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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Summer Fruits Celebration Cheesecake

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230B2880-DC61-4C1A-9967-B46A8C4CFF36It’s Australia Day 2018. On a hot and humid Friday, I’m off to Palm Beach for a lunch with my friends the Architect and the Delegator.

Australia day is the last of the summer holidays: 26 January, a day for family and friends to have a barbecue or go to the beach.

There is much discussion in our country at the moment about the timing and relevance of this day.  Whatever one’s views, it was lovely to catch up with old and dear friends in the beautiful  environs of the northern beaches.

The Delegator requested I make a desert!  So thought I’d make a cheesecake which celebrated the wonderful summer fruits which are so plentiful in our markets.

The cheesecake is my go-to recipe from a 1960s family recipe, blogged here before. So here is the cheesecake with its “celebration of summer fruits” theme. I made a passionfruit curd as a topping, then scattered summer fruits, crystallised ginger and some white chocolate over the cake.

Ingredients

Crumb Crust
230g sweet biscuits (half plain, half ginger nut)
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
85g butter

Cream Cheese Filling
500g cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 free-range eggs

Topping
1 carton (280ml) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
1 level tablespoon sugar

Passionfruit curd
4 tbls sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Pulp of 3 passionfruit
2 free-range egg yolks
2 tbls butter

Summer fruits – pawpaw, passionfruit, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries

Crystallised ginger

White chocolate

Method

Crush biscuits very finely in a food processor and add the nutmeg and cinnamon. Melt butter in a saucepan, remove from heat and quickly stir in biscuit crumbs.

Press firmly into greased 22cm springform tin* bringing mixture at least half way up the sides of the tin.

Put cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in the food processor and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whizzing after each addition.

Pour mixture into uncooked crumb crust and bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

Beat together the topping ingredients and pour over hot cheesecake. Return to oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool, then store in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

For the passionfruit curd,  place all the ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all the ingredients are amalgamated and the sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Put aside to cool.

To assemble the cheesecake, spoon the cooled passionfruit could over the cheesecake. Scatter the fruit haphazardly or with a design. Slice the crystallised ginger, and scatter this over the cake too. Finish by shaving some white chocolate over the whole cake.

I don’t think the cheesecake needs more adornment, but you could serve it with a little cream or some Greek yoghurt.

 

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Caramelised Pineapple Pancakes + Blueberry Pancakes

 

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F7E778F7-91E2-4273-B632-FE2BE836C51CHere are two fantastic recipes for pancakes using the same basic batter.

Both  pancake batters have no refined sugar!

The  intense sweetness of the pineapple pancakes comes from cooking the pineapple in a frying pan until caramelised and luscious.  The blueberry pancakes are served with a little golden syrup to provide a sweet contrast to the slightly tart blueberries.

These pancakes are a riff from Jamie Oliver’s Pineapple Pancake Mess from his “Super Food Classics”, see here for Jamie’s original recipe. I was keen to cook a recipe using pineapple – so many in the markets now, at the height of Sydney summer.

My two versions are fairly simple in flavours, with vanilla and cinnamon in the batter. Both are served with fruit and natural yoghurt.

BBA44659-A97C-4F2E-A66D-79DABC801A1AIngredients

Pancake Batter
150g plain wholemeal flour
30g self-raising flour
300ml semi-skimmed milk
1 large free-range egg
1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
Vegetable oil for the frying pan

For the Pineapple Pancakes
1 ripe pineapple
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
20g or a handful of macadamias lightly crushed

For the Blueberry Pancakes
1 punnet (200g) fresh blueberries
2 tbsp natural Greek yoghurt
1 tbs golden syrup

Method – Pineapple Pancakes

Make the batter first and let it stand while you cook the pineapple.

Mix the flour, milk, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt together, in a blender or by hand. It’s pretty simple to just mix by hand which is what I did.

Cut the ends off the pineapple, then the skin, quarter it lengthways and cut away the core. Chop the flesh into 1cm pieces.

Put the pineapple pieces into a frying pan on a medium high heat, and cook the pineapple for 5 to 10 minutes, or until caramelized, turning regularly, then remove to a plate.

For the pancakes themselves, use half of the batter.

Drizzle a little oil into a frying pan on a medium heat, tipping out any excess. You just to make sure the pancake don’t stick.

Add a couple of tablespoons of batter to the frying pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the top of the pancake, then turn and cook on the other side until golden brown. Remove to a plate while you make the rest of the pancakes.

Repeat the process, stacking up the pancakes as you go and covering with foil to keep warm.

Serve the pancakes layered with the caramelised  pineapple pieces, with natural yoghurt, crushed macadamias and a drizzle of the pineapple juices.

Method – Blueberry Pancakes

Add half of the blueberries to the other half of the batter, stirring them in. You can keep them whole or crush a few into the batter.

Cook the batter as for the pineapple pancakes. They may need a little longer on each side as they are quite moist.

Serve the pancakes with the rest of the blueberries, the natural yoghurt and a little golden syrup.

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Nigella’s Italian Christmas Pudding Cake

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This is a fabulous cake I made as part of the recent Christmas and New Year festivities. It’s a relatively simple cake to make, as there’s no baking required rather an assembly of different luscious elements.

It’s a kind of “tiramisu meets trifle”! Layers of liqueur soaked panettone are interspersed with a mascarpone/ cream/egg/sugar/liqueur mixture with glacé fruit, chocolate and pistachios added.

I made a couple of alterations to the original recipe. I soaked the panettone in Cointreau as the specified Tuaca liqueur is hard to obtain.  As I was unable to source marrons glacés (candied chestnuts), I used glacé ginger instead.

The other recipe alteration was entirely accidental – the recipe asks for Marsala to flavour the mascarpone mixture. I inadvertently grabbed a bottle of coffee liqueur and used this instead. A happy accident as it turned out as the cake now had a real tiramisu flavour!

The link to Nigella’s recipe is here for the original version.

A couple of points. I think finely chopped chocolate is preferable to chocolate chips as these are a little too crunchy in the cake. The other thing to take note of, is not to overbeat the mixture when you add the mascarpone as mascarpone can easily curdle as I found out to my cost!

Here is the recipe as I made it.

Ingredients

625 grams panettone (approximately)
6 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
2 large free-range eggs at room temperature
75 gms caster sugar
500 gms mascarpone cheese
250 mls cream
125 mls coffee liqueur
75 gms glacé ginger
125 gms chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
100 gms pistachios chopped
Pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate

Method

Using a serrated knife, cut the panettone roughly into 1cm slices, then use about a third of these to line the bottom of a 22cm springform cake tin. Tear off pieces to fit so that there are no gaps.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of  the orange liqueur over the panettone.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until very frothy and increased in volume and lightness.

Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and double cream, then gradually whisk in the coffee liqueur and whisk until the mixture is thick and spreadable. If you stop every so often you can gauge how thick the mixture is and whether you are in danger of overbeating.

Remove 250ml or a cup of the mixture to a bowl, cover and put in the fridge, for the top layer of the cake.

Chop the glacé ginger into small pieces and then add to the rest of the mascarpone cream mixture.  Then add 100gms of the chocolate chips and 75gms of the chopped pistachios, and fold both into the mixture.

Spoon half of the mixture on top of the panettone layer in the cake tin. Put another third of the panettone slices over the cream filling, again making sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle with another 2 tablespoons of liqueur.

Spoon the other half of the cream mixture onto to the panettone. Top with the final layer of panettone, leaving no gaps and sprinkle over the last 2 tablespoons of liqueur.

Cover the cake tightly with clingfilm, pressing down on the top a little, and put in the fridge for at least overnight.

To serve, take the cake out of the fridge, unmould it and sit it on a flat plate or cake stand, then spread with the reserved mascarpone mixture. Definitely don’t try to lift the cake off the base, as the cake is too soft and moist to remove.

Scatter the top of the cake with the remaining chocolate chips and chopped pistachios and the pomegranate seeds. The cake will look a little rustic around the sides but this is part of its charm!

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