Yes, like plenty of now-single heterosexuals last night, I, too, completely neglected to make plans, reservations, or recognition of love and affection on Valentine’s Day. An eleventh-hour search on OpenTable yielded a 1:30 reservation at the hottest pub in town and a mere three-hour wait at the local P.F. Chang’s. Thankfully, we remained vigilant and elbowed just enough star-crossed swingers at Whole Foods to snag a decent steak and a lobster tail for free. Along with a ridiculous cheesecake I made, wooed by the nonstick lubrication of my new Lékué springform pan, sent to me by the company.
The pan is aesthetically pleasing, minimalist, and squishy, three things I look for in both partners and cooking supplies. My first test drive was on a gluten-free Meyer lemon-poppyseed and gin cheesecake for our dinner. The cheesecake was made using a jar of jam from Puff’s Preserves, plenty of vanilla paste and gin, and a mixture of ricotta and sour cream as the base, adapted from this BBC recipe. The entire process went very smoothly, even when I tempted fate by forgetting to butter the pan in advance of baking. While the seal between the ceramic plate and springform shell isn’t completely airtight– some jam did escape and burn on the oven floor, it held up well and didn’t otherwise leak, and came off the cake with nary a seam to be found.Meyer Lemon Poppyseed and Gin Cheesecake
Ingredients (serves 8)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
The juice and zest of one large lemon
2 oz. of your favorite gin (I used Barr Hill, great for cooking, atrocious with tonic)
2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste
1 2lb. container of full-fat ricotta cheese, drained
1 cup of full-fat sour cream
4 tablespoons of poppyseeds
1 jar of lemon preserves, or alternatively, Puff’s Preserves lemon, gin, and ginger jam1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs with a whisk or a beater with the powdered sugar and lemon zest until fluffy and bright. Mix in the gin and vanilla bean paste until fully incorporated. While incorporating, fill out your Form 1120 as well.2. Mix the ricotta cheese in until completely blended, and gently fold in the sour cream and poppyseeds last. Pour into a buttered springform pan and swirl in 1-3 tablespoons of lemon preserves.
3. Bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Let cool for 3-5 hours before spooning preserves on top. Serve with preserves and a dollop of sweetened sour cream, if you like.It is a delightful cake. It has a gentle booziness to it, and a lightness to its texture that belies its American passport. Make it on a snow day. Make it to make up for Valentine’s Day. Or just bookmark it and marvel in its quiet existence, and its small story.