s, Admony’s and Sussman’s recipes at http://canadianjewishrecord.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/90997-friday_1pm_great_shabbat_cook_along.pdf

Copyright restrictions prevent Sussman’s and Admony’s recipes from being reproduced here. However, the publisher of Shuk sent me another one of Admony’s chicken recipes, Dorot Wot: Ethiopian Chicken, which we are authorized to publish.

Shuk Doro Wot
Shuk Doro Wot (Photo: Quentin Bacon)

Solomonov has garnered six James Beard Awards, the most prestigious culinary honour in the United States.

Last year, his Israeli-style restaurant Zahav, in Philadelphia, was named best American restaurant.

Solomonov was in Toronto about a year ago to do a culinary event for the Jerusalem Foundation of Canada. At the time he generously gave me permission to reprint any of his recipes.

With COVID, however, Zahav and the other 15 restaurants he co-owns with Cook have all been operating at a limited capacity.

5-MINUTE HUMMUS WITH QUICK TEHINA SAUCE (Israeli Soul)

Tehina Sauce

1 garlic clove 
1-16-ounce (500 g) jar tahini
Juice of 1 lemon 
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1 tbsp (15 ml) kosher salt
1–1½ cups (250 – 375 ml) ice water

Hummus 

2 19-ounce (540 ml) cans chickpeas

Basic Tehina Sauce: Nick off a piece of the garlic (about a quarter of the clove) and drop it into the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl. Pour the tehina on top, making sure to scrape it all out of the container, and add the cumin and salt.

Process until the mixture looks peanut buttery, about one minute, then stream in the ice water a little at a time with the motor running. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy and lightens to the colour of dry sand. 

Hummus: Add the chickpeas to the tehina sauce and process for about 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go, until the chickpeas are completely processed and the hummus is smooth and uniform in colour.

HUMMUS PITRYOT (Zahav) 

1½ cups (375 ml) Hen-of-the-Woods mushrooms
2 slivered garlic cloves
2 tbsp (30 ml) canola oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh dill 
Olive oil for serving
Chopped parsley for garnish

Break up the mushrooms into 1– 2-inch pieces. Place the oil on the bottom of a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms along with the garlic. 

Cook, stirring until the mushrooms are brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the dill and toss. 

Serve over Hummus-Tehina and top with chopped fresh parsley, paprika and olive oil.

DOROT WOT: ETHIOPIAN CHICKEN (Shuk)

2 tbsp (30 ml) kosher salt, divided
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, separated into thighs and drumsticks 
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil 
2 large onions, finely diced or chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp (5ml) ground cumin
1 tsp (5ml) ground ginger
1 tsp (5ml) ground cardamom
1 tsp (5ml) ground turmeric
1 tsp (5ml) paprika
1 tsp (5ml) ground fenugreek seed or leaf
1 tsp (5ml) freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
2¼ cups (560 ml) homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock or water
Additional salt to taste for seasoning
Pepper to taste for seasoning

Rub the chicken with the lemon juice and 1 tbsp salt and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy-based wide skillet or Dutch oven (large enough to hold the chicken in one snug layer). Add the onions and the remaining tbsp of salt, and sauté gently until fragrant, golden brown, and sweet, about 20 minutes. Do not let the onions brown. 

Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, paprika, fenugreek, and pepper and stir for a minute so the spices bloom in the oil. Nestle the chicken pieces and the eggs into the pan and pour in the broth. 

Cover the pan and adjust the heat to a solid simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes. Then remove the lid so the sauce will reduce and thicken a bit and continue to simmer another 45 – 60 minutes, until the chicken is very tender when poked with a knife and the juices run clear, or until the thickest part of the thigh or drumstick reaches 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer. 

Taste and adjust with more salt or pepper. Serve with flat bread or rice to mop up the sauce. Makes 6–8 servings.

Remembering Canada’s Kosher Julia Child

By BARBARA SILVERSTEIN

May 29, the first day of Shavuot, would have been the 80th birthday of Norene Gilletz, Canada’s first lady of kosher cuisine. She died in Montreal this past winter after a long illness.

Some people have referred to Gilletz as Canada’s kosher Julia Child or the Jewish Martha Stewart. Gilletz had a huge influence on Canadian kosher fare.

Norene Gillitz (Photographer: Doug Gillitz)

She was the editor of the storied kosher cookbook, Second Helpings, Please! The Canadian best-seller it was originally published in 1968 sold more than 150,000 copies. The book launched Gilletz’s culinary career. She went on to write11 more cookbooks. 

Her last book, The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory, which she co-wrote with Dr. Edward Wein, was published just months before her death.

Gilletz was a much beloved community figure. One of her proudest achievements was the founding of Norene’s Kitchen, an international Facebook community of 10,000 plus like-minded people who are l connected through a shared love of food and their Jewish heritage.

Gilletz left a huge culinary legacy. Healthy eating was an important theme in many of her cookbooks, but she never sacrificed taste. Here are three of her vegetarian recipes – they’re all from The Brain Boosting Diet – to enjoy on Shavuot. 

Venezuelan Guacamole would appeal to guacamole aficionados. The Venezuelan version calls for hearts of palm to be incorporated into the avocado dish. This appetizer is lighter tasting, but just as flavourful as traditional guacamole. 

Gilletz’s recipe for Smashed Potato Latkehs is easy and great comfort food. Pair the potatoes with a healthy dollop or two of sour cream.

Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing is tasty with lots of crunch and a rich Asian dressing.

VENEZUELAN GUACAMOLE (GUASACACA) by Norene Gilletz

1 can (14 oz/ 398 g) hearts of palm, well drained
2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh parsley
1 small onion
1 large clove garlic, about 5 ml (1 tsp), minced
½ green or red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 medium tomato, quartered
1 firm, ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tbsp (15 m1) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15 m1)  lemon juice (preferably fresh)
½ tsp  (2 ml) salt 
¼ tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper or chilli powder
Freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the hearts of palm, cilantro, and parsley with quick on/off pulses, until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. You should have about (1 cup) 250 ml.

Process the onion, garlic, and bell pepper with quick on/off pulses, until coarsely chopped. Add the tomato, avocado, oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Process with quick on/offs pulses, until it’s finely chopped.

Add this mixture to the hearts of the palm mixture and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the surface. Refrigerate up to 4 days. Serve chilled. 

SMASHED POTATO LATKES

12 baby red-skinned potatoes
Lightly salted water
1-2 tbsp  (15-30 ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Additional seasonings to taste: basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika

Place the potatoes in enough lightly salted water to cover them.

Boil for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are fork-tender.

Drain the potatoes well.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C.)

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or sprayed foil.

Place the potatoes in a single layer, about 3 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover them with a piece of parchment paper.

Smash each potato once or twice with the flat part of your palm, making a flat disc. Round off any ragged edges by pushing them together with your fingers.

Brush the potato tops lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings.

Bake the potatoes, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are golden and crispy. If desired, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking and brush the tops with oil. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

KALE SLAW WITH PEANUT DRESSING

Slaw

1 medium bunch kale (about 1 lb/500 g)
1 tbsp (15 ml) canola oil
4 cups (1 L) shredded red cabbage (or one 16-oz/500-g pkg)
2 cups (500 ml) shredded carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ cup (125 ml) diced red onion
½ cup (125 ml) chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
½ cup (125 ml) toasted slivered almonds (for garnish) 

Peanut Dressing/Marinade 

2 cloves garlic
¼ cup (60 ml) peanut butter (preferably natural with no added sugar)
2 tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar
2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce or tamari (preferably low-sodium)
2 tbsp (30 ml) honey
1 tsp (5 ml) toasted sesame oil
3–4 tbsp (45–60 mL) orange juice (preferably fresh)
Pinch red pepper flakes

Mince garlic in a mini-prep or food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, orange juice, and red pepper flakes. Process until blended, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. If too thick, drizzle in a little more orange juice.

Store in a jar in the refrigerator until ready to use. Shake well before using.


Barbara Silverstein
Barbara Silverstein

Barbara Silverstein is a Toronto-area journalist and an award-winning food writer. She was a freelance writer and food blogger for The Canadian Jewish News. Her articles have also appeared in Homemakers Magazine, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and Tablet Magazine.

Cheesecake Sweetens Torah Study on Shavuot

By: BARBARA SILVERSTEIN

Shavuot begins on the evening of May 28. Because Jews abstain from meat on this day, a variety of dairy dishes like blintzes and cheese kugel have become the traditional holiday fare. A healthy serving of cheesecake usually caps off the festive meal.

It is common for people to stay up all night to study Torah on Shavuot. Cheesecake often provides them with sustenance for this endeavour.

With the social distancing necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the configuration of Torah study groups may be different for Shavuot 2020, but the consumption of cheesecake need not change.

However, over the course of this pandemic, there has been a lot of chatter about people growing wider around the middle and developing what has come to be known as the COVID-19 Bulge. Perhaps for some people a low-calorie cheesecake may be a good option for Shavuot this year.

In her last cookbook, The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory, the late Norene Gilletz offered a calorie-reduced cheesecake recipe, “Basic Mini-Cheesecakes,” with variations that could “expand your repertoire,” she wrote, “without expanding your hips!”

Another more calorie-laden option is Anna Olson’s recipe for key lime cheesecake.  Olson is a Canadian celebrity pastry chef, and Food Network personality. This cheesecake recipe is delicious but there are quite a few steps. I used a food processor to make the cheesecake base.

Find the recipe here:

https://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/key-lime-cheesecake/12532/

One of my favourite Gilletz desserts is the chocolate cheesecake recipe from her classic cookbook, The Food Processor Bible. The cake looks and tastes great, with or without the whipped cream and chocolate curl garnish.

Basic Mini-Cheesecakes (Norene Gilletz)

1/3 cup (80 ml) finely chopped almonds or pecans

2 cups (500 ml) light cream cheese (1 b/500 g)

Sweetener equivalent to 2/3 cup (160 ml) sugar

2 large eggs

1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice (preferably fresh)

12 large whole strawberries, hulled

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line each compartment of a muffin pan with a paper liner and sprinkle some chopped nuts in the bottom of each.

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the cheese with sweetener until blended, about 15 seconds. Add the eggs and lemon juice. Process for 20 to 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan compartments.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until set. Once cooled, top each cheesecake with a whole strawberry. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight. Serve chilled.

Variation 1

Replace half the cream cheese with pressed cottage cheese. Increase the processing time to 1 minute until the mixture is very smooth.

Variation 2: Praline Mini-Cheesecakes:

Replace the sweetener with brown sugar sweetener. Instead of strawberries, top each cheesecake with a pecan half.

KEY LIME CHEESECAKE (Anna Olson)

Coconut Crust

1½ cup (375 ml) sweetened flaked coconut
¼ cup (60 ml) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) all-purpose flour
1 large egg white, at room temperature

Cheesecake Base

3 250 g packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 300 ml tin sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp (15 ml) freshly grated lime zest
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
** ½ cup (125 ml) fresh lime juice

Lime Curd

2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
**1 tbsp (15 ml) finely grated lime zest
**½ cup (125 ml) fresh lime juice
½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup (60 ml) sour cream

Topping

1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream
1 tbsp (15 ml) instant skim milk powder
2 tbsp (30 ml) sugar
½ tsp (3 ml) vanilla extract
½ cup (125 ml) fresh blueberries, for garnish

**NB Lemon can be substituted for lime

Preheat the oven to 350° (180°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan and place it onto a baking tray.

Crust: Stir the coconut, sugar and flour together. Whisk the egg white until frothy and then stir it into the coconut. Press this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan (if you are finding it sticky, wet your fingers with water before pressing). Bake the crust for about 18 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges and then cool before filling.

Cheesecake: Lower the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C). Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the condensed milk, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl well. Beat in the zest and vanilla, then on a lower speed; beat in each egg and the yolk one at a time. Still on low speed, beat in the lime juice. Pour this over the cooled crust and bake for about 40 minutes, until the outside of the cheesecake is set, but the centre still has a little jiggle to it. Prepare the lime curd as the cheesecake cools.

Lime Curd: Whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lime zest and juice in a metal bowl. Whisk in the butter and sour cream and place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, whisking often, until the lime curd has thickened, about 10 to15 minutes. Strain the curd and spread this gently over the cheesecake. Once fully cooled to room temperature, chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours (do not cover with plastic wrap).

Topping: Whip the cream and skim milk powder to a soft peak. Stir in the sugar and vanilla and spread this over the cheesecake, leaving two inches of the lime curd visible around the outside. Top the cream with blueberries and chill until ready to serve.

The cheesecake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

 Anna Olson’s key lime cheesecake (photo: Barbara Silverstein)

CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE (Norene Gilletz)

Crust

1 3/4 cups (430 ml) chocolate wafer crumbs
½ cup (125 ml) butter or margarine, melted
2 tbsp (30 ml) granulated or brown sugar
½ tsp (3 ml) ground cinnamon

Cheesecake base

2 cups (500 ml) chocolate chips
2 cups (500 ml) or 500 g (1 lb) light or cream cheese cut in chunks
3/4 cup (185 ml) granulated sugar
4 eggs
½ cup (125 ml) sour cream, light or regular

Whipped cream Topping (optional)

½ cup (125 ml) chilled whipping cream
1 tbsp (15 ml) icing sugar
Chocolate curls for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) spring-form pan with non-stick spray

Prepare the crust: Break the wafers into chunks. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, drop the wafers through the feed tube until fine crumbs form. Add the butter, 2 tbsp (30 ml) sugar and cinnamon into the bowl of your food processor. Process a few seconds longer to blend. Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan. Reserve 1/3 of the mixture for the topping.

Clean & dry the processor bowl & blade. You will need it for the filling.

Melt the chocolate chips (2 to 3 minutes on medium (50%) in the microwave, stirring once or twice.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar (185 ml) for 30 seconds. Add the eggs and process until well blended. Stop the machine once in awhile and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the melted chocolate and sour cream and process 20 seconds longer.

Pour the chocolate cheese mixture over the crust and sprinkle with the reserved wafer crumbs.

To bake, place a pie plate half filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven. Place the cheesecake on the middle rack. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes. When done, the edges of the cake will be set, but the centre will be somewhat soft. Turn off the oven, but let the cake cool inside for half an hour with oven door partly open.

When completely cooled, place the cake on a plate and remove the sides of the pan.

Optional: Whip the heavy cream until thick. Add the icing sugar and whip until the cream stiffens.

Pipe rosettes of whipped cream around the edges and garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate the cake until serving time. Makes 12 to 16 servings.