| Aquavit and the New Scandinavian
by Marcus Samuelsson
Named "Best Chef: New York City" in 2003 by the James
Beard Foundation, Star Chef Marcus Samuelsson incorporates his
Scandinavian culture and his grandmother’s cooking techniques
to create flights of fancy with astute culinary vision. In his
first book Aquavit, Samuelsson uses his childhood experiences
to take you on a Scandinavian tour of persons, places, ingredients,
and cooking methods. He combines age-old curing and preservation
methods with his love of fresh ingredients to create palates
that are pleasing to all the senses. Samuelsson’s book
leaves no aspect of the kitchen unturned - recipes cover everything
from raw and cured foods to soups and salads, breads and chutneys,
as well as desserts and drinks. His recipes are well detailed
with comprehensive ingredients, cooking methods, procurements,
and suggested alternatives. Stunning photographs by Shimon and
Tammar Rothstein depict both raw ingredients and finished dishes
throughout the book.
Black Pepper Cheesecake
From Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine
by Marcus Samuelsson, Houghton Mifflin, 2003
Adapted by StarChefs
Yield: 6-8 Servings
- 1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
- ¾ pound Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- ¾ cup crème fraiche, sour cream, or whole
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 250°F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan
with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment
paper and spray parchment paper. (If using a springform pan,
wrap pan in a double layer of foil to keep it watertight.)
Blanch peppercorns in a small pot of boiling
water for one minute; drain. Repeat two more times. Drain
and pat dry with paper towels.
Spread peppercorns out in a small baking
pan and dry them in the oven until thoroughly dry, about 15
to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Raise oven temperature
Grind peppercorns medium-fine in a spice
grinder, clean coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar
with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes,
until very smooth and light. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean
and add them to the cream cheese mixture. Beat in the crème
fraiche or sour cream or yogurt, as well as the lemon juice,
and scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating
well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl.
Beat in cream and peppercorns.
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Set pan
inside a large shallow baking pan and pour about 1 inch of
hot water into the pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until the sides
of the cake are set but the center is still a little loose.
Transfer cake pan to rack to cool completely. When the cheesecake
is cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To unmold the cheesecake, run a thin knife
or spatula around the sides of pan. Set the pan on a hot burner
for about 20 seconds, shaking the pan gently from side to
side to release the cake. Invert cake onto a cake plate, peel
off parchment, and serve.
INTERVIEW WITH MARCUS SAMUELSSON
What is the relationship between
the Aquavit cookbook and your latest venture, Riingo?
MS: I don't know if there's
a pure relationship. The book is an expression of the Aquavit
restaurant, which is an institution now. With Riingo, we have
similar goals, but it's different. We still have a lot of
things to prove to customers. We have a long way to go before
that relationship is established - we're not there yet. But
the direction, passion, and commitment to food is one to one.
Anything else you'd like to
share about the book?
MS: It has been one of
the greatest experiences of my career as a chef. Truly a milestone