Saturday, May 23, 2009

Too Much Neufchatel!

I taught two cheesemaking classes within the last month, and though one can easily make ricotta and mozzarella within the span of a three-hour session, Neufchatel takes a couple/few days. So like they do on t.v., I had to prepare batches ahead of time to have swap-outs in class. As you can imagine, that ultimately left me with quite a lot of Neufchatel on my hands...rather, in my fridge. One can only eat so many schmeared bagels, so I needed some other ideas. My first thought was to make a cheesecake out of the lovely, silky, swoopy stuff. Unfortunately, my initial attempt was not particularly successful. I think I needed to pull back the moisture content--particularly the eggs--as the homemade Neufchatel is not as dry or dense as regular cream cheese. I ended up with something tasty, but with an undesirably loose, almost curdled texture. I'll have to keep working on that idea, I guess.

However, I had great success with converting a lemon cream cheese pound cake recipe that someone had posted on Yahoo Answers. The Neufchatel gave the cake a lovely tangy quality, and the texture was sturdy but amazingly tender at the same time. Instead of lemon flavoring, I substituted lemon oil which gave it a deliciously (and naturally) tart flavor. This recipe is terrific, and could only be improved by being served with freshly-whipped cream and some ripe summer berries when they appear at the markets later in the season. Bookmark this one, people! It is a surefire BBQ/potluck/picnic hit!

Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 8 oz. package cream cheese or Neufchatel, softened
3 sticks butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
3 cups cake flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly floured bundt cake pan.

Cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs,one and a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon oil. Mix in flour, just enough to combine. Spoon into prepared pan.

Let bake for 45 to 55 minutes, depending on your oven. (Mine took between 70-75 minutes, and I had to cover the top of the cake with tin foil toward the end to prevent over-browning).

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