20 October 2016

How to Make The Easiest, Lushest Chocolate Dessert Ever!

I’ve been making (and selling) this for years almost beyond number!

Dark Chocolate Pots – makes 8


500ml double cream
80g soft light brown sugar
250g dark chocolate – coarsely chopped
2 eggs

~   Heat together the cream and sugar stirring till the sugar has dissolved.
~   Bring just to a boil and pour over the chocolate.
~   Whisk (or if you’ve chopped the chocolate in a food processor add the hot cream and re-process) till smooth.
~   Cool a few minutes.
~   Whisk or process in the eggs.
~   Pour into a jug and then into attractive dishes (ramekins, cups or pretty bowls) and chill till cold.

The chocolate pot will set but is still soft and idea for dipping goodies into such as wafers, biccies, fruit or even fingers.

chocolate-pot-recipe

Chocolate Pot Variations …


~   Vanilla – add a drip or two or a little vanilla paste together with the eggs.
~   Finely grated orange zest.
~   Finely chopped stem ginger and just a little of the syrup.
~   A little spirit or liqueur – I’m serious when I say “a little”, just a tablespoon because otherwise the finished chocolate pot will be too runny.
~   Add a little chilli syrup, recipe here, or use Lindt’s Excellence Chilli Dark Chocolate.
~   Melt a teaspoonful of coffee granules in with the cream and sugar.
~   Put a little something in the bottom of the dish (salted caramel sauce, raspberries, um … alcohol soaked fruit, etc) before pouring in the chocolate.
~   Add a topping but nothing too sweet or rich as that would be over doing it. Grated chocolate would be good or chopped toasted nuts, for instance.
~   Your go – let me know of any good ideas you have.

This is a lovely Christmas dessert as you can prepare it a day or two in advance and, as I said, it is so easy. 

In totally other news …

Lily's-house-book-review


I recently read such a good book ~ Lily’s House by Cassandra Parkin. The book was sent to me for review by the publishers, Legend Press but that is not why I am extolling it – I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Read my review and those of others here 






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8 October 2016

No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe ~ a very flexible doddle!

You may remember my mentioning that I am back in the kitchen (not mine, I mean professionally!) making the desserts for a rather foodie pub.  The aim is to have a choice of six or so desserts every day including, naturally, something (or even two somethings) chocolatey. Fruit crumbles are a given at this time of year, crème brulée of course is a no brainer and cheesecakes are always popular.

I have started using the same basic (or genius) recipe every time I make a cheesecake and it’s so easy maybe you’d like to start using it too!

Genius No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe


cheese-cake-in-a-glass
In the pub many of the desserts, cheesecake included, are served in a glass (assembled in advance) to make service much quicker.  This quantity makes enough for 6-8 glasses depending on their size or  one 23cm cheesecake.

NOTE:  Although I say “150g icing sugar” and “120ml something else” these are advisory. Both depend, to an extent, on what the “something else” is; if it’s sharp you might need more sugar, if sweet the opposite. Also when adding the something else please feel free to use your judgement, adding a little more or a little less to create a cheesecake exactly the texture you like it.

         
Base ...

250g crushed digestive biscuits
100g melted butter

Filling …

600g cream cheese at room temperature
approx. 150g icing sugar – sifted
approx.. 120ml something else – see below!

~   Mix together the digestive biscuits and melted butter then sprinkle over the base of a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin, press out into an even layer (or divide between your chosen glasses). Chill for half an hour or so to set.
~   Beat the cream cheese till smooth and creamy.
~   Add half the icing sugar spoonfully whisking in between additions.
~   The mixture will be rather thick so add the something else till a lovely creamy consistency.
~   Taste and add more sugar till delicious.
~   Spread evenly over the base or, if using glasses  
***, spoon or pipe into the glass.

*** By this I don’t mean you've been to Specsavers!

Something Else

The something else should be liquid in form such as a fruit coulis, syrup, coffee, fruit juice, possibly a spirit or liqueur or simply double cream. The addition will soften the mix to the right consistency. 

Here are some of the cheesecakes I have already made using this recipe …

“Plain” Vanilla Cheesecake


Add a drop or two of vanilla extract or the tip of a teaspoon of vanilla paste to the cream cheese plus double cream. This is lovely served with soft summer fruits.

vanilla-bean

cappuccino-cheesecake
Cappuccino Cheesecake

Beat in 30ml of cool espresso or double strength coffee (maybe a little Kahlua or Tia Maria) plus 90ml of double cream. Dust with cocoa to serve.


Orange, Lemon or Lime Cheesecake 


Add the finely grated zest and the juice of one orange, two lemons or three limes.  Depending on the size and juiciness of the fruit you may need to add a little cream till the cheesecake is the right consistency.
orange-lemon-lime-cheesecake

mango-lime-cheesecake

Mango & Lime Cheesecake


Add 100ml of mango purée and the juice and zest of one lime. (A pleasant addition to this is a little chilli syrup, the recipe is here , you’ll have to scroll down a bit.

banana-baileys-cheesecake
Banana & Baileys 

Peel and slice 3 ripe bananas and cook them in 30g butter together with 30g soft light brown sugar.  Cool and then beat into the cheesecake mix together with 25ml (or more if you like that sort of thing) of Baileys. Soften the mixture to your chosen consistency with double cream.


Rum and Coconut Cheesecake


Simply flavour the cream cheese with 60ml of rum and layer with toasted coconut. See here for a great way to radically improve on desiccated coconut.

rum-and-coconut-cheesecake

maple-pecan-cheesecake

Maple Syrup with Pecans


For this I use Clark’s Original Maple Syrup which is blended with carob fruit syrup; it is utterly delicious and cheaper than pure maple syrup.  Add the syrup to taste and layer the cheesecake with toasted pecans or, even better, sugared pecans – see here for how to make them replacing the walnuts with pecans.  A pleasant alternative cheesecake would be honey and sugared walnuts.


Strawberry or Raspberry Cheesecake


Add 120ml appropriate fruit coulis (recipe below). A bit of vanilla extract or paste would be a good addition to either of these or maybe some orange zest in the strawberry version. Top with some fresh fruit or more coulis.

summer-fruits

Fruit Coulis - another slight recipe!


        soft berries such as strawberries or raspberries
sugar (approximately
half the weight of the fruit)

~   Put the prepared fruit in a small saucepan.
~   Add the sugar to the fruit.
~   Simmer the fruit, helpfully giving it a squash now and then – you could add a dribble of water to encourage the sugar to melt if the fruit isn’t very juicy.
~   Strain through a fine nylon sieve pushing on the fruit debris to extract as much coulis as poss.
~   Cool, cover and chill till needed.


peach cheesecake


Peach Melba Cheesecake

Make raspberry cheesecake as above but add a layer of diced fresh peach in the middle of the cheesecake.  (Best to toss the peach in a little lemon juice and caster sugar first to make it sweeter, juicer and less prone to browning.)


Your Turn – let me know what you come up with, I might copy!
I do love a genius recipe, don’t you? Some basic flexible guidelines that can be varied to create exactly what you want.  Read more about genius recipes here. 

Baked Cheesecake, incidentally


Whilst on the subject of cheesecakes, baked cheesecakes are deeply wonderful, are they not?  I used to work for an American lady during one of my stints as Chef of the Tamarind Club who, although she was not much involved in the kitchen side of the business made a wicked New York Cheesecake with a deliciously different crust. 

The strange thing is that although I fancy myself as a good cook and even if she stood over me during the entire process of making her cheesecake the result whilst perfectly delicious and saleable  was never quite as good as hers!  If you fancy a try – here is the recipe.  Let me know how you get on.

Mary’s New York Cheesecake


“Leave all the ingredients out one hour and No More and No Less before making.”
Mary Granfeldt

Base …

60g butter
120g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling …

900g cream cheese
5 whole eggs plus 3 yolks
250g caster sugar
15g plain flour
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 heaping tablespoons sour cream

~   Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6.
~   Lightly grease a 23cm springform cake pan.
~   Manually mix together the ingredients for the base and sprinkle, every evenly, over the bottom of the pan.
~   Bake for 15 minutes.
~   Cool a little while making the filling …
~   Reduce the oven temperature to 120ºC/250°F/100ºC fan/gas ½.
~   Beat the cream cheese on medium till smooth and then one at a time add the eggs and the yolks and beat till smooth (again!).
~   Add the next three ingredients and beat in.
~   Add the sour cream and, still on medium, beat till fluffy which takes about a minute.
~   Pour onto the base and bake for 1¼ hours. 
~   Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and cool.
new-york-cheesecake







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