Gastronomically Terrific

November 23, 2015

Rolo cheesecake

Filed under: cheesecake, pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , — lawsonanna @ 10:42 pm

So, over the summer I spent a fair amount of time not baking, due to being in California… and it’s been even longer since I posted to this blog.

Since we returned at the end of September, I have done a fair bit of baking – somewhere between 8 and 10 bakes in total. I think that’s approximately one a week. I’ll try and blog about them all, but it’s entirely possible I’ll forget some along the way.

So, my first bake was this no bake Rolo cheesecake. The recipe had been e-mailed to me during the summer by a Pampered Chef consultant, but having none of the equipment available to me that I have at home, I decided to wait until we got back to the UK.

And what a disappointment this first bake turned out to be. Cheesecake and Rolos. It sounds amazing doesn’t it? What could go wrong? Well, that’s the problem. It’s just cheesecake and Rolos. Sure, you add some vanilla crunch cream biscuits to the base. And some caramel and cream to the filling. But basically, it’s just cheesecake with a whole bunch of Rolos thrown in. In the end, it was all just a bit dull.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: E-mail from a Pampered Chef consultant

 

February 18, 2015

Strawberries and cream cheesecake

Filed under: Cake, pudding, Valentines Day — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:03 pm

Strawberries and cream cheesecake slice CUI haven’t done a lot of baking recently, but Valentines Day is generally an excuse for tasty cake in our house – and baked cheesecake is hubby’s favourite, so that’s what I made. Buying the ingredients and preparing the cake was, by necessity, all last minute – with a new baby due to arrive any day I didn’t want a bunch of ingredients sitting around in the fridge not being used because I was otherwise occupied. Luckily for hubby, baby did not make an appearance on Friday 13th.

This is a fairly easy cheesecake to make, although there are a few stages to it. For starters, you do the standard ‘melt butter/ bash up biscuits/ mix together and put in the fridge to set’.

Stage 2 is making the actual cheesecake mixture. Again, fairly simple – just mix together 600g cream cheese, an egg and 100g caster sugar. What you do need to do is add a boiled strawberry mixture to this. The strawberry mixture contains (funnily enough) 200g strawberries, 80g caster sugar and 30ml water. (Having said that, this nearly ended up being a cherry mixture because the first shop I went to had no strawberries. It probably would have worked, but I’m glad I found strawberries in the next shop because I don’t like messing up gift bakes)!  You boil all this together and then wait for the strawberries to go soft and the liquid to reduce by half. Once the strawberry mix is cool, add it to the cream cheese mixture. Then pour the whole shebang on top of the biscuit base and bake in the oven for about 30 mins on 160C.

Third stage: once the cheesecake is cool and has been in the fridge for a couple of hours, whip together 100g of mascarpone cheese and 20g of icing sugar. Then add in 100ml of whipped double cream, and cover the whole cheesecake with this topping. Pop it back in the fridge to set overnight.

Finally, decorate the cheesecake with strawberries (and, if you’re me and bought them in anticipation of having no strawberries, cherries as well). I was planning on writing out ‘LOVE’ in the middle of the cake because it was Valentines Day, but that didn’t really fit – so I went with a ring of chopped strawberries around the edge and the outline of a heart done with cherries in the middle. Although you could just chop and throw I guess! The end result wasn’t bad – it looks OK and between the two of us we’ve managed to eat almost the entire thing (it fitted in a 9 inch based tin) in about 4 days…

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, Tarek Malouf, pg. 120-121

August 12, 2014

Gleaming maple cheesecake

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , — lawsonanna @ 5:49 pm

Maple syrup cheesecakeIn Nigella Christmas, this is the pudding that goes with the lamb and date tagine dish. I didn’t make it as part of the same meal, but I made it a week later for pudding when my family were visiting again (this time for a fun visit, not as a furniture-moving favour). It’s one of the puddings in the Nigella Christmas book that I’ve wanted to make for ages because it looks so tasty…

… and, thankfully, the pictures not too deceiving. It’s actually a pretty simple cheesecake to make. Apart from the maple syrup, it’s a fairly traditional baked cheesecake recipe that takes a hour or so to cook in the oven, then needs to be left in the fridge overnight to harden up. But it does taste good. The recipe says to serve it with maple syrup added on top, but I wasn’t sure if this would make it too sweet. Instead, I left the maple syrup out and let people choose themselves whether or not to add any extra. Everybody did, and it worked out (so in future perhaps I will add the syrup the way the recipe suggests. It was just the right sweetness with it).

Again, not necessarily a recipe I’d choose to make at Christmas time (when there are enough sweet things in the house and this probably wouldn’t be appreciated), but definitely something I’d make again if I was just looking for a tasty cheesecake.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 74-76

February 21, 2014

Chocolate and lime cheesecake

Filed under: Cake, pudding — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 10:21 pm
DSC05035

Happy Valentines Day!

This Valentines Day weekend brought about something of a plethora of baking and cooking. Not just because it was Valentines Day, but also because we had 10 visitors over the course of 4 days. The feast began with a 3-course Valentines Day meal, which consisted of chilli cheese crostini for starter, BBQ baked beans with squashed sweet potato for main, and a chocolate and lime cheesecake for pudding. Saturday saw us consuming homemade olive and fennel bread, whilst on Sunday we had feather fairy cakes for elevenses, roast beef with port and stilton gravy, and chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce for afters.

I’ve blogged about the chocolate pudding before (still no photo, sorry), and it tasted just as good the second time around, so I won’t blog about that again. Of the other dishes, they weren’t quite made in the order they were eaten, so I’ll write about them in the order they were made.

First up, the chocolate and lime cheesecake. This was made a few days in advance, as in my house it’s generally felt that the longer a cheesecake has to sit in the fridge soaking up all the flavours the better. The hardest thing about making this cheesecake was the amount of lime zest I had to grate. The recipe called for 6 limes. I had a slightly smaller tin, so I went with 4 and a half limes worth of zest for the filling, and half a limes worth of zest for the decoration on the top (so 5 in total). I did all my grating a day in advance, so making the cheescake was actually really easy. It involved bashing up some chocolate biscuits for the base (always a great stress reliever, until all the crumbs explode out of the bag because you’ve bashed a bit too hard), mixing together sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract and lime zest and juice, and popping the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes or so.

I decorated the cheesecake the next day, once it had had time to set in the fridge. The recipe book called for simply grating chocolate and some lime zest in a circle round the edge of the cheesecake, but I wanted to do something a bit extra as this was for Valentines Day. So I cut a heart shape out of some greaseproof paper, and put the remaining template on the cheesecake. This meant that when I sprinkled grated chocolate and lime zest on the cheesecake, it made a heart shape. I finished that off by making a ring of grated lime zest and chocolate around the edge of the cake.

I have to admit, I was pretty proud of how this looked. I’m not great at decorating things, and I thought I did a pretty good job with this. Of course, this was all helped by the fact that it tasted pretty good too. It’s actually a rather refreshing cheescake, as it’s very, very limey. The only chocolate is in the base and the decoration, so if you wanted to you could easily adapt the recipe so there was no chocolate at all. Although why anybody would think that’s a good idea is a different question.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, pg.216

July 10, 2011

Tiramasu Cheesecake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:10 pm

This sexy little number was recommended by our friend Ella, who seems to know her cheesecakes.

Tiramasu Torte

Death by cheesecake is by far the best way to go...

Correctly baked cheesecake is perhaps the most wonderful thing in the world.  This is up there with the best, though whether it takes the top spot will depend on how much you value purity against intensity: this is like being enveloped by a rum and amaretto hug whilst Tia Maria kisses you smack on the lips.  (Don’t think about the meaning of that in Spanish.  Just don’t.)

An Amaretti biscuit base works amazingly well, adding an almondly overtone that really works.  Trust me – I was an unbeliever too.  Your cheesecake will love you for it.  The second trick is the always amazing mix of coffee, alcohol and chocolate in the marbled cheescake, which is baked into an intense perfection that you will not be able to resist.

Ingredients:

Biscuit base: 275g amaretti biscuits, 75g unsalted butter/margarine

Cheesecake: 700g mascapone/cream cheese, 150g sugar, 3 eggs (separated), 25g plain flour, 3 tbsp dark rum, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 175g plain chocolate, 1tbsp coffee, 3 tbsp Tia Maria

Method:

Crush the biscuits in a bag or food processor, add melted butter and stir until mixed.  Press into a 9inch (23cm) cake tin and chill for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.  Beat the cheese until smooth, then add the sugar and re-beat, and then again with the egg yolks. Put half the mixture in a new bowl and add the flour, rum and vanilla.  Melt the chocolate, stir in the coffee and the Tia Maria, and add to the other half of the cheese mixture.

Beat the egg whites until gentle peaks form, then add half to each mixture and mix in gently (without beating).  Then dollop each in on to the base irregularly, using a knife to make marbled swirls on top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until gently soft in the middle.

Actually, we ever so slightly overcooked ours, with the inside perfect but the outside just a little dry.  It is safer to cook “lower in the oven” (or just at a lower temperature) and to keep it covered; it should come out sticky when you poke in a knofe (but not wet, which is how it will start).

Unlike many other cheesecakes, this is actually at its best when hot straight  from the oven.  I think its because the flavours are most intense then.  When chilled, it will taste more like cheesecake and less like alcoholic heaven, which would probably be a good thing for people who don’t like such an intense coffee flavour.

Who made it: Anna, though Dan licked everything clean.

Recipe: Good Housekeeping Cakes and Bakes (probably.. this is from memory…

February 28, 2010

Caramel Crunch Cheesecake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:35 pm

In the interests of fairness, I should say that I’m a recovering Cheesecake addict.  Well, I was recovering.  Now I’m simply an addict again.

This is possibly the least healthy cake (measured in increased death probability per mouthful) that has ever existed.  It is also the reason that I feel passionately that the humble digestive earns its place as the spiritual leader of the biscuits.

Here, have a look:

The most delicious death you could ever imagine.

What you are looking at there is almost solid sugar and dairy produce, tainted only by cocoa.  The top layer is dark chocolate, mixed with a little cream.  The base is a rather simple but extremely delicious mixture of chocolate coated digestives and butter, which when baked tastes divine.  The cheesecake mixture is cream cheese, sugar and eggs, mixed with a home made caramel sauce.  There are even pieces of crunchie in there.

As with all real cheesecakes, its baked in the oven, which concentrates the flavour and gives a cake-like consistency.  This is, to my tastes, an essential feature distinguishing cheesecake from a simple mixture of cheese related ingredients – unbaked cheesecakes just don’t do it for me.

The end result is simply awesome.  The best things is that it gets better with time – sitting in the fridge actually seems to open up the flavours in a way that I don’t fully understand.  It will take us a week to eat this guy – it should take a month by calorie count – and I know from delicious experience that today’s awesome piece will be matched or beaten tomorrow.

Who made it: Anna did the hard work, Dan helped with the “cleaning the bowls” (no actual washing up was necessary, strangely…)

Recipe: Cheesecakes, pavlovas & trifles, by the Australian Women’s Weekly (!), page 8.

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