A Gourmet Dessert That Is Simple to Make and Elegant to Serve

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The New York Polish Cheese Coffeecake is a beautiful and absolutely delicious dessert that is so easy to make it will surprise you. My daughter was afraid to try it though she had the recipe for many years. I made it with her to show how it is done. Her comment was that she would have made it long ago, had she known how simple it is. Anyone can make this dessert that puts on a gourmet look with just everyday effort. We all have occasions where we want to impress, and this is the dessert for the job. It is rich but not overly sweet. The crust is flaky and tender. The filling is smooth and creamy. Because it is rich it will easily make at least 12 portions.
I discovered this recipe for New York Polish Cheese Coffeecake a lot of years ago, when my children were still little. They are all grown up now, with families of their own. When I visited one of my daughters recently, she brought up this recipe, saying that she had always wanted to try it, but it seemed like it would be time consuming, and with 2 boys and a job, she needed something that was easy.
I told her we could get the simple ingredients and make it together, so she could see just how easy this dessert really could be. We went grocery shopping and picked up the ingredients, came home and made the dough. We rolled it out, filled it and topped with the second piece of dough. Then letting it set for a couple of hours to let the crust have some time to get that little bit of flaky rise, we popped it in the oven. She was astounded at how easy it all was.
When a special occasion comes around and a really spectacular gourmet looking and tasting dessert is what is needed, try this recipe. It was a fortuitous accident that led me to the recipe, and I have enjoyed making this dessert for numerous fine dinners. It is always received with acclaim, both for how pretty it is, and for how very good it tastes. It is hard to go wrong.
New York Polish Cheese Coffeecake
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup evaporated milk or cream, just warm
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 pound cream cheese, softened
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Dissolve yeast in evaporated milk or cream. Add the tablespoon of sugar. Set aside. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter till crumbly, as for pie dough. Add in the egg yolks and the yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Divide dough in halves.
Roll the first half just a bit wider and longer than the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan. This will allow the dough to go up the sides about 1 1/2 inch, and the filling will be against the dough rather than the side of the pan.
Make filling. Beat cream cheese, egg yolk, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. Spread onto the bottom crust and smooth the top.
Roll out the second half of the dough to fit the top of the pan. If possible, set the pan on top of the dough and use the outline to trace a perfect size, cutting with a small knife to make a neat edge. Using the rolling pin, roll the piece of dough onto the pin, and then unroll neatly over the top of the filling.
Beat the egg white with a whisk until frothy. You are not looking for meringue, but just enough bubbles to hold onto the nuts on top of the pastry. Brush the top pastry with the beaten egg white. Sprinkle with nuts.
Cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Makes 12 servings.

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