Yesterday we gave a send-off to the statue of the Virgin Mary, which stayed in our house for a week for the Black Rosary. We received the invitation to be a Black Rosary host with joy - the timing was very opportune as we were settling down in our new home. It also paved the way to our meeting the members of the local religious community.
In my elementary days not so long ago, I participated in black rosaries around town in Pangasinan during the hot days of summer. It punctuated the idle days, which were otherwise mostly spent in reading Mills & Boon and Sweet Valley High pocketbooks. Led by a mass lector in our parish, I joined friends, mostly young girls my age, in bringing a small image of the Virgin Mary from house to house every three days.
Reception of the image was always accompanied by a small gathering and a short repast. Departure was celebrated likewise. So we didn't mind the kneeling and recitation of the novena every three days - we knew there were treats to be had afterwards!
I was just a participant then, though, with no care at all about the logistics and the leading of the prayer. This time around we were the hosts, and we had the responsibility, first, of leading the rosary, maintaining daily prayers, and choosing the host to whom we would next be entrusting the image. And of course, all the Black Rosary snacks I have eaten in my childhood were now being compensated for by my having to come up with a suitable handa to welcome and send-off Our Lady.
But I realized that was not the end of it. When She did come and we started the prayers, I found out to my horror that the prayer folder thrust to me was in Tagalog - pure, archaic, formal Tagalog. I had been confident before the devotees arrived - I can still recite the entire novena, plus all mysteries and prayers, by heart, in English and Pangasinan, to boot. In my excitement in the planning of the merienda I had forgotten that I was now in Tagalog country.
The rosary proceeded with me murdering most of the beloved words of Aguinaldo. I was glad for my 2 1/2 year-old daughter kneeling innocently in front of me the whole time - at least there was one person in the room who was blissfully unaware of my bloopers.
And I was quite relieved when it was all over. At least I could hide in the kitchen with the pretext of fixing the food, all the while praying fervently that the black forest cheesecake I made would make the devotees forget about my murderous frenzy - at least for a while.
This is my version of a cheesecake that became a black forest cake. I happened to have in handy what I thought would be suitable for an impressively luxurious yet easy to make refrigerated dessert - cream cheese, Knoxx gelatin, cherry topping, chocolate sprinkles and Cream-O cookies.
The result did not have a chocolate crumb or filling - rather it was by all means still a cheesecake, with all the flavors of a black forest cake.
Black Forest Cheesecake
1 pack cream cheese, sliced and softened
3 packs multi-purpose cream
1 big can condensed milk
1 envelope Knoxx clear, unflavored gelatin
1/2 kg pack Cream-O cookies, without the creme filling
1 can cherry topping in syrup
1 small pack chocolate sprinkles or chocolate shavings
- Process in a blender the first three ingredients until free from lumps.
- Sprinkle the gelatin slowly with the blender on mix or stir mode.
- Crumble the cookies coarsely or break them into quarters and lay randomly on the bottom of a deep glass dish.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture on the cookies, allowing them to rise at uneven levels.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, or until firm.
- Arrange the cherry topping and chocolate sprinkles on top alternately.
Cream-O cookies without the creme or sandwich filling can be bought by the pack, ground, crumbled or whole, at Chocolate Lovers, and at the stalls selling marshmallows and shake flavors in Divisoria, at the side of the market.
MAIN: 45 P. Tuazon Blvd. Corner C. Benites St.
Cubao Q.C. Philippines 1109
Tel. Nos. (+63 2) 411-7474 / 724-5752 / 724-4964
BRANCH: CLI WELCOME ROTONDA
# 2 Kitanlad Corner Quezon Blvd.
Tel. Nos. (+63 2) 732-8576 / 741-7487
Other cheesecake variants:
Mini Cream-O Cheesecake