The Element of surprise, Robert Ripley, the creator of the Ripley’s “Believe It or Not!” francise made an entire career out of it. The stunning and shocking discoveries made by his francise as a television show, in books and museums baring his name worldwide have fooled and baffled for almost 100 years. Life is full of strange and unusually things and occurrences which happen every day.
When Leslie and I recently decided to treat several of our friends to a dinner party gathering (a rather rare occasion in our world as it is, busy schedules and all) you can imagine the looks of puzzlement as we announced our dessert selection for the evening. The mere thought of it intrigued me when I came across a similar recipe, having decided to try it out on the unsuspecting and usually very adventurous group of creatives we call our Compadres.
I have to admit, the thought of avocado cheesecake seemed a bit off even to a bon a fide fruitcake like me! I have been known to delve into the unknown myself quite frequently but this even seemed to defy my better judgment. Nevertheless, I love nothing more than seeing the blank expressions on the faces of folks when I attempt to step outside the boxes of conformity. There lives a rebel streak in me a mile long…
On this occasion, the avocado cheesecake pulled through in spades and proved to be quite a pleasant surprise. We coupled it with a Raspberry Coulis, an additional unusual Elderflower Anglaise cream sauce and handmade fresh mint ice cream. It was either fate or a small miracle all these chances paid off, but I had a group of friends who where all fighting to take the last few bites of our decadent dessert home.
If you’d like to taste all this madness for yourself, here are the recipes that bore them.
¼ cup sugar
14 oz. cream cheese
2 ripe, Fresh California Avocados, peeled and seeded
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon zest
Graham Cracker Crust (see make-ahead recipe below)
Graham Cracker Crust
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup Ritz Crackers
⅓ cup butter
1 Tbsp. butter, to grease pan
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. With a paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese over medium-high speed until smooth, approximately 3 minutes.
Add the avocado, sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Add eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Mix in the lemon zest and pour filling onto Graham Cracker Crust and smooth top with an offset spatula.
Place on top of a baking sheet and bake at 300ºF for 45 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
Graham Cracker Crust
- In a small bowl, crush Graham and Ritz crackers into crumbs. Combine crumbs and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter over medium heat and mix into crumb mixture with a spoon until well combined.
- With the remaining butter, grease the sides and bottom of a nine-inch spring form pan.
- Cut out a parchment paper circle to fill in the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the crumbs into the pan and press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan with your fingers.
- Bake at 300ºF for 5 minutes to set the crust and cool to room temperature.
Elderflower Cream Anglaise Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
- In a small, heavy saucepan, heat cream, St. Germaine’s and vanilla until bubbles form at edges.
- While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Slowly pour 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon
*St. Germain Elderflower liqueur is made with fresh wild elderflowers picked in the Alps. It’s used here as a mild flavoring.
1 pint fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Combine all ingredients. Blend or process in a food processor. Strain and chill for several hours before serving.
And last but not least. Here is a link to the Fresh Mint Ice Cream I had made a week before the dinner party.