Buttercream and I have been way too friendly with one another as of late so I have decided to purge the carbs from my system and stick with a strictly low carb diet over the next few months.
Unfortunately carbs and I really don’t see eye to eye as I suffer from hypoglycemia and carbs have a tendency to send my blood sugar into an acrobatic frenzy. Over the years I have found that a low carb diet stabilizes it and makes me feel my most euphoric. So with that, I will bid my beloved cakes and cookies adieu for the time being and slowly add them back into my diet as the occasional treat.
But not to worry, baking has become such a calming and creative outlet for me. And while I may be very selective with what I am personally eating, my plan is to continue to forge forward with developing my baking skills; therefore, I will continue to bring you a variety of sweet sensations all while I am noshing away on my meat doughnuts.
Of course, none of these sweet delights will go to waste. I will be relying heavily on the Mr’s work mates as my taste testers (you never have to twist arms for willing volunteers) as well as any other brave volunteers.
So with that, I am bringing to you the most divine cheesecake that has ever walked the face of this planet. This rich, creamy cheesecake has a nut crust and is crowned with a nutty caramel popcorn. And if that weren’t heavenly enough, I capped it all off with a silky caramel drizzle.
This cheesecake pays homage to the many cheesecakes I consumed while living in Kenya.
Much of my time in Kenya I was following a low carb diet which was pretty easy to do because nyama choma (grilled meat) is a favorite amongst Nairobians and is widely available. But eating meat day in and day out can be tiring, so cheesecake was a frequent indulgence as it is one of those desserts that is very easily transformed into a low carb delight. Simply replace the graham cracker crust with a nut crust and substitute low calorie sweetener for the sugar and you are good to go. The tricky part was getting your hands on ricotta and cream cheese as these were not frequently stocked in the shops.
It’s easy to take such luxuries for granted when you live in a developed country but when you are living in a developing country, everyday necessities such as sugar, gas, electric, and water may not be available.
So, when you can’t find a bag of sugar for months on end or you turn the tap on and you get nada, finding a store stocked with luxury items such as imported cream cheese illicits feelings equivalent to how Columbus must have felt when he discovered America. And I have to be honest, when that shipment comes in, you frantically buy each and every last block you can get your grubby, little hands on and hoard it like there is no tomorrow.
Fortunately, there was a dairy farm not far from Nairobi that was expanding the range of cheese products that they offered with ricotta cheese being one such cheese. So it was increasingly becoming easier to find.
This brings me to one of my most memorable Nairobi cheesecake making moments. Zucchini’s, the small produce shop near my home in Gigiri, received a shipment of a well known brand of cream cheese. I had been out of cream cheese for some time so I was pretty excited that cheesecake would soon be in my future. I bought every last brick they had (as usual), as well as several tubs of ricotta cheese, and rushed home.
As I was scooping the snow white ricotta cheese out of the container into my mixing bowl I suddenly noticed a large bright yellow spot buried within the cheese.
“That doesn’t look like cheese?” I thought.
Upon closer examination, I realized that spot had legs and a hard shell. It was a beetle!! This was a freshly opened tub of ricotta so the beetle had obviously made its way into the cheese during the making process at the dairy farm.
Now most of you probably would have looked at that ricotta cheese with disgust and tossed it into the trash. But this is Kenya and ricotta cheese is gold. So, I shrugged, picked that beetle out of the cheese and continued to make my cherished cheesecake.
I know. . .I know. . .you are probably grossed out by this… and I wouldn’t expect anything different. It’s funny when I think back about that incident because if I would have found a ginormous insect in my cheese in the U.S. I would have been appalled. But in Africa, it was just another day in the life and frankly barely phased me.
So there you have it a nice carb-ilicious cheesecake. I hope you enjoy this cheesecake as much as the Mr’s co-workers did. Rest assured those big yellow-orange dots are not beetles but rather popcorn and nuts hugged with caramel goodness.
Here’s to not finding beetles in your cheese.
FOR THE NUTTY CARAMEL POPCORN TOPPING: Ingredients: Directions: FOR THE NUT CRUST: Ingredients: Directions: FOR THE CHEESECAKE: Ingredients: Directions: FOR THE CARAMEL DRIZZLE: Ingredients: Directions: Caramel Popcorn recipe is from Williams Sonoma.
Cheesecake with Nut Crust and Nutty Caramel Popcorn
FOR THE NUTTY CARAMEL POPCORN TOPPING:
FOR THE NUT CRUST:
FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
FOR THE CARAMEL DRIZZLE:
Caramel Popcorn recipe is from Williams Sonoma.