Monday, 14 July 2014
let's cook: cheesecakes
This instalment of our cooking challenge is dedicated to cheesecakes.
You can see our results above. My mum made the strawberry cheesecake on the left, and I made the blueberry one on the right. What a feast for the eyes they both turned out to be!
I enjoyed this challenge a lot. Browsing for recipes was a real pleasure, and when I stumbled across this purple delight shared by Kelly of sass & veracity I was sold.
I found the recipe a tad fiddly, as it was from a Scandinavian book and a lot of the ingredients were measured in volume rather than weight - it's tricky to know how much a litre of blueberries is! I was also feeding a couple of vegetarians so had to substitute the gelatine for a vegetarian alternative.
That meant I ended up changing some of the measurements so it was all a bit of a gamble, but it paid off I think! The cheesecake had a very light mousse-like consistency (possibly down to the gelatine), and I think it would make a great dessert for any summer dinnertime.
The reviews were pretty positive too, with the only downside being that the biscuit base was a bit on the soft side (I think this could be rectified by chilling the mixture a bit more before constructing the cake).
My mum wasn't entirely satisfied with her one. The base was a bit on the solid side, and ended up extremely hard to slice through. She reckons it looked better than it tasted, and unfortunately my dad (head judge) agreed.
So the scores are in:
I got awarded 9/10 with one point deducted for a soggy base.
My mum got a 6/10 from my dad - not a bad score!
I'd say that was a pretty successful one all round!
If you fancy making a purple cheesecake of your own, here's my adaptation of the recipe:
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(using a 23cm cake tin)
For the base:
200g digestive biscuits
80g melted butter (unsalted)
For the filling:
1 sachet vegetarian gelatine
500g cream cheese
300ml whipping cream
160g fine golden caster sugar
1½ tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Crush the biscuits into crumbs and mix with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a parchment-lined cake tin. The layer should be about 5mm thick.
Pour the water and most of the blueberries (save some to decorate the top!) into a saucepan. Squish the blueberries with a pestle or rolling pin and boil for a few minutes. The colour should now be a lovely deep purple.
Strain through a sieve to give a clear juice, and then pour the juice back into the pan.
Soak the vegetarian gelatine flakes in a little cold water to dissolve them a bit, then add to the blueberry juice and heat at a low temperature. Once it's all mixed in with the juice allow it to cool. Add the caster sugar to this mixture while it's still a little warm so that the sugar also dissolves.
Whip the cream, then mix with the cream cheese, vanilla sugar, lemon juice and finally the blueberry mixture.
Stir until the mixture becomes a nice even purple colour. I would then pop it in the fridge for a little bit (approx. half an hour) to cool the mixture down before adding to the biscuit base - hopefully this will avoid a soggy bottom.
Cover the base with the mixture and smooth over the surface with a spatula.
Keep refrigerated overnight (or for a minimum of 4 hours).
When you are ready, remove from the tin, decorate with the remaining blueberries, fresh mint and icing sugar. Then serve.
Next time the challenge is to make two different dips and some dipping sticks. Summer snacks.