My Family Table -A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking
My Family Table is not just page after page of recipes and a few pictures here and there, Besh tells a story with each chapter and eat dish. He tells stories about his wife, Jenifer; and his boys, Brendan, Jack, Luke and Andrew; they make you feel like you are part of their family. His passion for his heritage, his community and his family come through on every page and in every picture. I cannot wait to to have the actual book in my hands. The photography, by Maura McEvoy and her daughter Oona, brings you into every moment of the story. The team of people who brought this book together have created a book that not only will be used in my kitchen, but also placed on my coffee table because it is of its beautiful photographs.
Recently, I purchased Chef John Besh's new cookbook Cooking from the Heart. I was excited to start trying recipes. It didn't take long to try one because this year I was asked to bring dessert to Christmas Day dinner. I saw Walter's Cheesecake in my new book and decided to give it a try. Admittedly, I was nervous making my first cheesecake with a dough crust, but it was a success! My family raved about how good it was. "It is better than the cheesecake we ate in New York," said my mom.
Everything I have ever made that is a recipe of John Besh's has the feeling of heart in the dish.
1 tablespoon butter, softened
Basic Sweet Tart Dough (See Below)
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (I had vanilla flavored Greek yogurt on hand and it was great for vanilla cheesecake)
½ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with the butter. Carefully roll the Tart Dough on a well-floured surface into a large flat sheet about ¼ inch thick. Fit the dough into the prepared pan, lining the edges of the pan and trimming the edges. The dough will most likely tear a bit, just be sure to patch it as you go with the trimmed dough.
Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
Using a hand or stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, mixing them in one at a time. Add the yogurt, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and flour and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the dough shell. It will not reach all the way to the top, but that’s fine since it will rise and expand as it bakes. Bake until golden brown, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.
Basic Sweet Tart Dough
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
In a large mixing bowl, cut the cold butter into the flour until the flour has the consistency of semolina. Add the sugar, milk, egg, zest, and salt and mix by hand until a crumbly dough is formed. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour before using, or freeze for later use.
Besh, J. (2013). Cooking from the Heart; My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way. Andrews McMeel Publishing.