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Birth of a Pie, Death of a Blender…

2 May, 2008 (18:24) | China, Daily Life, Details, Food, Geek

Decided today I wanted to make a Cake/Pie/Some sort of Dessert - “Western” desserts just aren’t the same here…at least I haven’t really found a place that makes em’ just like back at home…However having no oven, makes this somewhat of a difficulty…

I really wanted to make a cheesecake, and found a recipe that uses a rice cooker - however I couldn’t find 6″ pans…much less a Springform Pan. The next runner up was the French Silk Pie - requires no baking, and the ingredients weren’t too hard to find (well minus the pre-made pie crust and pan…and oh yeah…unsweetened baking chocolate) - just needed a mixer to create this concoction… No hand mixers, or any mixers for that matter were to be found at the local superstore (about the size of a regular Walmart, but also sells groceries) - Was eyeballing a what looked to be a sturdy blender…well maybe not so sturdy, but looked ok as long as I didn’t want to make frozen margaritas all day - about 45 USD - then the sales lady wooed me over to the blender they had on sale this week that they were also demonstrating - pretty impressive on what they presented…it had the same power as the one I was looking at (250W) , and was half the price- 22USD …..However like what I have told my students “Its not what they say, its what they don’ t say…” - It was one of those crappy blenders you see on tv, that they never run for more than 20-30 seconds, you know

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the ones that can make a simple smoothie for one or help you grate some cheese for melting in the microwave for nachos.

While mixing the ingredients for the pie, I was really getting annoyed with the motor turning itself off after 20-30 seconds then requiring 20-30 minutes to cool down - remembering during the presentation that the lady was pouring water on the unit while it was mixing, I suppose showing that it was perhaps waterproof - a very dim light clicked on in my head - maybe I could use this as a means to more efficiently cool the unit while mixing, so I could use it for longer amounts of time…So with my very crude “water cooling” *cough Pitcher of Water cough* solution - I proceeded to start mixing again - Hey it seemed to work OK - the blender could function for 5 minutes now without needing to cool down, and when it did, pouring water on it constantly brought the cool down time to no more than 5-10 minutes . I was almost done with the Pie, adding the last 2 eggs to be beaten in (10 more minutes of mixing with a blender/mixer), when my blender had enough of the water torture & increasing viscosity of the batter and decided to shoot flames from its air intake and release its “magic smoke“. - In hindsight I am probably deserving of the Darwin Award if I got electrocuted with my water cooling idea…alas it seems I never win any awards…..Anyway beating 2 more eggs into this mixture wasn’t much fun - took around 30 minutes and thought my arm was going to fall off…The end product…well I guess it was OK, just a bit gritty from the sugar not being mixed well enough into the batter…since I hand mixed the last 2 eggs in,I probably mixed in alot of large air bubbles, as the pie had a weird lumpy top finish when it was set -nothing 5 ounces of grated dark chocolate couldn’t fix :-)

Returning the blender was somewhat interesting - things aren’t as easy to return here as they are back in the States - You really just can’t return things you don’t like, and if returning something that is defective you have to run around a little. Showing my dead blender to customer service (with the assistance of my tutor :-)) I was instructed to talk to the lady who sold it to me and have her verify it was really defective.

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Showing her the unit, she plugged it in, and it started working again, but had this weird smell and grinding sound - she said t was fine, when I asked her if the blades were moving at the right speed, she tried it again, but this time with a pop, some flames and smoke - scaring away her potential customers who were watching her make smoothies :-p, she said OK and replaced the unit with a new unit, when my tutor told them I wanted a refund - she made some nice story about how this device is a saftey hazard and that I deserve to have my money returned :-D - some more running around and I finally got refunded :-) - Somewhat looking for a mixer again, but thinking they might be really over priced here - may have to drag one back with me in my checked luggage if I come back….

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Recipe for the French Silk Pie- thanks Megan!

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French Silk Pie

1 cup butter, room temperature
1.5 cup white sugar
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate (2 ounces total), melted and cooled
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 prepared 8 inch pastry shell, baked and cooled


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Cream butter in a mixing bowl.
2. Gradually beat in the sugar with an electric mixer until light
colored and well blended.
3. Melt chocolate in double boiler. If using cocoa powder, follow
directions on package for substitution quantities and mix in double

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4. Stir in the thoroughly cooled chocolate (you don’t want to melt the
butter), and vanilla extract.

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5. Add the eggs, one at a time,

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beating 5 minutes on medium speed after
each addition.

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6. Spoon the chocolate filling into a cooled, baked pie shell.
7. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Tip on cooling the chocolate, I like to keep stirring it so that while
it cools none of it starts to set and get hard. When it is about room
temperature, it is time to add it.

*Additional Tip - Make sure all utensils are 100% dry when working with melted chocolate, also be very careful of not getting any water or steam in contact with it as well - otherwise it will seize

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Recipe for the Rice Cooker Cheesecake

Creamy Cheesecake (Rice Cooker)

Serving Size: 4

This cheesecake is very rich and creamy and, because the recipe does not require an oven, it won’t heat up the house, making it a delicious summer dessert topped with fresh fruits. For a little extra zing, add a tablespoon of grated lemon or lime rind to the cheesecake batter.

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This recipe can be done in either the 7-cup or 10-cup electric rice cooker by Wolfgang Puck.



3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
¾ cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon corn starch
3 eggs
1 6-inch spring form pan (most craft stores carry them in a 6X4 size; check cake-decorating aisles)
Parchment paper
Paper towel
Aluminum foil
Nonstick spray
2 cups water inside the nonstick pot of rice cooker


  1. You can make the cheesecake batter in a stand mixer, with a hand mixer or with, my favorite, the food processor.
  2. Cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and very creamy (no lumps). Keep scraping bowl so every ounce is smooth.

  3. Add the vanilla, salt and corn starch.

    Mix well.

  4. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well, but don’t over-beat.

  5. To prepare pan: Place one sheet of parchment over the base of spring form, then lock the pan together.
  6. Spray interior of pan with nonstick spray.

  7. Scrape batter into spring form.

    Cover with a paper towel.

  8. Place the spring form in the center of a 24-inch sheet of aluminum foil.
  9. Turn rice cooker on, and set timer for 40 minutes.

  10. After 40 minutes, let cheesecake rest in rice cooker for 1 more hour.
  11. Remove cheesecake from rice cooker, being careful not to spill the water that is trapped in the foil.

  12. Remove the foil. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  13. Chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.

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