Sunday, December 01, 2013

One More Candle

A few days ago, I blew out the candles of my birthday cake. This year, with one more candle, I went from the "early to mid twenties" bracket to the "mid to late twenties" bracket. 26!

I often hear the story of my 4th birthday. I was all grown up and for the first time, a big bunch of tiny people were going to come and celebrate with me. My friends were coming and we were going to party like they did in 1991! The party probably unfolded the way any 4 year old's birthday party would. Hyper kids running around, some would scream, some would laugh, some wouldn't eat and one kid would cry because s/he would want to open the gift s/he brought instead of letting the birthday girl (or boy) open it.

But the hours leading up to my party had been a lot more dramatic than the party. I had had the scare of my life at the tender age of 3 and 360-something days. (because of course, at that age, you're not just 3; you're 3 1/4, 3 1/2, 3 3/4, and so on.)

Apparently, I was not being a very nice girl the morning of the party. After several warnings, my mother (who was probably up to her ears in mini pizza and alphabet Jell-O preparations) told me that she called all my friends and that my party is cancelled because I was misbehaving. The second I heard that, I started to cry hysterically. You can just imagine the heartbreak I endured trying to come to terms with the fact that my first big girl party was cancelled!

Still crying and trying to be a very good girl, my parents told me that they called my friends again and that the big party was back on! Everything was back to normal. Relieved, I wiped away my tears, sat down and impatiently waited for my friends to come with a nice big smile on my face. 

All of a sudden, I started to cry again. Big tears started to run down my chubby, little cheeks. My eyes must have been as red as the big bow I had in my hair. Perplexed, my father asked me why I was crying. I was crying because I was scared. What was I scared of? The thought of not having a birthday scared me. Why? Young and naïve, I was scared that I wouldn't be able to blow out my candles to be 4 years old and that I would be 3 years old for the rest of my life. (because the only way to get older is by blowing out birthday cake candles.)

Wouldn't it be a nicer world if some of that innocence stayed in us as we got older? 

Today, 22 years later and slightly less clueless, I choose to concentrate more on the birthday cake instead of the number of candles on it. 

Here's the recipe of a "grown up" birthday cake: Goat Cheese Cheesecake. I made it for
Mr. A's birthday a few years ago. It was delicious (and not too goat-y for the one's who are not a big fan of goat cheese).
Goat Cheese Cheesecake
                                     recipe from Anne Burrell
- 2 cups gingersnap crumbs
- 6 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra butter for pan
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 (12-ounce) log goat cheese
- 12 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the crust:
Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan.

To make the filling:
Beat the cream and goat cheeses in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the creme fraiche (or sour cream) and beat to combine. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each egg is added, until thoroughly combined. Beat in the sugar and vanilla until just combined.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Put on a baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the cooking process. If the cheesecake starts to color, tent the springform pan with aluminum foil.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely before serving, as it continues to set as it cools. It is best to refrigerate overnight before serving. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with Vanilla Pineapple Compote.

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