Monday, 25 June 2018

Bailey's Cheesecake

This year's Stour Music brings new puddings to the groaning table, and this Bailey's Cheesecake was particularly popular, even for people who (like me) don't actually like Bailey's!   I have a particular affection for an easy cheesecake, having been brought up on those impossible ones with lots of gelatine, whisked eggs and such flummery.   Having said that, I might blog my mother's blackcurrant one, just for the retro value. 

In the era of Magimixes, it is pointless trying to whisk cream separately and then incorporate it, so this is the simplest kind of all-in-one recipe, with a few extra touches to make it extra special. 

Bailey's Cheesecake

Bailey’s and Chocolate Cheesecake

8oz/225g digestive biscuits, crushed to crumbs (gluten free biscuits work well)
4oz/110g butter
4oz/110g dark chocolate

8oz/225g cream cheese or soft cheese (full fat)
8oz/225g Mascarpone cheese (or just more cream cheese)
3oz/75g icing sugar
10floz/280ml double cream
Baileys Irish Cream

2 sheets gelatine softened in water
5 floz/140ml Bailey’s Irish Cream
2oz/60g dark chocolate

Line the base of a 9” spring clip tin with parchment.   Melt the butter in a bowl, add the biscuit crumbs, mix well and spread them over the base of the tin.  Chill in the fridge until set.   Melt the chocolate and spread it over the chilled biscuits.  Allow to set.

In a Magimix, beat together the cream cheese, Mascarpone, icing sugar, cream and a glug of Baileys (unmeasurable, but you know what I mean).  Beat until the cream thickens up.  Scoop this mixture into the tin and level it.   Allow to chill for at least an hour.  Now take the gelatine and soften it in water.   Warm the Baileys to approx. blood heat before melting the gelatine into it – if it doesn’t dissolve, heat the Baileys a bit further).  Wait until the gelatine has started to cool and set, then pour it over the cheesecake.

Chill for a couple of hours until set.   

To make the chocolate scribble, melt the chocolate and pipe it onto baking parchment.  Chill in the fridge.  Simple designs work best. 

To remove from the tin, run a knife or thin spatula around the edge so that, when you remove the clip, the jelly layer does not break (nor do you lose a lot of the cheesecake on the sides of the tin, though that’s a cook’s bonus!).  If you can't remove the parchment, remember it is there when you cut into the cheesecake...

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Thyme Crème Caramel

This is a really delicious update on an old favourite!    I have been experimenting with various herbs, and thyme is extraordinary, as it goes really well with meat, but also with puddings and biscuits.  It has to be fresh, as little dried leaves don't work as a substitute.   When I made this one, I thought I'd overdone the caramel, but the slightly darker colour gave it more of a tang than usual.   Have you discovered the top tip for creme caramel?   When you have shaken the caramel out of the dish, microwave the dish to melt the rest of the caramel that sticks to the sides and pour it over the top (or keep it till later as the cook's perk!!).  This recipe quantity makes a good sized Crème - if you wanted a smaller one, look for one of my other recipes on the blog. 

Thyme Crème Caramel

Thyme-infused Crème Caramel

6 oz sugar
7.5 fl oz/220ml water

1 small bunch fresh thyme with extra to decorate
1.5 pints/880ml full fat or semi-skimmed milk
6 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 150 deg C and boil a kettle of water.   Get a soufflé dish or oven proof dish with a minimum base diameter of 9”/23cm ready.

In a small strong pan, boil the sugar and water until it forms a caramel – it goes bubbly and brown.  Take off the heat and gently pour it into the soufflé dish, using a heat-proof spatula to get the last delicious scrapings off the pan.   Swirl the dish around slowly while the caramel is setting to get an even coat, with some caramel up the sides.  Leave to get cold and hard.

Pour the milk into a non-stick pan.  Tie the thyme into a bunch so that it doesn’t fall apart, and add it to the milk.  Warm the milk to roughly blood heat, then pour onto the beaten eggs (and sugar).    Squeeze out the thyme, then stir the mixture thoroughly and strain it into the soufflé dish (this gets rid of those strange bits of egg white and any remaining leaves).  Put the dish into a baking tin and pour in enough boiling water to go half way up the side.   Bake for approx ¾ to1hr, until the caramel is set. 

Remove from the water, then put cling film on the top and refrigerate.  This is best left for at least 24hrs before unmoulding, as the caramel top gently merges into the cooked crème.  

To get it out of the dish successfully (!), run a palette knife round the edge, then put the receiving dish (one with at least 1” sides) on top of the soufflé dish.  Lift both dishes together and then turn them over in one movement.  There should be a gentle flop when the (hopefully undamaged) crème caramel slides onto the serving dish.    Add a sprinkling of thyme stalks.