First of all, let me apologise profusely for my absence. The Browed One and I have recently moved house, and with that came the month of no wi-fi. It was awful. So many cat videos went unwatched, so many Buzzfeed lists were unread. Tragic for all involved. More importantly, it also meant no blogging, because it is really hard to post from my tiny phone.
But here we are, together again. I missed you.
I convinced myself that I hated condensed milk as a child. I don’t know what I based that opinion on, given that everything about it is right up my alley. I can only imagine that I made up my mind without having tried it (as children do) and then stubbornly refused to change it (as children do).
And so The Cult of Condensed Milk eluded me. I had one friend in particular, knowing that we always kept a tube in the pantry, would make a beeline every time she came over, and would proceed to inhale the lot. Wade is some kind of CM bloodhound. We can’t keep it in the house, because he’ll find it, and consume it in a manner not unlike this. I’ve since discovered the error of my ways, and am now a card-carrying member of The Cult of Condensed Milk. Join us.
Last week saw us celebrating Wade’s birthday (happy birthday Wade!), and the best way of celebrating anything is with everything that you love – birthday law and all that. Wade’s big loves in life all come together is the form of cà phê đá – Vietnamese Ice Coffee – and when he happened across a recipe for it in cheesecake form in my current favourite cookbook, his knees went a little weak. I’ve made a lot of cheesecakes in my time, and this is the most utterly perfect texture. Feeling pretty damn smug about the whole thing, to be honest.
The trick here is to use strong espresso. I visited Humblebee Coffee Roasters and got them to brew me up some magic (I’m terrified of our coffee machine at home – if I break it, Wade will kill me), and it was perfect. Should you wish, instant coffee is totally fine and if you’re not one for kahlua, just substitute extra coffee.
Cà phê đá Cheesecake
85ml melted butter, plus extra for greasing
200g digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 x 300g cream cheese, at room temperature
395g tin of condensed milk
50g brown sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp extra strong espresso
3 tbsp Kahlua (or more espresso)
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
Heat the oven to 160*c. Line a cake tin with baking paper, then grease the sides with butter.
Stir the melted butter into the crushed biscuits and 1 tbsp brown sugar until evenly combined. Evenly press the mixture into the bottom of the cake tin and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Cool in the fridge while you make the filling.
Increase the oven temperature to 200*c. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, then add the coffee, Kahlua if you’re using it, sugar, flour, vanilla and condensed milk. Whisk in the eggs and extra yolk until thoroughly combined and airy.
Pour the filling into the tin, and then place in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 100*c and bake for a further 25 minutes or until it jiggles just a little in the middle. Turn off the heat, crack the oven door just a tiny bit, and then walk away and leave to cool for 2 hours.
Once cooled, cover with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. To release from the tin, run a butter knife under hot water, then around the edge of the tin.
Have you ever driven past some of the magnificent buildings around town and wondered what lay inside? Open House Perth is your opportunity to discover all their secrets, and I definitely recommend you check it out. From heritage to art deco, from corporate offices to people’s homes, nothing is off-limits.
Personally, I’m very keen to visit The Creative Arts House (#51, in case you want to come too) because not only do I love seeing creative brains come together, but Lifeline WA do incredibly vital work within our community. Studio Lifeline is definitely something I could get on board!