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.
Beetroot is like marmite, you either love it or hate it. Are you a beetroot lover or hater? We’ve got one of each in our household. This easy roasted beetroot galette taken from the new edition of Higgidy: The Cookbook is a bit of a miracle. It was so delicious even beetroot hating CT liked it. Read on for the recipe, a review and an opportunity to win a copy of the book. Hang on, make that two.
September is a month of abundance, or at least it is in my mother’s garden this year. We went foraging there a few days ago to see what we could find. As well as gathering lots of windfall apples, a big bowl of blackberries, some plums and a few blueberries, we came home with four ripe figs.
Some may call this chocolate summer fruit tiramisu a trifle. But whatever you want to call it, it’s delicious and perfect for feeding a crowd. Think chocolate sponge, layered with caramelised nectarines and other summer fruit then topped with whipped cream? Who could resist?
Light spongy cupcakes made with wild blueberry jam. They’re topped with white chocolate and mascarpone which is flavoured and coloured with bilberry powder. These wild blueberry cupcakes are worth making for the colour alone, but bilberries do have quite a few health benefits too.
Not being especially thrilled by my chocolate and cheddar biscuits (cheecolates), I thought I’d have another attempt at a chocolate and cheese combination for this month’s We Should Cocoa. This time, I took a slightly safer route by going for a tart with a mascarpone and fruit curd filling. The curd in question was some apple and lemon curd I’d recently made to which I’ve become rather addicted – it is so delicious. The bit that was slightly risky was making pastry with an egg white. I’ve never done this before and nor had anyone else according to google. But I had an egg white lurking in the fridge from making the biscuits and I didn’t want it lurking there anymore. The chocolate addition, I took from my surprise cheesecake and made these three layered tarts.
This is what I did:
- Rubbed 40g unsalted butter into 100g flour (half wholemeal, half white) and 20g cardamom sugar (caster) until the mixture resembled bread crumbs.
- Added the egg white and a splash of water and mixed with a knife.
- Bought the mixture together to form a dough.
- Being too impatient to hang around (to my cost), rolled the dough out thinly and cut circles just big enough to fill a 9 cm tart case.
- Pressed the pastry circles into 4 buttered tart tins & trimmed the tops with a knife.
- Reformed the remaining pastry into a ball and rolled into a circle.
- Shaped into a freeform pastry case & placed on a baking tray with the other tarts.
- Pricked the bottoms in several places with a fork.
- Baked for 10 minutes at 180C then left to cool. Oh dear the pastry had shrunk hugely – my own fault for not putting it into the fridge before rolling probably.
- Removed the pastry from the tins.
- Melted 50g milk chocolate (Green&Blacks 37%) in a glass bowl over a pan of not quite simmering water.
- Left to cool a little.
- Spread a couple of teaspoons or so of chocolate around the bases of the tart cases.
- Mixed 125g mascarpone cheese with 3 tbsp of lemon and apple curd.
- Divided this mixture between the 5 tarts.
- Sprinkled the tops with grated dark chocolate (Green&Blacks 70%).
The pastry, I was pleased to find, worked well – apart from the shrinkage). It was easy to roll, which always gets lots of points in my book and being rather plain, offset the richness of the filling nicely. I now have another use for left over egg whites. CT pronounced these delicious, but I was disappointed by the pastry shrinkage and didn’t think the pastry worked as well as the shortbread I’d used for the lime curd mascarpone tarts I made last year. Nor did they look as striking. However, I was quite happy to polish off my share of the tarts and they didn’t last long. The chocolate layer gave a pleasant surprise snap to the experience as our teeth sank in.
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.
A take on Dan Lepard’s coconut milk layer cake. It’s not overwhelmingly coconutty by any means, but it is delicious. I guess that’s not surprising with the addition of rum, mascarpone and lemon curd.
Three weeks late in the posting this one!
I had strawberries, I had mascarpone, I had two little heart shaped cake moulds to use and I was in the mood for pink. It was also going to be my initial stab at We Should Cocoa and given that I wasn’t very happy with my Fairy Cakes, I might be naughty and put this one in too. For the cake I used the recipe from Baked & Delicious that came with these moulds. For the Strawberry Cream, I threw a few delicious ingredients together which I thought would work well – and they did.
This is what I did:
- Creamed 50g unsalted butter with 50g molasses sugar until pale.
- Beat in 1 small duck egg and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract.
- Sifted in 100g wholemeal spelt, 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1.5 tbsp of cocoa.
- Mixed this in with 2 tbsp milk.
- Divided the mixture between 2 xxxx heart shaped moulds and baked at 180C for 12 mins.
- Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Blitzed some strawberries with a little caster sugar until I had a smooth red sauce.
- Whisked a bit of double cream until soft peaks formed, then whisked in some of the strawberry sauce.
- Beat some mascarpone with some of the strawberry sauce until well incorporated and slightly runny.
- Whisked this into the double cream until it was firm enough to spread over the cakes and stay put.
- Spread strawberry cream over one cake, laid the other one on top and covered with some more of the strawberry cream. Quartered two strawberries and placed these on top of the cake – hoping this might look a little more elegant than the Fol-de-rol (I haven’t forgotten that comment Dom).
- Tried not to polish off the rest of the cream – there was quite a bit left over!
In retrospect I would have used a little more mixture to make for a taller cake, so 75g of butter, sugar and flour and a large egg, but otherwise I was very happy with this. CT was happier still as he wasn’t expecting such a show of affection. The strawberry mascarpone cream was sooooo delicious – it was surprisingly light as well as creamy and tasted a bit like Angel Delight, only not as artificial and not as sweet. A sure fire winner I will be making again.
Short and sweet these not so jammy dodgers are a real delight. Also known as Anglesey cakes, they’re shortbread biscuits filled with a layer of jam. Or, in this case, a hazelnut mascarpone spread. Although there are some jam ones too.