Brownie Puddle Tart
Posted: 08 August 2011 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hey all,
Philadelphia Cream Cheese is not widely available here, and when it is it’s quite expansive.
We do have sour cream which is 28% fat, and it is really rich and full. The texture is very similar to cream cheese [at least before baking].
Do you think it’s a good substitute? The amount of it in the brownie batter isn’t much, relatively [85 grams/3 ounces].

Thanks!

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Posted: 08 August 2011 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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By weight, cream cheese is 54% water, 34% fat, 6% protein, and 3% sugar.  If you substitute anything for it, it will need to come close to those parameters.  Marscapone is a very good substitute for cream cheese, though here it is more expensive.  It is slightly richer and less salty than cream cheese.  You could probably come close by using butter and milk, plus a bit of salt, in proportions that make the water and fat content come out right.  Here, whole milk is 88% water and 3.25% fat, skim milk is 91% water, and butter is 18% water and 81% fat.  Canned evaporated milk (nonfat) is 79% water. 

If it were me, I probably would not use sour cream as it often needs to be neutralized with baking soda in order to taste good in baked goods, while cream cheese does not.  I suspect that it also has more of a dulling effect on the chocolate flavor than cream cheese does.  If you were going to try that route, you could stir some baking soda directly into the sour cream and then allow it time to react, so that it doesn’t overleaven the batter.  Not sure of the exact amount needed, but it could probably be estimated from looking at the sour cream butter cake and the downy yellow cake in the Cake Bible. 

Post back if you want more help with the calculations.

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Posted: 08 August 2011 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks!
Mascarpone is more expensive than Philadelphia in here too. Actually we do have local cream-cheese, but the most common one tastes a little “cheesy”` its flavor is not as neutral as american cream cheese.
I haven’t thought about using milk, butter and salt. But I think the whole purpose of using cream cheese is because of its unique texture and structure [I haven’t made the puddle tart yet so I’m just guessing], and to make it easier to emulsify.
Actually, now that I think about it, alot of american recipes that use cream cheese are very similar to Israeli recipes that use sour cream- like for rugelach. The only caveat is the mixing with chocolate part, like you said.

The baking soda tip is brilliant, so thank you.
I think I will use sour cream, with and without b. soda and report back!

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Posted: 08 August 2011 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Since it looks like Rose’s sour cream butter cake uses 1/2 tsp soda per 160g sour cream, you could try 1/4 tsp baking soda in the 85 g sour cream as a starting point.

Looking forward to hearing how it turns out.

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Posted: 10 February 2012 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Just wanting to update-
I have made the brownie puddle tart twice- with cream cheese and with the sour cream.
Both times i have used bittersweet chocolate, 70-72% because a) I like the depth, and b) I always see in recipes refering to american and UK chocolate that when refering to chocolate, 62% ‘American’ chocolate = 70% ‘UK’ british, and I think our choco-language is more like the UK.

Anyway I wanted to make the recipe first ‘as-is’ [=with cream cheese] so that I will know the reference point.
By the time I got around to making the sour cream version I completely forgot about the soda tip!
As far as the results go I much prefered the sour cream version- I think it has to do with the brand because our cream cheese [30% fat] is a bit more ‘cheesy’ than Philadelphia cream cheese [33%?] which I have heard is a bit more neutral-tasting.

Thanks again!

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