Tonight was the seder at Lauren's house, and I'm stuffed. Everything was delish! My cheesecake* played to rave reviews. The coconut macaroon crust was a stroke of genius (not mine, of course, but someone at Kraft). I used butter instead of margarine (retch), but it was too much butter—it was leaking out of the pan onto the oven floor! Maybe the macaroons were too buttery, or maybe I should've packed the 2-cup measure more firmly. Tasted great, though! I bet almond or chocolate macaroons would be yummy too. I also made a generic yellow cake that was just OK. People ate it—my kids loved it—but I won't bother with it again next year.
The kids had a ball with their cousins. Julie was unbearably cute. She sat on Andy's lap for the seder proper, and about 3 minutes into it, she closed his haggadah and announced, "The End!" And when Gary asked whether anyone wanted any soda, water, or wine, she yelled out, "Me! I want wine!" (Mama's girl.) She also got to rummage through the pocketbooks of two grandmothers and one great-grandmother. She specializes in cosmetics pouches. Pete found the afikomen and got to play some sort of video game with the Big Boys, Brian and Kyle. And Steph fairly revelled in all the Teenager Stuff in Jen's room. Happy, happy happy.
*Passover Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
(updated 4/24/05 and again 4/13/06 and again 4/2/07)
1 10-oz. canister soft coconut macaroon cookies, broken up into crumbs
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
4 8-oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp freshly grated orange peel
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tsp. orange juice
1 tsp. sugar
more fresh strawberries, sliced
Preheat oven to 350° (I did 325° convection). Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press firmly onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of lightly greased 9" springform pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition, just until blended. Mix in orange peel. Pour into crust. Bake 50–60 minutes or until center is almost set (I did 45 minutes because of the convection). Unbuckle pan rim; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Whizz quartered strawberries in blender until smooth; strain. Stir in orange juice and 1 tsp sugar. Serve cheesecake with sauce and sliced strawberries.