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Angel Food Cake With Berries and Berry Cream



Three months ago I had never made, or even eaten angel food cake. I’m not sure why I hadn’t come across this amazing cake – it is so delicious, and while not a doddle to make, is pretty easy once you have made it once and practised the techniques.

So the first angel food cake that I made was the first one that I ate! I love its sublime lightness, pillowy softness, and ability to be a fantastic vehicle for cream, fruit and sauces.

Angel food cake is notable because it contains no fat and no egg yolks. In fact, it’s basically egg whites, sugar and flour, with cream of tartar. It also needs to be cooked in a special angel food cake tin.

I did a heap of research online to find out how to bake this cake. There are several things you need to do for cake success:

*Acquire an angel food cake tin for a start, and learn how to use the tin.

The tin should be 25cm/10in in diameter.

*Don’t grease the tin!

*Cool the cake upside down, the tin being supported on its own legs.

*Treat your egg whites in the mixture with care. Whisk the egg whites until aerated and foamy but not dry. After adding the sugar, whisk into soft but not stiff peaks. The egg white mixture will continue to expand in the oven. Stiff peaks may deflate in the oven.

My recipe is developed from very helpful instructions from the Queen of Cakes, Mary Berry, link here and Sally’s Baking Addiction, link here. Both food writers explain the science of the angel food cake clearly with understandable instructions.

Angel food cake is best served with cream and fruit or a sauce. It would be tricky to ice the cake as it’s so delicate, so it’s usually served plain.

I served this particular cake with lots of strawberries and raspberries, and berry whipped cream – whipped cream mixed with some berry jam and then piped onto the cake in swirls.

An angelic dusting of icing sugar makes this a truly heavenly cake to eat!

Ingredients

Cake

125g plain flour

300g caster sugar

10 large free-range egg whites

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon salt

To serve

250mls whipping cream

1-2 tablespoons of any berry jam – strawberry, raspberry or blueberry, or a mixture

250g strawberries

250g raspberries

Icing sugar, to dust

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced, 180 degrees C non fan forced.  Make sure you have an oven shelf positioned in the lower third of the oven.

Sift the flour and salt and add to a food processor. Pulse them with 100g of the caster sugar. This will aerate the dry ingredients to help create a light cake texture.

Whisk the 10 egg whites in an electric stand mixer on a high speed for one minute until frothy. Add the lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until foamy peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Increase the speed, and add the remaining 200g of caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks. You will end up with a big volume of meringue mixture.

Sprinkle over one third of the flour/sugar mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Repeat with the next third of the mixture and then the last third. Be very careful to fold the flour/sugar mixture gently to keep as much air in the angel food mixture as possible.

Carefully spoon the mixture into an angel food cake tin. Do not grease the tin! There is a lot of mixture to get into the tin. Once in the tin, gently run a knife through the centre of the mixture to remove any pockets of air.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The cake should be pale brown and should have risen slightly. If the egg whites have been over beaten, or the mixture stirred too aggressively, the baked cake can sink.

Take out of the oven and turn the tin upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs on the bench top. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for at least an hour, two is ideal.

Once the cake is cool, run a knife around the outer edge of the cake tin, and also the inner edge around the centre insert, to remove it from the tin.

Turn the tin over and invert onto a plate. Remove the centre insert, and very carefully run a palette knife between the cake and the base of the tin to separate the cake from the base.  Being very careful, turn the cake right side up and place on a wire rack to cool.

Once cool, very delicately turn the cake right side up and place on a serving plate.

To serve:

Whip the cream until fairly stiff, but don’t overwhip or you’ll end up with butter! Put into a piping bag, and swirl your berry jam of choice into the cream. Pipe swirls or rosettes, if you’re being fancy, around the diameter of the cake.

Pile lots of strawberries and raspberries into the centre of the angel food cake.

Dust liberally with icing sugar over the whole cake.

 

 

 

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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Berry and Custard Chocolate Brownies

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This is a great recipe for chocolate brownies with a couple of twists. It’s based on Jamie Oliver’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Brownies from his lovely book of delights Comfort Food.

I loved the idea of this recipe with its peanut butter custard, but sadly had to forgo the peanut butter as the group I was baking for had some problems with nuts. I made the custard with just vanilla. It was fine – the custard gives a velvety smoothness to the brownies. The “jelly” in Jamie’s recipe is raspberry jam. This part of the recipe I did adhere to, but added fresh strawberries instead of raspberries.

The resulting brownie is very chocolatey, with its rough chunks of dark chocolate, soft with the custard and sweet and sharp with the berry tang. Recommended!

Ingredients

Custard
250ml semi-skimmed milk
1 vanilla pod
2 large free-range egg yolks
50g golden caster sugar (or raw sugar)
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour
20g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

Brownie mixture
230g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
250g dark chocolate + 50g extra for chocolate chunks in the brownie
230g golden caster sugar (or raw sugar)
4 large free-range eggs
150g plain flour
2 tbls raspberry jam
75g fresh berries (I used strawberries)

Method

To make the custard, put the milk into a pan, halve the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds, then add both pod and seeds to the pan and lightly simmer on the hob, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a bowl, use a balloon whisk to combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and soft butter. Whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot milk into the bowl, until combined. Return the custard mixture to the pan, place over a low heat and stir gently for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. Leave the custard to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. For the brownies, grease and line a deep baking tray (20cm x 30cm). Melt the butter in a non-stick pan on a very low heat, then snap up and add the chocolate. Stir regularly with a spatula until melted and combined, then remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Leave to cool slightly, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until silky. Sift in the flour and mix well.

Pour the chocolatey brownie mix into the prepared tray, then swirl through the chilled custard (discarding the vanilla pod). Roughly mix in the additional chocolate chunks. Erratically distribute little spoonfuls of jam over the surface, then poke in the fresh berries (any fresh seasonal berries that correspond with the jam you’re using). Bake for around 25 minutes, or until cooked on the outside but still a bit gooey in the middle. Leave to cool before cutting into portions.

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Double Chocolate Tart

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I call this Double Chocolate Tart as it has a rich dark biscuit pastry chocolate shell, filled with  – wait for it – dark and milk chocolate! So maybe it’s a triple chocolate tart?

This was our dessert for Easter Sunday lunch, on March 27. It’s rich, dense, bitter sweet and a little goes a long way.

I served the tart with strawberries, some of them chocolate dipped, and fresh figs, which in Sydney in our warm and sunny Autumn, are ripe and plentiful. And whipped cream, just to cut through the “chocolateyness”.

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Ingredients

For the pastry:

175g unsalted butter
75g icing sugar
2  free-range egg yolks
200g plain flour
50g dutch cocoa

For the filling:

150g milk chocolate
150g dark chocolate
400ml cream
2 free range eggs +1 egg yolk lightly beaten

To decorate:

Strawberries, dark chocolate, fresh figs, or any other fresh fruit of your choosing. Orange segments would be lovely!

Method

I make this pastry recipe in the food processor, but you could do it in an electric mixer or by hand. I use the food processor because it’s easy.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Cream the butter and icing sugar together in a food processor. Add the eggs and yolk and mix thoroughly. Sift the flour and cocoa. Have 25ml of cold water ready. Add a little of the water and all of the flour/cocoa mix and pulse using the processor, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add as much of the water as you need so that the pastry comes together into a ball. Remove from the processor, wrap in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a surface dusted with flour  until about 5mm thick. This pastry is quite soft and delicate, be gentle, and you may need a little extra flour for rolling out. Line a 18cm or 20cm loose-bottomed tin with a circle of baking paper. The smaller tin gives you a slightly higher filling, the bigger a flatter tart.

Carefully line the tin with the pastry. Have a bit of overhang of pastry at the top – you can trim this after baking. Chill for 30 minutes. Line the pastry case with more baking paper and baking beans or rice and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans and return the pastry case to the oven for 5 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin, then trim any pastry edges.

To make the filling, place both kinds of chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan on the stovetop and gently bring to a simmer. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes while the chocolate melts, then stir to make sure the chocolate and cream is combined.  Stir through the lightly beaten eggs, then pour the mixture into the tart shell.

Put into the oven, turn the temperature down to 140 degrees C. Bake for 1 hour or until the filling is just set and wobbles in the middle if you gently move the tin. The shallower the filling, the less time the tart will take. As with so much cooking, your cook’s judgment is needed here to know when the filling is just right!

Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin. Place in the fridge and chill for at least an hour. I made the chocolate tart the day before and chilled overnight. Bring the tart to room temperature before serving.

Serve with any fresh fruit you fancy. I dipped some strawberries in melted chocolate, and scattered these with fresh strawberries and fig quarters on the the top of the cake. A dollop of whipped cream looked good too.

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Cream Horns

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I love cream horns – an old fashioned treat, full of cream and a smattering of jam.

I wanted to recreate these retro treats, making them a little smaller than the original. I filled them with whipped cream and my homemade berry jam.

Using bought puff pastry and some cone shaped molds, it was really easy! While I agree that making your own puff pastry can be time consuming, I would encourage everyone to make their own jam. I made a quick jam in the time it took to shape and bake the horns, 20 minutes or so. That’s fast, and the beautiful mixed berry jam is so worth it!

And because I love the idea of a “cornucopia” – horn of plenty – I made a large puff pastry horn as well, filling it with berries. A pretty centre piece and you can eat the contents.

The recipe below makes 6 small horns.

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Ingredients

2 sheets of puff pastry partially thawed

Milk for brushing

Caster sugar for dusting

325 mls pure cream

1 quantity mixed berry jam (see recipe below*)

Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C fanforced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cut the sheets of puff pastry into 2cm wide strips. Spray the molds with non stick spray. Wind the strips of pastry around the mold, starting from the tip. Make sure there is a little overlap with each turn so that the mold is completely covered. It’s really easy to do, especially when the pastry is still cold. Try to get all the joints on the one side, but don’t worry too much, these horns are meant to look little rustic!

Place the horns join side down on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush with a little milk. Scatter the horns with a little caster sugar. This gives the horns a nice sugary crunch.

Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until the horns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool before gently sliding the horns from the molds.

Whip the cream until soft peak stage, but not stiff.

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Filling the horns

Spoon or pipe the cream into each horn. Carefully add a teaspoon of berry jam to the cream horn, swirling into the cream or just leaving as is.

Serve with mixed fresh berries and more jam and cream for that extra lusciousness…

*Mixed Berry Jam

Ingredients

250g mixed berries – I used raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

150g sugar

Juice of a lemon

Method

Place the berries in a saucepan and cover with the sugar. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon. Heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When all the sugar is dissolved, boil on a moderate heat until setting point is reached. Mush the berries, if still whole, into a jam like consistency. Take off the stove and allow to cool.

If you want to make the Cornucopia, that’s easy too. Make a cone shape, whatever size you like, using cardboard covered with baking paper. Wind strips of Pampas puff pastry around the mold until completely covered.

Bake on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes in a 200 degree C oven. Cool before removing the mold.

Fill with fruit, flowers or anything else that signifies abundance.

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Mixed Berry Muffins

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Lots of mixed berries make these muffins moist. I varied my usual recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook by adding some ground almonds to the dry ingredients. This gave the muffins a softer texture. Cooking the muffins in flexible silicon molds lined with muffin papers gave the muffins a nice high shape.

Ingredients – Base Mixture

1 and 1/4 cups plain flour + 1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi-carbonate soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
Demerara sugar for sprinkling on tops of muffins

Mixed Berries

3/4 cup fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced. Line 6 silicon muffin molds with muffin papers. If you don’t have these molds, use an ordinary muffin tin. If you use the muffin papers and three quarters fill them you will get 6 muffins.

Mix the dry ingredients for the base mixture with a spoon in a bowl until well combined.  In another bowl mix the oil, beaten egg and milk.

Gently fold in the mixed berries.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin papers.  Sprinkle the tops with a little demerara sugar for extra crunch. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Remove from the oven – eat  warm or cold.

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Chocolate Mousse Meringue Cake

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Chocolate Mousse Meringue Cake is basically a vacherin with a chocolate mousse filling. Two layers of meringue are sandwiched together with Nigella’s chocolate mousse, whipped cream and strawberries.  Not for the faint hearted, and definitely not for the diet conscious!

Meringues

Ingredients

6 egg whites
1.5 cup caster sugar
A few drops of vanilla essence
1/2tsp balsamic vinegar
3 heaped tbs cocoa or to taste
150g dark chocolate

Method

Preheat oven to 150degrees C (non fan forced).

Place a sheet of baking paper on each of 2 baking trays.
Roughly mark out a circle on each  – about the diameter of a dinner plate.
Spray lightly with non-stick spray.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff.
Gradually beat in sugar, continue beating until very stiff.
Stir in vanilla and vinegar, then stir in cocoa and chopped chocolate.
Spoon onto paper circles.
Place baking trays in centre of oven.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Turn oven off, leave in oven with door ajar for further hour.

Chocolate Mousse

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/instant-chocolate-mousse-4

When meringues are completely cool, carefully remove from baking paper.
Place 1 meringue with flat side facing up on a plate.
Spoon chocolate mousse onto meringue, top with cut strawberries and then whipped cream.
Place second meringue on top, flat side down.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Decorate with fresh berries and sprinkled chocolate as desired.

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Roast Peaches and Strawberries with Macadamia and Almond Crumble

IMG_7129A great summer pudding that you can whip up at a moment’s notice particularly if you make  the crumble mix in advance and keep it in the freezer. The crumble recipe is also fantastic as a biscuit/cookie, even if the crumble pieces are very rustic!

This dessert is essentially my Deconstructed Crumble recipe:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/08/05/deconstructed-caramelised-quince-crumble/

Ingredients

3 large yellow peaches
A handful of strawberries
3 tbls caster sugar
1 tbls butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Crumble
100 gms plain flour
75 gms  butter at room temperature
Pinch of salt
50 gms dark brown sugar
25 gms golden syrup
50 gms rolled oats
20 gms chopped macadamias and almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Cut peaches in half and remove the stones. Place in a baking dish with the whole strawberries, sugar, butter and lemon juice. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until peaches are soft and the strawberries are mushy. Remove from oven to cool.

For the crumble, increase the oven temperature to 175 degrees C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place the flour, butter, salt and sugar into a bowl, and rub the butter into the other ingredients until the mixture forms coarse breadcrumbs.
Place mixture into the bowl of a food processor, add golden syrup, oats and chopped nuts, and pulse gently to combine.
Turn out the crumble mixture onto the lined baking tray, spread the mixture evenly and bake the crumble for 15-20 minutes, stirring once during the cooking time, until the crumble is toasted.
Remove from oven, and when cool, break up any large pieces. It’s important to have a combination of small and large crumble pieces. You can use the crumble as is or freeze it and it keeps for ages!

Place the baked fruit on a plate with as much or as little crumble as you like! Serve with cream, creme fraiche, sour cream or ice cream and the syrupy pan juices. Yummy!

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Christmas Day Trifle

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This is my traditional dessert for a cold Christmas lunch on what is usually a hot Australian Christmas day. The day, this year, 2013, was a little cooler than usual, but the trifle was well received as a “lighter” offering after our numerous savoury courses.

The photos are of the large trifle and a smaller one I also made.

This is a rough method for the making of the trifle rather than a recipe!

My version of trifle consists of butter cake, broken into chunks, which line a glass bowl. The cake is then soaked in Grand Marnier  – any sweet liqueur would work well.

Layer some raspberry jelly over the cake, followed by “real” custard, a good recipe from Jamie Oliver for which is written below.

Leave to chill in the fridge for a few hours. Spoon whipped cream over the trifle, and top with fresh strawberries or other berries.

Leave in the fridge for several hours, up to a day, for the flavours to meld.

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Custard
Adapted from “Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook” by Jamie Oliver

Ingredients
500 ml whole milk
500 m heavy cream
6 tbls sugar
1 vanilla bean, scored lengthways
8 large free range egg yolks

Method
Mix cream, milk, and four tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat.
Scrape out all the seeds in the vanilla bean into the saucepan, including the bean.
Stir with a wooden spoon until it boils and then turn off the heat.
Let it sit for a few minutes to let the vanilla infuse with the cream and milk mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar until pale yellow in colour.
Remove the bean from the saucepan and slowly add one ladle of the cream mixture to the  yolks while whisking them together.
Keep whisking and slowly add a couple more ladles.
Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with cream and milk and stir with a wooden spoon under medium heat.
As the eggs cook, the custard will thicken in several minutes. It is thick enough if it coats the back of the wooden spoon.
Chill the custard before pouring over the jelly and cake.

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Baked Cheesecake with a Sour Cream Topping

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This is a baked cheese cake and was first made by one of Quirky’s siblings, a very good if somewhat infrequent cook. The recipe hails from the Sydney County Council in the 1960s.

This version comes from a handwritten recipe from a family cookbook. I have left the measurements in Imperial, as this rather adds to the charm of the recipe. They can be easily converted.

I would suggest using vanilla extract or vanilla paste, and would also recommend the use of a food processor.

Ingredients

Crumb Crust
I/2 lb plain sweet biscuits
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
3 oz butter

Cream Cheese Filling
1 lb cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 eggs

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

Method

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

Press firmly into greased 8″ springform tin bringing mixture within 1/2 ‘ from the top of the tin.

Put cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Pour mixture into uncooked crumb crust and bake in a moderate oven at 180 degrees 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.

Decoration

Decorate with sugar frosted fresh fruit and chocolate leaves. I used cherries, strawberries and black grapes for this particular birthday cheesecake. To make the sugar frosted fruit, coat fruit in lightly beaten egg white then dip in caster sugar.

To make the chocolate leaves, dip camellia leaves in melted dark chocolate, leave to set in the fridge, then gently peel away the leaves leaving the chocolate imprint intact.

Serves 10 -12.

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