Rosh Hashanah starts Sunday night. I'll be at my sister in law's, but Monday night is mine. Dinner for 20. The inlaws, the outlaws, cousins, siblings ... planning out the menu in my head right now. I pretty much make everything, including all the desserts. Overwhelming? Sometimes! But I have learned (sort of) to try and keep it together.
Of course, the food has to taste amazing, but I realize so much of it is in the presentation — ANYTHING looks better on a cake plate!!! (Except soup. Or brisket, probably) Okay, ANY DESSERT looks better on a cake plate.
A few years ago, after a holiday meal, I remember being in the kitchen with my housekeeper and BFF Suzette. We were putting everything away, and at that moment, unusually, nobody of the 20 people at my house were helping. Everyone was exhausted after the huge amount of food consumed. I looked in the family room, people sprawled everywhere, scalamandre pillows on the floor (gasp!). I got cranky. Very, very cranky. I went back into the kitchen and made myself a cocktail. Or 2. And came to the conclusion — everybody was just happy to be there. They could not care less that I had made every dessert from scratch. They would have been happy with store bought, bakery, whatever!
Like I said, it's all the presentation. I once unknowingly sold an Entenmanns apple pie for $10 at a school bake sale because it was out of the box and I told the very nice father that bought it that it was homemade! Oops.
So do I still make all the dessert myself? Of course I do!!! Are you kidding?
But just saying, you don't have to!
Here's one of my favorite's:
Grandma Molly's Cheesecake
Preheat oven to 350
4 packs cream cheese (room temp), 1c sugar, 6 eggs, 1&1/2 tsp. vanilla, small sour cream
Crust — 1 box graham crackers, crushed or crumbs, 1/4 lb. butter melted, 1/2c sugar
to make crust, mix the graham cracker crumbs with sugar & melted butter. Press into large nonstick springform pan, bottom & 1/2 sides. Refrigerate 1/2 hour.
Filling — beat together (I use stand mixer) cream cheese, sour cream, sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time. Then add vanilla.
Pour mixture into pan, bake 45 minutes, then turn off oven but keep pan in oven for 1/2 hour.
*Note: to avoid cracks, it's best to use a water bath — wrap pan in several layers of tinfoil, then place in larger pan with very shallow water, prepare it before baking.
Anyway, when done with oven, refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
Enjoy! Wishing a Happy, Healthy & Sweet New Year to all!!!