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Foodie Fights – Cauliflower and Raspberry

Recipes, vegetarian, What I'm Cooking

cauliflowercheesecake
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A few weeks ago, one of my blogger friends sent me a message encouraging me to go to foodiefights.com. This is a battlefield for competitive bloggers. I don’t like to think of myself as competitive, but who am I kidding? I’m a surgeon. We were born competitive. We dream competitive. I had to do it.

Previous battles have been lemon and potatoes, and rhubarb and coriander. These do not sound so difficult to me. Unfortunately, they asked me, when I signed up for this month’s battle, what food would I throw into the ring. Cauliflower?! I had so much of it in the refrigerator I did not know what to do with it. I belong to an organic food club, and cauliflower and apples have been heavily featured lately. Someone else came up with the raspberries, trust me. What a combination. It set me quite a challenge.

I thought about it a lot. I knew I could easily make a cauliflower slaw with raspberry dressing and be done with it. But, well, did I mention that I’m a surgeon? I can’t just take the easy way out. I needed to come up with something creative, different, unexpected. I hashed over ideas. Could I make cauliflower into a dessert? How about gnocchi, ravioli, a souffle? Ice cream? I’m sure any of these would have worked out. But could I get anyone to eat cauliflower ice cream with raspberry sauce?

On Saturday, inspiration hit. I had been wanting one of those mini cheesecake pans for weeks now. I looked for it at Sur la Table, Target, the King Arthur website. No luck. Even Williams-Sonoma’s website no longer had it. So I went to the Williams-Sonoma in Coral Gables this weekend, to see if they still had one. And they did! And that’s when it came to me – cheesecake! Cauliflower cheesecake. Not sweet. Not heavy. Mini ricotta-cauliflower cheesecakes. But how to include the raspberries? A sauce would be possible, but, well, lame. And how could I be sure it would go well. Be truly delicious. I was not seeking to just meet the criteria, but to create a dish worth eating and enjoying.

So, here it is: a triple-layer ricotta cauliflower mini cheesecake. And believe me, it was delicious. The flavors went well together. It was pretty. It smelled amazing while it was baking.

I made home-made ricotta, because I had been dying to try it since the Daring Cooks challenge made ricotta gnocchi (no, I did not participate this time around, but expect upcoming participation!) You don’t have to. I feel certain grocery store ricotta would be fine. But, really, it was so easy, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, the next time I make gnudi, I will definitely make it.


I won’t bore you with the recipe, since I blatantly used this one: 101 Cookbooks ricotta recipe. Try it.
freshricotta
roastedcauli
purplecauli
pinklayer
purplelayer
whitelayer
caulicheesecakes
I made an almond crust, since I thought graham cracker crust would not go well with cauliflower. This is a nice quick crust. No rolling. Just press it into the pan. For the mini cheesecakes, line each of the cups with a circle of parchment paper. Flatten a ball of dough onto the parchment paper and fit it into the bottom of the cup. You could use a muffin pan if you don’t have a mini cheesecake pan. Make sure you spray it well with non-stick spray.

Almond Crust
Makes 1 9 inch crust

2 ounces almonds
1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp unsalted butter, ice cold, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 egg yolk

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚
  2. Toast the almonds and let them cool
  3. Place the almonds and flour in the food processor and pulse until the almonds are fine
  4. Add the butter and pulse about 15 seconds, just until incorporated
  5. Add the egg yolk and pulse another 15-20 seconds, until the dough balls up
  6. Gather up the dough and press into the pan
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is set and golden brown
  8. Let cool

Triple Layer Cauliflower and Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes
Makes 12

2 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 small head purple cauliflower
1 small head white cauliflower
2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 cups ricotta cheese
6 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 eggs separated
Freshly grated rind of one lemon
1 tbsp chopped shallots
1 tbsp fresh herbs (I used savory and garlic chives)
1 tsp horseradish
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Macerate the raspberries in a bowl and add the champagne vinegar. Refrigerate overnight
  2. Preheat the oven to 375˚
  3. Chop the purple and white cauliflower into florets. Place in a baking dish and toss with the oil.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant. Let cool
  5. In a food processor, mix the ricotta, flour, creme fraiche, egg yolks, fresh herbs, and lemon rind until well blended and creamy
  6. Split this mixture between 3 bowls. Add shallots and horseradish to 2 of the bowls
  7. Put about 1 cup of white cauliflower into the food processor and chop finely. Pour into one of the bowls with shallots in it
  8. Repeat with the purple cauliflower
  9. In the third bowl, add the macerated raspberries with about 1 tbsp of the vinegar. Add additional lemon peel
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste to each of the three bowls
  11. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Distribute between the 3 bowls and fold in to lighten
  12. Layer the purple, then the white, then the raspberry layer into the pan
  13. Bake for 30 minutes at 350˚. They are done when set and golden on the top
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21 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Wow! Hats off to your recipe. I wondered who would submit a dessert and was thrilled to see it be cheesecake. Brilliant! Oh, and I now know who I have to thank for the cauliflower submission… not the easiest ingredient for an American living in Thailand to come by! :) Cheers to a great competition.

  2. Sophie  •  May 19, 2009 @4:04 am

    Well Carolyn, I will have to say: how wonderful that you entered this competition & how fabulous that you came up with this delicious & EXCELLENT recipe!!
    Wow,….They do look incredible yummie!!
    I am so proud of you, my foodie friend! MMMMM….

    Sophie’s last blog post..My husband’s seasonal Belgian plate

  3. chocolateshavings  •  May 19, 2009 @6:54 am

    I’ve never heard of cauliflower used in this way, I’m intrigued – it sounds delicious!

  4. saucy apron  •  May 19, 2009 @6:58 am

    wow. so YOU were responsible for the cauliflower! great idea on the cheesecakes.

  5. Tyler (Raspberry Runner)  •  May 19, 2009 @10:24 am

    Wow, that sounds delicious!! What a creative recipe!!

  6. Hillary  •  May 19, 2009 @11:03 am

    Never would have guessed there was cauliflower in that cheesecake. Where did you find purple cauliflower?

    Hillary’s last blog post..Follow Us On Twitter!

  7. Kara  •  May 19, 2009 @11:17 am

    Oh wow. What a great creative use of the cauliflower. I considered various dessert options but never thought of cheesecake. It looks yummy!

    Kara’s last blog post..cabbage and radish salad with raspberry dressing

  8. mandi  •  May 19, 2009 @2:18 pm

    love the recipe! very creative! i also love homemade ricotta. yum! the horseradish is such an interesting addition. did you think of that yourself? i bet it added a nice kick to the whole thing! i think ima try this first chance i get!

    mandi’s last blog post..Foodie Fights

  9. Reenic  •  May 19, 2009 @8:13 pm

    This is so clever!! I bet it was delicious! Good luck!!

    Reenic’s last blog post..Avocado Chicken Chile de Arbol

  10. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie  •  May 20, 2009 @12:54 am

    This sounds like a fun competition! I love your recipe – how creative and what a unique combination of cauliflower and raspberry! Good luck!

    Natasha – 5 Star Foodie’s last blog post..Miso and Honey-Marinated Sablefish with Sesame Ramps Emulsion

  11. Sneh | Gel's Kitchen  •  May 20, 2009 @7:17 am

    Woah! That is one adventurous, bold pairing and you came out on top! Way to go :-) I have 2 huge heads of cauliflower in my veggie basket .. am i brave enough to try this?? hmmm!

    Sneh | Gel’s Kitchen’s last blog post..Rose Petal And Coconut Fudge

  12. OysterCulture  •  May 20, 2009 @1:44 pm

    What a wonderful, creative dish. That must have been a hell of an “ah ha” moment to come up with that one. Here’s another very creative way to get kids to eat their veggies.

    OysterCulture’s last blog post..Special Ingredients: Oregano

  13. Carolyn  •  May 20, 2009 @2:15 pm

    Sneh – you absolutely have the nerve! It was pretty easy. And you don’t have to use the raspberries, although I recommend it. I made one that was just broccoli and it was also really, really good.

    Louann – That was my thought exactly, although I don’t have kids. I have friends who don’t like cauliflower.

    Mandi – the horseradish was a last minute thought, because I tasted the mix and it seemed slightly bland. I love horseradish, and honestly, it made the whole dish.

    Hillary – I belong to an organic food club, and purple cauliflower was in our share recently. But I also found it at the farmer’s market I go to on Saturdays. Purple is my favorite color, and it holds the color beautifully.

    Natasha, Reeni, Sophie, Kara, Tyler, and Chocolate Shavings – thanks for your compliments. It was a fun competition and I really enjoyed trying to come up with an entry.

    Katy – sorry about the cauliflower – I still have some in the fridge – should I send it?

  14. Katrina Hall  •  May 20, 2009 @5:20 pm

    OK, I voted – obviously for you, since this is truly one of the strangest recipes I’ve ever read. But I’ll trust you on the it-tastes-good part. Good for you!

    Katrina Hall’s last blog post..making herb vinegars

  15. JQ  •  May 20, 2009 @5:29 pm

    I VOTED FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL CAULIFLOWER RASPBERRY CHEESE CAKES HAVING SEEN THEM IN THE MAKING!!!

  16. Organic Things  •  Nov 12, 2011 @8:54 am

    Wow, this seems amazing and I’m drooling looking over the pictures! Cauliflower Raspberry mini cheesecakes also seems like quite the unique combination. I’m thinking about what to bring to my Christmas dinner this year and think it will be this and perhaps some other vegetarian dishes :p
    Organic Things´s last blog ..Hemp: how it can benefit you! My ComLuv Profile

  17. rosanna  •  Feb 27, 2013 @9:03 am

    what do u recommend to serve this dish with?

  18. rosanna  •  Mar 2, 2013 @9:25 pm

    making this right now! purple cauliflower is out of season though :(

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