Archives for posts with tag: cheesecake

I can’t believe we are in the home stretch to 2013. 2012 has passed way too fast for my liking. Looking back through the photos which have documented this year, I haven’t been baking or blogging about baking nearly enough.

And though this has been a recurring sentiment, I’m getting back in the proverbial (blogging) saddle. Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. There’s going to be a whole lot of baking, eating, sharing and best of all a big trip to the motherland.

Stay with me, dear readers… but in the meantime, here’s a taste of what went on in the downtime:

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge in honor of the Diamond Jubilee. Recipe from Primrose Bakery Baking Book, although I used fresh strawberries in place of jam and Earl Grey/Lemon whipping cream. This was my first go at the traditional British cake. I was happy with the way it turned out and will most likely bake it again when tradition calls.

Hepburns

My baking book of the year is definitely ‘Baked In America‘ – maybe it’s because I’m American, but mostly because this is one AMAZING baking book. Recipes from this book are featured many times throughout the blog in 2012 and will continue to be featured in the future. One day I’ll finally make it to Chiswick to Outsider Tart and hopefully meet my baking heroes – the two Davids.

The brownies above are called Hepburns (Kate, rather than Audrey) and probably the best brownie recipe around. They make ideal treats for any occasion – school fetes, birthdays or general parties.

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake brownies

Brownie tower

These Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Brownies were made especially for my mother in law’s un-birthday party. As her party food was served buffet-style, I wanted to make a special desserty treat that attendees could eat as little or as much as they like. So these brownies were cut into 1.5 in squares and served on cake stands mixed with the Hepburns featured above.

Orange polenta cake

Another series of books which have inspired breakfasts, dinners and baking alike are the Leon books. The Orange Polenta Cake is from Leon – Baking & Puddings, book three, as featured in the ‘Teatime’ section. This cake is an ideal accompaniment to Earl Grey tea and also gluten-free!

Trish's Two Cents

Martin has been working on building a set of speakers over at his dad’s house. I like to take a baked treat when we go over. One weekend in September, Trish’s Two-Cents from Baked In America caught my eye and I had to give it a go. This is the best ‘pound-cake’ type cake I have ever had. It is definitely going to be in regular rotation for when cakes are called for.

Pumpkin pie

And last, but not least, in the baking recap is Pumpkin Pie. This is a recipe traditionally served at Thanksgiving, in fact was featured in my Thanksgiving blog post from 2011, but I am not celebrating Thanksgiving this year so it was moved to Bonfire Night. While this recipe is from the back of a Libbys can, it is home-made with love and reminds me of autumnal days past.

Watch this space for Christmas treats to come soon…

There’s so much to catch up on! Feb has been a VERY hectic month. And by hectic, I mean I didn’t even get a chance to enjoy a baking/cooking project since Valentine’s day. Thankfully, it’s now March and I have been able to slow down a bit and get back in the kitchen.

I love entertaining and throwing dinner parties, so whenever my husband’s family from Canada come to town I always make sure we put on a good spread.  This time we went with Tex-Mex for the meal – serving carnitas, black beans, fresh salsa, mexican rice, corn salad and homemade tortillas.  To follow, I thought a cheesecake would be the perfect foil.

I recently purchased a new baking book called ‘Baked in America‘.  If you didn’t know already, I am an American living in the UK.  This book is written by two Americans living in the UK. Perfect!  I am smitten with this book and am going to try out as many recipes from it as possible. But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s start with the first one. Enter the clotted cream cheesecake.

This was the second time I have ever attempted to make a cheesecake and I was pretty pleased with the results.  I poured over the cheesecake chapter taking in all of the two Davids’ tips and recommendations. So, here’s how it went:

I used a springform tin, as you do with a cheesecake, but I wrapped the bottom with foil to make it easier to remove the base to serve. This was a great tip from the book. Also, the cheesecakes I grew up with had a graham cracker crust. It’s difficult to find graham crackers in the UK and when you do find them, they are like £7 a box in specialty shops like Selfridges Food Hall. Anyway, digestives are the next best alternative, but mixing brown sugar into the digestive and butter mixture makes the crust taste like graham crackers. Top work, sirs!

digestive biscuit crust

There is a lot of cream in this cheesecake recipe. Don’t be afraid…

cheesecake ingredients

mixing it up

I don’t know the difference between a baked cheesecake and a non baked cheesecake. I suppose since I lived in New York, I am more partial to a New York Style cheesecake, which is baked in the oven.

in the oven

The cheesecake looked like a souffle when it came out of the oven.

Souffle pouffe

And then looked like an alien when it cooled. It has a rustic look, which went well with the Tex Mex fiesta.

cooled cheesecake

And once it was sliced, it didn’t matter what it looked like because the texture inside was perfect.

slice of cheesecake

There was nothing left on anyone’s plate.

cleared plate

This cheesecake serves 12 people easy. There were six of us and we sent our guests home with a second helping each.

Cheesecake vultures

This cheesecake recipe will definitely be in high rotation when it comes to desserts. The clotted cream added a flavour and texture that reminded us of ice cream from Cornwall. Since this recipe came out so well, I cannot wait to get started on my next baking adventure out of Baked In America. I just hope it doesn’t make me miss back home too much.

When I was asked to review Total Greek Yoghurt, this was the first recipe that came to mind. Nigel Slater’s (Pistachio) Yoghurt Cheesecake. I’ve made it a few times and every time it just gets better.

Cheesecake ingredients

As I am on a health kick at the moment, I cut out the pistachios to save a few calories and pennies at the same time. In my opinion, you don’t miss the nuts. This recipe was originally printed in the Guardian as part of a spring menu, but here’s my version:

Yoghurt Cheesecake
Serves 8

What you’ll need:
20 cm pie or cake tin

Biscuit base:
10 digestive biscuits
50 g butter (melted)

Cheesecake filling:
75g butter
75g golden caster sugar
500g mascarpone
2 egg yolks
6 heaped tbsp Total Greek Yoghurt*
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
30g sultanas (or dried cherries) – chopped
50g ready to eat dried figs – finely chopped

Crunch up biscuits until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in biscuit. Tip into 20 cm pie or cake pan and press down lightly. Refrigerate while you prepare the cheesecake filling.

biscuits crunched

With a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the mascarpone, egg yolks and yoghurt. Stir in vanilla extract.
With a large spoon, fold in the chopped figs and sultanas until well mixed.
Tip filling onto refrigerated biscuit base and smooth out. This is not meant to be perfectly flat like a baked cheesecake, but more like a creamy topped pie.

Folding fruit
Filling Cheesecake

Finished cheesecake

You can either serve immediately as a pudding or leave to stiffen in the refrigerator overnight.

Dig in

This is an amazing healthy option for traditional cheesecake. You won’t need a topping or coulis. It’s just clean tasty goodness. I can’t wait to dig in.

* I am reviewing Total Greek Yoghurt in a series of posts over the next week. I am not being paid to do so, but have been sent the yoghurt free of charge from Total. These views are my own. *

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