Monday, 13 May 2013

Fat Bottomed Cheesecake

If truth be told I am not a big cheesecake fan. I think years of moussey, fluffy, soggy based concoctions at school are probably to blame. And can someone explain to me why the topping was always an odd green colour? My Mother-In-Law has worked tirelessly at trying to cure me of my cheesecake aversion. Her baked cheesecakes make a regular appearance at the banquets feasts meals when we visit. Usually alongside at least one other pudding. I have grown to truly like her cheesecake, and because I enjoy a challenge I have learnt to bake them too. Always baked. Always. Surely there is no other way? Though I was intrigued to recently read this recipe by Nigel Slater, my food hero. This cheesecake doesn't even get a whiff of baking. Dare I try it? I might have to simply because Nigel doesn't usually get it wrong. In the meantime, this is my basic cheesecake recipe:

What You Need:

For the base:

  • 90g digestive biscuits
  • 90g ginger nuts
  • 60g grape nuts (or just add 30g more ginger nuts and 30g more digestives)
  • 100g butter
  • A pinch of salt

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 600g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

For the soured cream topping:

  • 450ml soured cream
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

What You Do:

Make the base:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Crumb the biscuits in a food processor or by whacking them savagely with a rolling pin in a bag
  3. Mix with the grape nuts (if using). 
  4. Melt the butter, then add the biscuit crumbs and a pinch of salt and mix well.
  5. Firmly spread the crumbs over the base of a tall 20cm cake tin (spring form is best).
  6. Put this into the oven for 20 minutes while you make the cheesecake topping.

Make the cheesecake layer:

  1. Put the cheese into a large bowl and stir with a whisk to get rid of any lumps.
  2. Mix in the mascarpone cheese, cornflour, sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. Beat the eggs together, and then gradually add them to the mixture beating until the mixture is just smooth.
  4. Take the tin out of the oven and turn the oven down to 110C , you might like to keep the door open for a couple of minutes to help it to cool down more quickly.
  5. Pour the mixture onto the base, and gently shake it to level it. 
  6. Put it back into the oven on a baking tray and bake for about 80- 90 minutes, until it is set, but still slightly wobbly in the middle.
  7. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes, but turn the oven up to 180C.

Make the soured cream topping:

  1. While the cheesecake is cooling, stir together the soured cream, caster sugar and vanilla extract.
  2. Pour the soured cream topping over the cheesecake and bake it again for 10 minutes at this higher temperature.
  3. Then turn the oven off and open the door slightly to allow the cheesecake to cool completely inside before taking it out, removing from the tin and refrigerating.

All that is left after lunch.....

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Ginger Cake

I have a thing for stem ginger (with Greek yoghurt please), root ginger (in my green monster smoothie thank you), and ginger in general. Apparently it is very good for you. In which case, this cake is the healthiest thing I have ever made, and I really should a) make it more often and b) have a third second slice right now. It is based on Dan Lepard's Ginger and Honey Cake, but:
  1. I didn't have quite enough honey in the cupboard so used 200g honey, 50g golden syrup and 50g black treacle.
  2. I couldn't bring myself to chop up 400g of stem ginger (about 3 of those little jars!), so only used one which gave me 150g of gingery nuggets which I actually felt was more than enough.
  3. I forgot to add the grated stem ginger, but the cake was still delicious though I probably would try to be less forgetful next time.
This was a definite success - gingery, moist and obviously so, so good for you. My Mother-In-Law's ginger soup is the stuff of legends when anyone is feeling unwell in our family. I might have to add this cake to the 'feel better soon' list of things to cook.

Could there be a healthier cake?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Who Knew?

I have just made a cake full of glace cherries. And they have NOT sunk! Apparently, if you rinse the sticky little things, dry and lightly dust them in flour before stirring them into the mix they don't plummet to the bottom of the cake during cooking. The cake I have just made is this cherry and almond loaf by Nigella. It is simple and delicious, but it did need a lot longer in the oven (about 80 minutes in total) before it was ready. This meant covering the top with foil to stop it from browning too much after roughly 50 minutes. Just so you know.

Shockingly bad photo, but don't those cherries look good!