I love to bake. I find the process relaxing, it smells good, and the outcome makes people happy. I fancy myself quite a good cookie maker, though pies, cakes and other desserts also make their way out of my oven and into an office or party or some other function. Sometimes though, it smells too good to give away and I keep it for myself and my husband.
Over many years I’ve tried hundreds of recipes for cookies, cakes, biscotti and brownies. I’d look through magazines, cut out recipes, and glue them into a spiral notebook or onto recipe cards. For a while I collected cookbooks, particularly cookie-books or dessert books. There was, however, one thing I’d never tried to make: cheesecake. The thought of having to sit a pan with uncooked batter into a water bath and wait hours for something to bake was not my idea of a good time. I was more of an immediate gratification kind of gal, not even waiting for cookies to cool before I had to do a taste test.
When I was working in Vermont I brought something to the office about once a week, sometimes more. Coworkers started to put in “orders” for things when I’d made something that needed a repeat performance. One of the women I worked with, Liz, asked me one day why I never make cheesecake. I told her that I didn’t have the right pans for cheesecake, and frankly, I don’t like cheesecake. I didn’t tell her that the thought of such a complicated process kind of scared me.
A few days after the question of pans came up, it was answered by a box wrapped in a bow left on my kitchen table containing 3 cheesecake pans of various sizes. No excuse now, there was, by all accounts, an inherent expectation with that gift. I knew it was from Liz.
Since I got those pans in the early 90’s I’ve made more cheesecakes than I can count. I now have more than a dozen springform pans of various shapes and sizes in my cupboards. I’ve used the same Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipe book, having found one recipe that is my go-to, that I can vary depending on my mood or the occasion for which the cheesecake is being delivered. Thanks to Liz, I even sold my cheesecakes for while!
So, Liz, thanks for the kick in the pans I needed to try a new recipe and the success I’ve experienced as a result!