Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Food Find: Philadelphia Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling

The tub of ready-to-eat cheesecake filling was intriguing and the urge to eat it a spoonful at a time, here and there, actually not that great. I bought it not because I planned to dump it all into a graham-cracker crumb crust and serve it -- it's obvious primary intended use. No, I was thinking about other things I could use it for. Inspired by Bob Evans or IHOP or another of those breakfast-all-day chains, my first application was stuffed french toast.

This recipe is easy enough to make for Sunday breakfast and still get to church; it'll only look and taste like you made a big fuss. Plus it's a simple way to make an everyday day extraordinary.

  • Take one day-old loaf of braided challah (Jewish egg bread...see side note below) and sliced it into pieces at least 1-inch thick. I probably had 8-10 slices.
  • Beat 4 or 5 eggs in a glass pie plate with a splash of milk. Dip the bread slices one at a time in the egg batter and fry them on a hot nonstick griddle.
  • To assemble the stuffed french toast: Put a few tablespoons of ready-to-eat cheesecake filling on one piece of french toast. Top with another slice. Garnish with sliced bananas and strawberries or, like I did, use home-canned strawberry pie filling.
A side note: The artisanal bakery in the town where I work closed this summer -- much to my great sorrow. In preparation, I ordered a couple of loaves of challah every Friday leading up to its last day. I sliced and froze the bread in zipper-lock plastic bags. Thaw the bread on the counter a day or two before making french toast. It needs to get a little stale to better absorb the egg batter.

It got me through as I'm thrilled to report that another artisanal bakery will open soon in the same location with some of the same workers but under new management.

UPDATE: One recent Sunday, I tried a variation on this recipe. I traded the strawberry topping for toasted pecans and caramel sauce. I suppose you could add sliced bananas to this, too, but I may have mentioned how I loathe a banana.

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To toast pecans, put a single layer in a skillet or saute pan and heat over low to medium flame. Shake the pan every minute and watch them carefully so they don't scorch -- yuk! I used Tastefully Simple Caramel Sauce and it was nothing spectacular, beat making my own though. Tastefully Simple, if you've never had the pleasure, sells "gourmet" foods -- mainly mixes for breads (like just add a can of beer) and dips. I think you can order direct from the representative but there are is also a home-party plan component (think Tupperware.) I like some of the company's products but can't say I'd buy the caramel sauce again -- not rich enough or something, kinda bland.

With the holidays approaching, a great use for this ready-made cheesecake product might be as filling in pumpkin rolls. Though I gather that the filling is not the tricky part (I have never tried to make one). I imagine folks might have trouble handling the thin spongy cake that makes the roll.

There is a chocolate variety, too.

Kraft suggests mixing crushed Oreo cookies into a tub of the plain filling and dumping the whole thing in an Oreo pie crust. I was surprised that the company's recommendations for using this versatile new product weren't more diverse. Of the seven recipes on Kraft's site that incorporate the ready-to-eat cheesecake filling, only one deviated from the standard "vanilla" formulations of dump it in a cracker-crumb crust and dress it up with pie filling topping, sprinkles or mix-ins. The quick tropical cheesecake trifle calls for it between layers of fruit and poundcake. Thanks to Kraft, that recipe follows.

Quick Tropical Cheesecake Trifle
Recipe from KraftFoods.com

1 package (10.75 oz.) frozen pound cake, thawed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tub (24.2 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling
2 cups cut-up fresh pineapple (1 inch pieces)
2 bananas, sliced
2 kiwi, peeled, chopped
1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam, warmed
1/4 cup BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut, toasted
Layer half of the cake cubes in bottom of large straight-sided serving bowl. Top with half of the cheesecake filling and fruit. Repeat layers.
Drizzle with jam; sprinkle with coconut.
Serve immediately. Or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Store any leftovers in refrigerator. Serves 14.

How would you use it?


Fatcat said...

I was thinking of using this, devil's food cake and cherry pie filling in a trifle. How does that sound?

Cynthia said...

That sounds great! I would use brownies though, for two reasons. I think their firmer texture would stand up to the wetness of the pie filling and I like their chewiness as a counterpoint for all the smoothness of the fillings. If you did this, let me know what you thought!

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