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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Desserts do not need to be Complex

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

Everyone loves dessert. Whether it is chocolate, fruits, pie, cake or ice cream, most people has a sweet tooth. Many would like to eat their dessert before dinner. Sometimes, I think that is a good idea.

Dessert can come in many forms. The very first dish I cooked by my self at 8 years old were Chocolate Chip Cookies. I did not follow this path becoming a pastry chef. I love to make desserts as long as they don’t require too much precision. A lot of baking require precise measurements and adjusting to the weather around you. With the following recipes, you don’t have to be exact on your measurements just close. It won’t make a drastic difference in the finished product.

This is my mother’s cheesecake recipe. However, it is not your traditional cheesecake. It has the consistency of a pie. To me, it is the best cheesecake I have ever eaten, but I may be bias. This recipe is very adaptable. I have added White Chocolate and Key Lime to change up the flavor. I have also made a King Cake Cheesecake out of it. The best version will always be the original.

My Mom’s Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 375℉

For the Crust

2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs 1 stick Margarine, melted 1/2 cup Sugar

Mix graham cracker crumbs, margarine and sugar. Press into a 9-inch pie pan.

For the Filling

16 ounces Cream Cheese 2 Eggs 2/3 cup Sugar 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Blend all ingredients for filling in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into pie crust Bake for 20 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.

Raise oven temperature to 425℉.

For the Topping

8 ounces Sour Cream 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 2 tablespoons Sugar

Mix topping a small bowl and smooth over cooled cheesecake. Bake again at 425℉ for 10 minutes. Cool before putting in refrigerator. This dish is best served cold.

This fancy dessert is easy to make. When translated Creme Brûlée means Burnt Cream. The burnt aspect is the thin coat of caramelized sugar on the top of the dessert. It is a great contrast to the creaminess of the custard. It is easy to add different flavors to the custard, giving you many different variations.

White Chocolate Creme Brûlée

4 ounces White Chocolate Chips 4 large Egg Yolks, at room temperature 1/3 cup Sugar 2 cups Heavy Cream 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract Additional Sugar for caramelizing

Preheat oven to 300℉.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until smooth. IN a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Add white chocolate to simmering heavy cream. Turn off heat and whisk until white chocolate is completely melted. Add white chocolate mixture to egg yolk mixture whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and whisk in. Pour into 4 ramekins. Place ramekins in a 13×9-inch baking pan. Add enough waters cups sit in 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water. Bake until set, about 45 minutes. These can be served either cold or at room temperature.

Before serving, sprinkle additional sugar on top. Broil for 4-5 minutes to melt the sugar or until desired level of caramelization. If you have one, it is fun to use a small torch to melt the sugar.

While not a classic Louisiana dessert, this recipe has special meaning to me. Everyone in my family likes peanut butter. My brother Lyle, who passed away in 2015, would eat peanut butter directly from the jar with a spoon. As a high school state wrestling champ, he was always to eat foods to keep his weight. He would eat the peanut butter as his dessert. I guess that is where I get it from. I also eat peanut butter from the jar.

Peanut Butter Ice Box Pie

12 ounces Cream Cheese, softened 16 ounces Creamy Peanut Butter 1 1/4 cups Sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons Butter, melted 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract 8 ounces tub Whipped Topping, divided 1 prepared Chocolate Graham Cracker Pie Crust

In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Mound filling into pie crust and then smooth the top. Freeze for 10 minutes and then top with remaining whipped topping. Chill for at least 4 hours or freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

Add a little flavoring to the cheesecake and Creme Brûlée. You will be amazed at the results and your new creation.

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