Guest blog: the retro pantry

ovaltine[1]I haven’t even seen a jar of Ovaltine in decades, but guest blogger Rhianna Padamsey is reliving her youth with this look at the chocolatey drink. – ska

The onset of fall inevitably conjures up a variety of images: scarves, long slow braises, extra blankets, changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes.. However, it’s not often – not these days anyway – that one associates fall with the consumption of a nice, hot mug of…Ovaltine.

Remember Ovaltine? Yes we know that the jar is round and the mug is round and that “they should call it Roundtine” but, other than that, what do we really know about this strange, yet enduring powder in the jar with the orange lid in the back of the pantry?

Um…nothing.

To me, Ovaltine was that weird drink my mother would drink before bed. I remember it would sit in the pantry, depleting slowly enough that it inevitably hardened into a solid mass in the bottom of the jar and, god-willing, made its way to the trash. Sure, it kind of smelled and tasted like chocolate, but something about it was always slightly off. No?

That’s because it isn’t quite chocolate. Sure it contains a touch of cocoa powder but at its core, Ovaltine is, in fact, a malt beverage. And what is malt? I have no idea, but I thought it would be worthwhile to investigate the culinary value of this drink powder that has been in production for over a century.

Let me preface this by saying that although the flavour of the Ovaltine is slightly muted for my taste, and I still can’t accept it’s not quite chocolateness, this cake is smooth, rich and satisfying and really,
It sure beats using the Ovaltine jar as a door stop.

Ovaltine (chocolate malt) Cheesecake

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I like Oreo myself)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter melted

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
½ tsp cocoa powder dissolved in 1tbsp hot water
¼ cup Ovaltine
1 tsp pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs, granulated sugar and melted butter. Press crumbs into the bottom of a spring form pan and bake for 6-8 minutes.

Set aside and let cool.
In a large bowl, and using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time, making sure to mix well between each addition.

Add remaining ingredients and beat on low speed until well combined.

Pour into prepared crust and bake until the center wiggles just slightly.

Cool overnight in the refrigerator, make a pot of espresso, cut yourself a slice and enjoy a unique fall dessert.

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