RSS Feed

August, 2015

  1. Baked cheesecake

    August 29, 2015 by sarah

    I never used to like cheesecake. I used to find it dense and cloying in the mouth and far too heavy to end a meal. But when we were on the Isle of Wight at Easter time, I tried a baked cheesecake in the local pub and it was sublime; rich but not dense, smooth and creamy. I knew I had to try making this myself.

























    I actually made this cheesecake over a month ago, but low and behold what was on Great British Bake Off this week; baked cheesecakes! I would like to think that mine would have done well against the other contestants. I was certainly please about how it turned out. I have been converted to the joys of baked cheesecake and I hope you are too!


    Baked Caramel Cheesecake

    Serves 12-14

    Many alternative recipes separate the eggs, whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them in at the end. This probably gives a lighter resulting cheesecake.

    250g ginger snap biscuits, crushed to fine crumbs
    125g butter, melted

    750g full fat cream cheese
    150ml sour cream
    150ml double cream
    200g caster sugar
    2 tablespoons corn flour
    4 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    a 400g tin of caramel e.g. Nestle Carnation, I used dulche de leche

    Mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter. Press into a 24cm spring-form pan. Put in the fridge for at least half an hour to set.

    Preheat oven to 170 °C/150 °C fan.

    In a large bowl, mix the sugar, corn flour and salt then beat in the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, beat the double cream until soft whipped and then fold this into the mixture too.

    Pour half the cream cheese mixture over the prepared biscuit base. Top with caramel – caramel tends to be thick so just glop small lumps dotted over the top and then use a knife to swirl it through. Pour over the remaining cream cheese mixture.

    Place on a baking tray and cook for 1 to 1 and half hours until the cheesecake is golden brown on top and just set (slight wobble still). Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and pop back in the oven. Turn the oven off, prop the door slightly ajar and leave the cheesecake to sit for another 2 hours at least; overnight is fine. Unmold from the spring-form pan and place in the fridge for another few hours until set. Spread some more caramel over the top and the cheesecake is ready to serve!


  2. Chocolate Caramels

    August 23, 2015 by sarah

    When we were in Paris, which seems a life time ago even though it was only three months hence, I bought some Breton caramels from a posh Parisian shop. I was disappointed in them to tell the truth. All I could taste was sugar, and yes, the ingredients do contain sugar but they should also be buttery and creamy. Also they were crumbly like fudge, instead of smooth and almost chewy like a caramel should be. Only one thing for it; to make them myself. Which is what I did a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I forgot to take any decent photographs of them before they got devoured so you will just have to take my word for it as to how good they were. And the people at the Tea Party; they got to try them. They were so moreish that just one was not enough.























    I used a combination of recipes from this blog and my ‘Patisserie Maison’ book by Richard Bertinet, a Christmas present from my Mother. A sugar thermometer is a must for this recipe. Use the best possible ingredients you can afford because you taste it all; I splashed out on proper French 40% crème fraîche and butter from Waitrose.

    Chocolate Caramels

    125g food quality chocolate, chopped
    100ml double cream
    100g crème fraîche
    200g caster sugar
    75ml water
    150ml liquid glucose (you can use light corn syrup if you are in the USA, or golden syrup)
    25g salted butter
    1 teaspoon sea salt

    Line a 8-9 inch (20-23cm) square pan with baking parchment.

    Heat the double cream and crème fraîche in a medium pan until just coming to the boil and the crème fraîche has melted. Remove from the heat but keep warm.

    In a separate pan with a heavy bottom, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved; then bring to the boil without stirring and add the glucose syrup. Simmer until the mixture is thick and syrupy; this took me about 15-20 minutes.

    Take off the heat and stir in the butter and the cream mixture. Put back on the heat and stir continuously and monitor the temperature until you reach 120 ºC. Take off the heat and stir in the chocolate and sea salt, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

    Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and leave until completely cool. Slice the caramel into squares and wrap individually in cellophane or parchment paper. They will easily keep for up to a month in a sealed container in the fridge.

























    Update 22/9/17 – recipe for a 8″ x 8″ pan to give a good even depth for dipping. Also cut in to 25mm x 25mm squares so this recipes gives 64.

    155g chocolate
    125ml double cream
    125g creme fraiche
    250g caster sugar
    95ml water
    185g liquid glucose
    30g salted butter
    1 teaspoon sea salt, ground in pestle and mortar

    These won first prize in the Wigginton Show this year!

  3. Tea Party Time!

    August 19, 2015 by sarah

    I have only just realised that it is a month since I posted anything on my blog – shame on me! But I have a couple of very good reasons. Firstly I have been concentrating on getting course work for my certificate completed, though I have to admit I am still behind on this. Secondly, I have been busy getting ready for a tea party I hosted at the weekend, to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. I couldn’t believe how much organisation and planning it took before hand and then I reckon I cooked, baked and made for about 30 hours in the couple of weeks and days in the run up to the tea party! I must be mad! But it was also very satisfying and enjoyable at the same time and I have some wonderful new recipes to share with you over the coming weeks so keep a look out… Here is quick look at the cake table and other things…

    tea party day-001

    The table is laid…

    tea party day-002

    Lots of yummy cakes!

    tea party day-003

    Lemon and blueberry cake with elderflower Italian meringue topping.

    tea party day-004

    Macarons, cupcakes and cherry and chocolate cake.

    tea party day-005

    The menu.

    tea party day-006

    Enjoying the garden.

    tea party day-008

    The food table once everyone had gone!

    tea party day-007 tea party day-009