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Tag Archives: vanilla paste

Red Wine, Pear and Almond Cake

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This is essentially an upside down pear cake. The recipe is based on Valli Little’s recipe from Delicious Home Cooking: http://shop.abc.net.au/products/delicious-home-cooking-hbk.

The recipe is very similar to my own Frangipane Tart: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/04/01/quirkys-frangipane-tart/

Ingredients

375 mls red wine
300 gms caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills ( I used cassia quills instead)
3 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
150 gms butter
3 free range eggs
75 gms plain flour
150 gms almond meal
1 1/2 tsps baking powder

Method

Place the red wine and 150 gms of the sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon/cassia and the pears, making sure all the pear slices are submerged in the red wine.

Cover the surface with a piece of baking paper cut to fit the pan. Cook for a minimum of 10 minutes or until the pears are tender.  I found that the pears needed 20 minutes or so to cook. You can cook the pears the day before, leaving them to steep in the poaching liquid for a richer, deeper flavour and colour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (less if your oven is fan forced – I suggest 160 degrees C). Grease a 22 cm springform tin.

Beat butter and remaining 150 gms sugar in a food processor until pale and well creamed.

Optional: 1 tsp almond essence and 1 tsp vanilla paste can be added to the creamed butter and sugar at this point for more depth of flavour.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour, almond meal and baking powder, by pulsing carefully.

Drain the pears, reserving the poaching liquid. Arrange the pears slices in the springform tin in a circular pattern, slightly overlapping. Spread over the cake batter, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover the top with foil to prevent burning.  When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Place your poaching liquid in a saucepan over medium high heat and cook for 6 – 10 minutes until reduced and syrupy.

Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Brush the warm cake with the poaching syrup, using a pastry brush. You can brush the cake with more syrup just before serving, if desired.

Serve with lashings of whipped cream, custard or ice-cream!

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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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