The Eli's Cheesecake Cookbook by Maureen Schulman, with Eli's three award-winning pastry chefs, is not only a culinary and visceral delight but a visual treat with its museum worthy photographs.
OPRAH has called these acclaimed desserts "Perfection on a Plate." Originally culled from Schulman's father-in-law's restaurant, Eli's The Place for Steak, Eli Schulman, known as the Toots Schor of Chicago, entertained movie stars, crooners, mobsters and politicians in his classic steakhouse, treating them to rich and creamy cheesecake after a hearty steak.
As the popularity of Eli's new spin on cheesecake...Chicago Style...grew globally, its reputation was enhanced by variety so that now there are over 50 delectable cheesecakes, ranging from Belgian Chocolate to Crème Fraîche. Eli's Cheesecakes are served up at celebrity birthdays, sports bets and The White House.
What started as a local favorite has made it to four Presidential Inaugurations, including a 2000 pound cheesecake cut by Aretha Franklin for President Clinton's big day and a giant Capitol shaped cheesecake topped with an edible Statue of Freedom for Obama's Inauguration cake.
This is not your average cookbook. In addition to great recipes, it's an historical ride with fascinating stories and archival photos, depicting the likes of Frank Sinatra, Gayle Sayers, Woody Allen, Barbara Streisand, President Obama's and Hillary Clinton's 50th birthday cakes.
The Cookbook begins with the ten most requested savory recipes from Schulman's famous steakhouse and continues with 40 cheesecake recipes, with Eli's Trade Secrets and step by step photos.
The Eli's Cheesecake Cookbook supplies 35 years of scientific knowledge behind making the perfect cheesecake and aims to empower the home cook. Divided into Batters, Crusts, Finishing Touches and Putting It All Together, the cookbook allows for maximum creativity.
Cookbook Author Maureen Schulman with Salted Caramel and Strawberry Cheesecakes. Photo by Jennifer Girard.
Celebrity collaborations include Wilco's front-man Jeff Tweedy and son Spencer's Stroopwafel Cheesecake, Award winning author, journalist and NPR personality Scott Simon's White Chocolate Raspberry Nutella Cheesecake, Coach Mike Ditka's Apple Raisin Streusel Cheesecake, Chris Kennedy's Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake and award winning journalist Bill Kurtis' Goat Cheese Cheesecake with candied oranges.
YIELD: 1 (9-INCH) FLUTED TART PAN / 12 SERVINGS
1. Prepare the Blueberry Compote (recipe follows). Follow the recipe as directed and store in the refrigerator until ready for use.
2. Prepare the Brown Sugar Streusel (recipe follows). Follow the recipe as directed.
3. Prepare the Lemon batter (recipe follows). Follow the recipe as directed.
4. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Fill the fluted tart pan with the Lemon batter.
5. Place the fluted tart pan in the center of the oven, directly on the middle shelf. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake is slightly firm to the touch (this is a shallow cake, so it shouldn't jiggle much). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
6. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight to completely set before serving.
7. Before serving, pour the Blueberry Compote on the center of the cake. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a silicone offset spatula, spread the compote evenly over the top of the cake, being careful not to spread over the cake's edge.
8. Slice the tart with a thin, non serrated knife that is dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each slice. Serve immediately.
YIELD: 2 1/2 CUPS OR ENOUGH TO TOP 1 (9-INCH) CHEESECAKE
2 cups (15 ounces) fresh blueberries, rinsed, dried, and stems removed
1 recipe Quick Apricot Glaze (see recipe below), warmed
1. Place the blueberries in a large mixing bowl and pour the warmed Quick Apricot Glaze over them. Mix well and set aside, covered, until ready to use.
Quick Apricot Glaze
YIELD: ENOUGH TO COVER 1 (9-INCH) CHEESECAKE
8 ounces apricot jam
2 tablespoons water
1. Combine the apricot jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the jam begins to loosen. Remove from the heat.
2. Using a mesh strainer to filter out any larger pieces of the apricot, transfer the mixture into a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
Brown Sugar Streusel
YIELD: 1 (9-INCH) SPRINGFORM CHEESECAKE CRUST, 2 (8- AND 9-INCH) BOTTOM CRUSTS, 4 (6-INCH)
BOTTOM CRUSTS, 6 (4-INCH) BOTTOM CRUSTS (SEE SABAYON RECIPE ON P. 104), 1 (9-INCH) FLUTED
TART CRUST WITH CRUST UP THE SIDES
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Beat on low speed until well combined.
3. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Be careful not to overmix.
4. Grease the pan(s). Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan(s).
5. To set the crust, bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
YIELD: 1 (9-INCH × 1-INCH) ROUND TART PAN / 12 SERVINGS
1 1/2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large whole eggs, room temperature
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl to prevent lumps from forming.
2. Place the lemon zest on a clean cutting board and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar over it. Work the sugar into the zest using a spatula or the back of a spoon. Add the sugared zest to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 1 minute, until just combined.
3. Add the remaining sugar and the vanilla to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is completely blended.
4. Slowly add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time. After adding each, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue beating on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is fully incorporated.
The Eli's Cheesecake Cookbook: Remarkable Recipes From A Chicago Legend is published by Midway/Agate.
"The secrets to the ultimate cheesecake? They're in this book." -Julia Kramer, Senior Editor, Bon Appétit