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.
It’s National Chocolate Week 2012 and I fancied some brownies. I had a tub of ricotta to use up and some Cornish apples from my mother’s garden. So to celebrate this most auspicious week, I decided to experiment and make some apple ricotta cheesecake brownies.
This is how I made them:
- Peeled, cored and sliced two medium apples weighing 200g (unspecified Cornish variety) and placed in a pan.
- Added 50g vanilla sugar (caster) and a tbsp of water.
- Simmered for 5 minutes until the apples were soft and no longer wet. Allowed to cool.
- Stirred in 250g ricotta.
- Beat in 1 medium egg.
- Melted 100g unsalted butter in a large pan on low heat.
- Broke up a 100g bar 85% dark chocolate (G&B) and added to the pan.
- Added 200g dark muscavado sugar and stirred well until all smooth, then left to cool.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
- Stirred in 75g wholemeal spelt.
- Spooned half of the batter into a 9″ square mould, covered this with the cheese and apple mixture and then topped with the remaining batter.
- Dragged the end of a teaspoon through the mixture to try and swirl it a bit, but it stubbornly decided to stay a sandwich rather than have a marble effect.
- Baked in the middle of the oven at 180C for 25 minutes when the top had set but the middle remained slightly squidgy.
The chocolate gods must have been smiling on me because these turned out to be a fitting tribute to National Chocolate Week. They had a crusty sugar top, which turned deliciously chewy in a toffeish sort of way. They were soft in the middle and would serve equally well as a pudding eaten with a spoon. They retained their shape, however and could be eaten perfectly well using fingers, as CT can testify; I did have to shoo him away from the tin. The cheese was sandwiched elegantly in the middle and acted as a foil to the dark richness of the brownie. The 85% dark chocolate combined with the slight tartness of the apple, helped to counteract the sweetness, making for a very pleasant eating experience.
As these brownies contain local and very seasonal apples, I am entering this into Simple and in Season, guest hosted this month by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen.
I’m also entering this into Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays as it is all made from scratch – of course!
When Dom of Belleau Kitchen asked me to pick a number for his always exciting Random Recipes challenge, I was away from home and unable to follow his exact instructions – that’s my excuse anyway. So instead of counting my books, I picked my lucky number 17 instead. It seems that any blame for what you get sits on my shoulders this month – nice one Dom!
As Dom had honoured me by getting to pick the special number, I thought I really ought to try and do this challenge without cheating. NOT, I hasten to add, that I normally cheat; I’ve just interpreted the challenge to refer to my chocolate cook books only. But not this time, I was going to be intrepid and include all of my many cookbooks scattered around the house, open a page randomly and then take the first chocolate recipe that followed from the page I landed on. If, I reasoned, I got a book that had, god forbid, no chocolate recipes, I would move on to the next book.
Hoist by my own petard. No. 17 for me was Low-Carb Vegetarian by Celia Brooks Brown. Being a bit of a carb junkie, this book has been languishing on my shelves for many years largely unused. And what I got was something that sounded really quite strange – chocolate marzipan cheesecake. It doesn’t seem like an obvious match made in heaven, but I love marzipan, I love cheesecake, so why not?
CT also loves cheesecake and as he is going through a particularly tough time of it, I was hoping that this would be a welcome treat for him.
Reading through the recipe, I was rather dubious about a couple of things, both revolving around a loose-based cake tin. As some of you know, I’m a big fan of silcone moulds which has really made baking life sooooo much easier. I used to be put off by having to line tins, it just seemed one step too far. Now I don’t even think about it – not very often anyway. Cheesecake I felt really couldn’t be done in a silicone mould so I’d have to chance it using the stated tin. Firstly it didn’t say anything about greasing or lining the tin, so I hoped that only greasing it would be OK. Secondly, I was worried that the butter would just melt and leak out all over the oven. I did prepare for this eventuality by putting the tin on a baking tray just in case.
This is how I made my first ever baked cheesecake:
- Melted 50g unsalted butter in a medium sized pan.
- Added 100g ground almonds, 2 tbsp Rapadura (my chosen sweetener), a pinch of Himalayan pink salt and a couple of drops of almond extract.
- Mixed together than pressed down into a buttered 20″ round loose-based cake tin.
- Placed in the fridge to set.
- Melted 150g Green&Black’s dark 72% cooks’ chocolate in a bowl over hot water and left to cool a little.
- Threw 250g mascarpone, 250g cream cheese, 2 duck eggs and 6 level tbsp of Rapadura (my chosen sweetener) into a bowl and beat with electric beaters until all combined.
- Beat in the melted chocolate.
- Spooned the mixture over the marzipan and levelled the top.
- Baked at 150C for 50 minutes.
I was quite right, the butter leaked out all over the baking sheet. The top also cracked, not nice delicate cracks, but great fissures that really didn’t look very attractive. But it did come out of the tin without sticking too much and it was really quite delicious, in fact very delicious. The filling was smooth, creamy and comfortingly chocolatey. The base was chewy, slightly almondy and really rather nice. The two made for quite a delightful contrast and certainly didn’t detract from each other’s flavours. CT was very well pleased with it and it kept him going for some time.
And as this is the month of mad March baking and contains Marzipan and Mascarpone as main ingredients I am also submitting this to the second ever Alpha Bakes where the letter is M. This is hosted by Caroline Makes this month, but alternates with Ros of The more than occasional baker.