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Happy-Gourmand

Chicks, bunnies and tulips

Well, here we are, already at Easter. Are you ready? Probably not. In today’s world, time flies.

There never seems to be enough moments to make the most of a day; we are always rushing to fill all our obligations.

Easter is a celebration that rates the same magnitude as Christmas – there is much to be done for it to be heralded in with the appropriate amount of fanfare and indulgence.

Whether you are celebrating the end of Lent or planning an Easter Egg hunt for the kids, it is and should be a big deal. The catch is, big deals just don’t materialize overnight.

Are you feeling like I am?  Do you feel as though you just put away the Christmas decorations and here you are trying to find a pastel-coloured tablecloth and napkin rings that match the tulips you bought?

Does it irk you that you can’t decide which sheets to put in the spare bedroom so that it looks bright and springy? Well, the one saving grace is the reward that awaits us at the end of all the agonizing decisions… chocolate!

I am not trying to make light of what many consider to be a serious occasion, but I must say that I enjoy the frivolity of Easter. Bunny tails and fuzzy chicks make me smile, and chocolate makes me smile even more. Jelly beans are one of the four Easter goodie food groups and that is not a bad thing either.

If you are making kids hunt, think of the learning and sense of accomplishment that comes from following directions or solving the riddle given. The end justifies the means – let them eat chocolate.

Hunting for your Easter “loot” is one more reason to enjoy every morsel. One year when I was a kid we had a poem from the Easter Bunny whose rhymes gave hints on where to find the eggs – it included a quote from Macbeth that was to lead us to the eggs hidden in the washing machine.

The reference was obscure when I was 10, but I’ve been dying to use it for an adult Easter hunt.

Easter also has a much more solemn and important historical significance. Whatever your faith, Easter is a time to celebrate and gather together. The renewal of spring seems to echo the sentiment that is the theme of Holy Week. A feast at the table is a logical part of such celebrations.

Even if you are not religious, it is likely you are entertaining this weekend. It’s always good to finish with a bang, so here is a great dessert recipe perfect for a small crowd. It fits the chocolate Easter theme, too.

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE

  • 750g or 3 packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 9 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 300ml heavy cream (33% plus) PLUS more for decorating if desired
  • 1 ½ cup frozen whole raspberries
  • 2/3 cup semisweet Callebaut chocolate chunks (available in bulk at most grocery stores)
     
  • Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease a 9 inch (22 cm) springform pan.
  • Combine cream cheese and sugar, mixing with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, two at a time, beating well after each addition. Add heavy cream, zest and vanilla.
  • Pour mixture in your greased pan. Add raspberries in the pan and mix carefully so they go everywhere. Drop the chocolate chunks in the pan too – do not swirl.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes depending on your pan. Watch for an even motion on top (the filling should be solid enough not to “slide” as a liquid). Loosen the cake from the rim of the pan; cool before removing the sides from the pan. (Leave cheesecake on pan base.)
  • Place cheesecake on decorative plate if desired. Decorate with fresh raspberries and whipping cream.

Makes 12 large servings, 16-20 smaller servings. Store leftovers in the fridge, covered.

TIP: Run a large chef’s knife under hot water before cutting slices to get a clean cut.



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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