She can cook, but she can’t bake

When I was offered a package compliments of Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) a few weeks ago, I jumped at the opportunity. I had heard about other bloggers receiving freebies from DFC in the past — giant parcels full of delicious, assorted Canadian cheeses. I was excited. When my styrofoam cooler arrived, though, it wasn’t full of cheeses. It was full of ingredients, and a printed recipe (developed by local chef Richard Julien). Ingredients to make an all-Canadian dairy cheesecake. Yep… that’s right. They wanted me to bake.

You may have noticed a pattern on my blog. I cook, I eat (a lot), I take photos, I write… I don’t bake. I don’t even particularly eat a lot of desserts. So, yes, I was a bit disappointed with my task, but, nevertheless I didn’t want to anger the powers that control the free cheese. So, I tried.

The task at hand was bumble berry cheesecakes wrapped in phyllo, with sweet creamy strawberry caramel, (as featured on dairygoodness.ca).

Yeah, phyllo. And yeah… cheesecakes… plural. The third problem was the recipe required a muffin tin, which I didn’t have. I figured that one out about half-way through.

So, the cheesecake mixture was easy. It used sugar, cream cheese, sour cream and mascarpone cheese (which I love). We also have an awesome stand-up KitchenAid mixer. I prepped the berries with no incident.

The creamy strawberry caramel sauce? I don’t even want to talk about that. Let’s just say, it didn’t survive.

Onto the phyllo. My first time working with it. I spread the sheet out,  brushed it with butter, being very gentle. I folded it in half, and repeated this action. I folded it in half AGAIN, and brushed it once more. This may sound easy, but it took several minutes. I then had my buttery phyllo square which was meant to go into a muffin tin, and be filled with cheesecake mixture, and topped with the berries.  Okay, cool, I could do that. If I had a muffin tin. I read on… “repeat with remaining ingredients to make 16 cheesecakes.”

SIXTEEN cheesecakes? Not happening.  Just… no. So instead, I made one, small cheesecake, inside a ceramic baking dish. I couldn’t completely wrap the phyllo into the beggar’s parcel shape, but I curled it up around the sides. I looked cute. It still tasted good… and it was the perfect-sized dessert for two people to share.

And... that's when I gave up.

  And… that’s when I gave up.

What did I do with the rest of the filling? Well. There was mysteriously a bag of graham cracker crumbs inside my package, that didn’t seem to have a place in the recipe… so I made a crumb crust, and a regular, berry cheesecake. No phyllo. No tedious, never-ending brushing of melted butter required.

The quitter's cheesecake.

The quitter’s cheesecake.

I may have botched this one up a bit — but I’m still holding out hope for that big bag of Canadian cheeses from DFC. I’m very good at savoury recipes. (Examples here, here and here.)

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