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Apricot Whisky Honey Cheesecake – A Flash in the Pan

Apricot, whisky & honey cheesecake - deconstructed.

Fancy making a glorious summer dessert that’s full of interesting flavours and doesn’t require too much effort? This deconstructed apricot, whisky and honey cheesecake fits the bill beautifully. It’s a perfect pudding for entertaining and will wow everyone who tastes it. Although, it’s probably one for the adults rather than the kids. The recipe comes from A Flash in the Pan by John Whaite. Read on for my review as well as the recipe. Plus there’s a chance to win a copy of the book.

Like most food obsessives, I have a lot of cookbooks. Space is always a problem, so I have periodic clear-outs and also try not to acquire too many new ones. Sometimes though, it’s just irresistible.

A Flash in the Pan by John Whaite

A Flash in the Pan: simple, speedy, stovetop recipes* by John Whaite was published just five days ago. It’s full of interesting ingredients and flavour combinations with a strong nod to Asian cuisine. As the title suggests, all of the recipes are cooked on the stove top – no oven required. It’s not a vegetarian book, but like many cookbooks these days, it has a lot of meat-free and vegan dishes included. Many of the meat and fish recipes can easily be adapted.

A Flash in the Pan by John Whaite

Some of the recipes are simply outrageous and more akin to something you’d be served up by Heston Blumenthal than a home cooked meal. But they’re intriguing and I like to be intrigued. The bowl of charcoal and Guinness dampfnudel with blackberry and cassis compote is striking in its blackness, but the jury is still out as to whether I’d like to try it.

There are recipes I probably wouldn’t make as, despite the title, they’re not what I’d call simple. On the other hand, there are quite a few super speedy ones such as Indo-Chinese chilli paneer which can be made in ten minutes. I’ll definitely be trying that one.

But there are lots of good ideas here and recipes I’m very keen to try. Most of them sound really delicious: mushroom pho made with wholewheat noodles, tahini and honey pancakes and corn chowder with ricotta and chilli lemon oil all jumped out at me saying “make me, make me now”.

John Whaite

John Whaite came to fame when he won the third series of Great British Bake Off. He’s from a farming family but is a trained pastry chef. He now runs his own cookery school, but will forever be remembered by me for being a Bake Off star when it was still on the BBC. A Flash in the Pan is his fifth cookbook.


This book has an unusual photographic conceit. All of the photos are in shades of grey, except for the food. If john appears in any of the photos, he’s wearing grey. The tableware is all grey as are the backgrounds. Even the book cover is grey. This may not sound very enticing, and I was a bit bemused by it to begin with. But it works really well. It looks incredibly elegant, despite John saying the recipes are really just for “two hairy blokes and a scruffy hound”. You can get an idea how it works in this photo of the apricot, whisky and honey cheesecake.

A Flash in the Pan by John Whaite - Apricot, Whisky and Honey Cheesecake photo.

For those, like me, that like to see photos of every recipe, you’ll be pleased with this book. All of the recipes have an accompanying photo and most of them are full page. Plus, each chapter begins with a photographic menu of the dishes you will soon find. This is definitely a book for the visually oriented.

Book Chapters

Speed Sweet Speed

The chapters of this book come in an order that you don’t expect, so I was immediately caught off guard. It certainly made me sit up and pay attention. The first chapter, Speed Sweet Speed, is all about dessert. John gives an explanation as to why this is so, but my puritanical streak is not convinced. Having said that, the first recipe I chose to make from the book, apricot whisky and honey cheesecake, is in this very first chapter.

Season the Day

Season the Day features recipes where you prep in the morning in order to get a speedy meal in the evening. I only flicked through this chapter as everything was meat oriented. But it includes things like gyros, kebabs, burgers, nachos and stews.

Table for One

I really liked the chapter Table for One. It’s rare for cookbooks to include recipes just for one and I like the message of inclusivity this gives. There are plenty of people living on their own and it’s annoying when recipes are mostly aimed at two, four or six people. Even those of us with spouses, partners or family sometimes have to cook just for ourselves. Plus it’s usually easier to scale up, if needed, than it is to scale down. I’m quite taken with the recipe for Okonomiyaki, a type of Japanese pancake made with cabbage.

Meat Free

This is followed by a Meat Free chapter. Not surprisingly, there were lots of recipes that appealed to me here. Some are vegetarian and some vegan. The walnut, feta and mint pesto with sweet potato and wholewheat pasta is a meal for two that I might just knock up for tonight’s supper.

A Flash in the Pan by John Whaite - Meat Free.

Dinner Time

I skipped over the chapter for Dinner Time, as there were only two vegetarian recipes in it. But I was taken with both of them, especially the recipe for saag halloumi. It’s a take on the well known Indian curry house, saag paneer. It includes tomatoes, so the dish looks really vibrant with its contrasting colours of red and green.

First Bites

Much like the first chapter, the final one is back-to-front too. It’s start your day with First Bites. When I have the time, breakfast is my favourite meal. So maybe the best was kept to last after all. My mother was particularly taken with the idea of marmalade brulée French toast, but my favourite has to be the brunch burritos. What could be nicer than a lazy weekend start of sausage, egg, mushrooms, beans, cheese and veg stuffed into a wholemeal tortilla and served with chives and sour cream?

What I Really Liked

Despite my love of bright colours, I really liked the photography in this book. I’ve already mentioned how all of the photos come in various shades of grey, apart from the food. But this gives the book a rather sophisticated and elegant air which belies the full-on vibrancy of the recipes within.

John uses some really interesting flavour combinations and the food is full of bold flavours. There are lots of appealing recipes I want to try. This recipe for apricot whisky honey cheesecake was a real winner. It’s easy to make and super tasty.

Apricot, whisky & honey cheesecake - deconstructed.

Lots of the recipes used wholegrain noodles, wholemeal breads and one even featured my favourite spelt flour. As a whole food blogger, this got a definite thumbs up from me.

What Could Have Been Done Better

Some of the ingredients John uses in the recipes are decidedly unusual and difficult to get hold of. I feel the book is a little London centric in this regard. I’m really taken with the recipe for sour cherry and mahlab Welsh cakes. But where do I get mahlab in the New Forest?

I’m also not sure that the subtitle of the book reflects the actual recipes in the book. Simple, speedy, stovetop recipes made me think of lots of stew type meals and one pot creations. But quite a few of these recipes are a lot more complicated than ‘simple’ implies. Some of them are quick and easy for sure, but asparagus tempura with porcini mayo sounds like a bit of a faffy recipe to me. Delicious yes, but you have to soak the mushrooms, make a batter, deep fry and then make the porcini mayo.

Publisher Details

A Flash in the Pan: simple, speedy stovetop recipes */ John Whaite. Published by Kyle Books in hardback with an RRP of £20. ISBN – 9780857836731.

Apricot, Whisky and Honey Cheesecake

I’m generally not a fan of deconstructed desserts. Neither, apparently is John Whaite. I don’t really see the point of them. But occasionally, you get one that works brilliantly and this apricot, whisky and honey cheesecake is one such. It’s actually quite a simple dessert and is so much easier to make than a classic cheesecake. As in all of the recipes in A Flash in the Pan, no baking is required. You do need two pans and a bowl though, so don’t think you’ll get away with no washing up.

Apricots poaching in honey syrup.

I made this apricot, whisky and honey cheesecake whilst my mother was staying. All of us loved it and wished there was more. I can see me making it again and again during apricot season. The flavours work beautifully together, but at the same time stand out on their own.

Deconstructed Apricot Whisky and Honey Cheesecake.

The dish is made with three separate elements. First you poach the apricots in a mixture of water, whisky, honey and whole spices. Whilst they’re cooking you whip up some cream with vanilla and honey, then add cream cheese and Greek yoghurt. I used mascarpone as I happened to have some in the fridge, so I added a pinch of sea salt to the mixture. Cream cheese is normally salty, but mascarpone isn’t. The third element is the oaty ‘base’. Toss the oats in a hot pan, then add butter and brown sugar to caramelise.

Other Fresh Apricot Recipes You Might Like

Stay in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you get hold of A Flash in the Pan or try this recipe for apricot, whisky and honey cheesecake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For further book reviews, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Apricot Whisky Honey Cheesecake. PIN IT.

Apricot, whisky & honey cheesecake - deconstructed.

Apricot Whisky Honey Cheesecake – The Recipe

Apricot, whisky & honey cheesecake - deconstructed.
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5 from 11 votes

Apricots, Whisky and Honey Cheesecake

A glorious summer dessert that's full of interesting flavours and it doesn't require much in the way of effort. It's an easy deconstructed version of cheesecake that's simply served in bowls.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: apricots, cheesecake, easy, honey, whisky
Servings: 4 servings
Author: John Whaite



  • 6-8 small apricots - halved and stoned (I used 8 large ones)
  • 300 ml (10fl oz) water
  • 150 g (5oz) honey (I used 2 tbsp chestnut honey)
  • 75 ml single malt whisky (I used a whisky blend)
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise


  • 125 ml (4½ fl oz) double cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp honey (I used one)
  • 150 g (5oz) full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 280 g (10oz) full-fat cream cheese (I used 150g mascarpone with a pinch of salt)


  • 75 g (2¾ oz) jumbo porridge oats
  • 25 g (1oz) butter (I used unsalted)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) dark muscovado sugar


  • Place all of the apricot ingredients into a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the cream, vanilla and honey in a bowl until you've got soft peaks. Add the yoghurt and cream cheese and whisk until smooth.
  • Put a large deep-sided frying or sauté pan over a high heat. When it's hot, add the oats and toast, tossing occasionally, for a minute. Add the butter and sugar and stir. Fry for a couple of minutes or until the oats are caramelised, stirring as you go. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • To serve, divide the cheesecake mixture between four bowls. Add the poached apricots and sprinkle over the oats. Drizzle over a little of the warm poaching syrup.


I’m sharing this deconstructed recipe for apricot, whisky and honey cheesecake with Everyday Healthy Recipes for #CookBlogShare.

A Flash in the Pan Giveaway

Kyle Books is offering one Tin and Thyme reader a copy of A Flash in the Pan. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post, answering the question, which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified.

This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 5 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked. Leaving your details gives permission for them to be passed on to Kyle books should you be a winner in this giveaway.

Prizes are offered and provided by Kyle Books and Tin and Thyme accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party. Tin and Thyme reserves the right to cancel or amend the giveaway and these terms and conditions without notice.

Closing date is Friday 13 September 2019

Do take a look at the Tin and Thyme giveaways page to see if there’s anything else you’d like to enter.

A Flash in the Pan Cookbook

Thanks to Kyle Books for the copy of A Flash in the Pan which they sent for review purposes. They did not expect me to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. This post contains affiliate links which are marked with an *. If you buy through a link, it won’t cost you any more, but I’ll get a small commission. Thanks for your support of the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging.


  1. Chloe Edges

    13th August 2019 at 1:40 pm

    I love all of John’s books so far and the photography is always beautiful so I’m super intrigued to see this grey theme. The book is in my wishlist but I can’t justify buying at the moment so fingers crossed for the comp

    • Choclette

      13th August 2019 at 7:40 pm

      Good luck Chloe. I’ve not seen any of John’s other books, so I don’t have anything to compare it too. But I loved the photography.

      • Chloe Edges

        14th August 2019 at 8:58 pm

        Oh I’d really recommend Comfort for the next one although to be fair, I don’t know how meaty it is!

        • Choclette

          15th August 2019 at 5:38 pm

          Hahaha, thanks for the recommendation Chloe. I guess only vegetarians notice how many meat dishes are in most recipe books.

  2. Donna

    13th August 2019 at 2:04 pm

    what interesting flavours. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything like this, looks fab though and the book sounds great.

    • Choclette

      13th August 2019 at 7:39 pm

      Whisky and raspberries is more usual, but this is the first time I’ve ever paired it with apricots. It was scrummy.

  3. kelly @ jellie noms

    13th August 2019 at 3:17 pm

    This looks great! I’m not too familiar with alcoholic bakes but is it possible to sub rum for the whiskey?

    • Choclette

      13th August 2019 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Kelly. Whisky works really well with the honey, but I reckon rum would be good too.

  4. Mary

    13th August 2019 at 10:01 pm

    This looks like something I could indulge myself with. Sounds perky and light. Will have to wait for Apricot season but I think the wait will be worth it. Don’t think the tinned variety would cut it actually.
    Don’t know the author but you liked it so good enough for me.

    • Choclette

      14th August 2019 at 8:53 am

      You’re obviously not a fan of The Great British Bake Off Mary. I can’t resist it, even though it’s no longer on the BBC. I like the description, perky and light, it’s an apt one. And you’re right, tinned apricots just wouldn’t quite do it.

      • Mary

        15th August 2019 at 4:12 am

        I did used to watch the Great British Bake Off which I thought was really good. But with Mary Berry. Not keen on the new version. Hope that doesn’t offend anyone. And my apologies to the Author if he was a contestant on the GBBO. Anyway this looks a darned nice bit of nosh.

        • Choclette

          15th August 2019 at 5:37 pm

          Hahaha, I’m sure he’ll forgive you Mary. Well I do anyway. I quite agree, it’s not nearly as good since it moved to Channel 4.

  5. angiesrecipes

    14th August 2019 at 6:53 am

    Save me one, please :-)) They look incredibly delicious.

    • Choclette

      14th August 2019 at 8:48 am

      Oh nooooooo Angie! They’re all gone. But they were incredibly delicious 😀

  6. Lou | Crumbs & Corkscrews

    14th August 2019 at 8:12 am

    Interesting flavours; I’m not a big fan of whiskey but when it sounds delicious paired with the honey and apricot. John’s books are lovely and always beautifully photographed.

    • Choclette

      14th August 2019 at 8:50 am

      I used to hate whisky, but I’ve really come to appreciate it in baking and cooking these last few years. It might be worth revisiting.

  7. sherry

    14th August 2019 at 9:46 am

    i too am not a fan of deconstructed anything. i think foods are made in a certain way ‘cos it makes sense as is. but despite that, this dish does sound tasty. Mmm funny what cheffy types think is ‘simple.’ 🙂 cheers sherry

    • Choclette

      14th August 2019 at 10:16 am

      Fab comment Sherry, I’m still chuckling. If this only didn’t have the name cheesecake, no-one would expect anything different. It is really good and well worth making.

  8. Jenny Walters

    15th August 2019 at 12:11 pm

    What a sophisticated and delicious dessert. I have one of his books but can’t remember the name of it! It is all about the technical side of baking. I love the sound of his recipes but have also found some of them a bit too in depth! But this recipe sounds different and it looks absolutely beautiful.

    • Choclette

      15th August 2019 at 4:37 pm

      It’s a perfect dessert for entertaining as it looks and tastes so good, but can mostly be prepared beforehand. But it’s easy enough to knock up for an everyday meal too. Interesting to hear about the technical baking book.

  9. Cat | Curly's Cooking

    15th August 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I like your honest feedback from the book, it’s really helpful. I have one of his earlier baking books and remember thinking some of the recipes were a bit fiddly. This cheesecake sounds really tasty though!

    • Choclette

      15th August 2019 at 4:34 pm

      I hope I always give honest feedback. Despite the fiddly nature of some of the recipes though, this ‘cheesecake’ is really easy and oh so delicious.

  10. Jacqui Bellefontaine

    16th August 2019 at 1:03 pm

    What a great book review half of what you say makes me really want to read this book a little bit not so much as i hate faffy “celebrety” cooks recipes. But oh this apricot dessert looks fab I would definitely make this!

    It also looks a beautifully designed book.

    • Choclette

      16th August 2019 at 4:30 pm

      It is a beautiful book and has a lot going for it. And not all of the recipes are faffy. It just annoys me a bit that you might not be getting what you expect according to the title of the book.

  11. Kavita Favelle

    16th August 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Looks like a fab book. I love boston baked beans on a stove top, beautiful dish!

    • Choclette

      17th August 2019 at 8:25 am

      Ooh yes, haven’t had Boston baked beans in an awfully long time, but they are delicious.

  12. Nickki

    16th August 2019 at 9:08 pm

    This apricot dessert looks really good. I’m not much of a whisky drinker, but I do like the taste of it in food. I really like John – I think he’s an incredibly talented, creative man. The cakes he’s been posting on Instagram lately are works of art! I have all of his other books, so I would be thrilled to win this new one. I’m a big fan of his cherry and walnut brownie recipe – best brownies I’ve ever made!

    • Choclette

      17th August 2019 at 8:24 am

      I know what you mean about whisky. I don’t drink it, but I do like cooking with it or even having a drizzle over porridge. I shall have to check out John’s IG feed and as for cherry and walnut brownies, they sound divine.

  13. Camilla Hawkins

    16th August 2019 at 9:35 pm

    I would love to win John’s book! I met him a few years ago at Woking Food Festival and he was so lovely and easy to talk to plus very funny:-) A very talented cook too:-)

    • Choclette

      17th August 2019 at 8:23 am

      Ah Camilla. Another interesting fact. John seems to have a lot of fans.

  14. Margaret Gallagher

    16th August 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Can’t beat a great veg bean chilli on the stove – warming comfort food that tastes better the longer it’s made

    • Choclette

      17th August 2019 at 8:21 am

      This is very true Margaret. In fact chilli is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

  15. Katherine

    16th August 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Your cheesecake looks soo tasty and I really want to get John Waite’s new book

    • Choclette

      17th August 2019 at 8:20 am

      Recipe books are very hard to resist I fine. The cheesecake is delicious, but it’s the apricots poached in whisky that really does it.

  16. Solange

    17th August 2019 at 6:07 am

    Coconut & squash dhansak. This quick and easy vegetarian curry is perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner with butternut squash, coconut milk, lentils and spinach.

    • Choclette

      17th August 2019 at 8:18 am

      Sounds absolutely delicious Solange. I think I’m going to have to make it.

  17. Monika Dabrowski

    19th August 2019 at 9:40 pm

    I love boozy desserts and this one sounds so interesting with the star anise and cardamom in it. It looks so appealing! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare.

    • Choclette

      20th August 2019 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks Monika. Poaching fruit in booze is a sure fire winner, despite the fact I’m not much of a drinker. And the spices added extra interest.

  18. Margaret Clarkson

    22nd August 2019 at 2:23 pm

    The photography looks amazing – by having everything else grey, it means the focus is on the food.

    • Choclette

      22nd August 2019 at 2:27 pm

      Yes, it works really well. I’ve rather fallen in love with grey food photography now.


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