Friday, 17 June 2011

I feel a cheesecake coming on

Often when I'm baking it is one of my own recipe books that I refer to. I love creating and writing down new recipes. It is lovely to be able to share my kitchen creativity with others through my books but it is also really handy to have them to refer back to myself. Blogging is another useful way to make sure I don't forget my recipes.

Earlier this week I decided to turned the latest harvest of strawberries into a strawberry swirl cheesecake. Regular readers of my blog will know that I created this for the first time last year at the request of my eldest daughter. Having blogged about it back then I knew that now I need only delve into the archives of my blog to find the recipe again this year. This I did and printed it out for reference in the kitchen.

As usual, just as I got started my eldest daughter sprung into the kitchen to see if I required any help. I'm never one to turn down help so she found her apron and washed her hands. Then she spotted the recipe on a piece of paper and asked why it was only on paper and not in one of my recipe books. I pointed out that I'm always coming up with new recipes and the new ones aren't in recipe books yet. "Well," she said, "in that case, you need to write a cheesecake recipe book."

That night as I lay in bed, drifting off to sleep I started thinking about cheesecakes. Well, there are worse things to think about as you fall asleep. By the morning I had decided that a cheesecake mini recipe booklet would make a useful addition to my mini recipe book range but I am going to need more recipes. So what's seasonal, tasty and not something I have already done?

By the time I went to bed again the next night I had come to conclusion that an elderflower cheesecake was a strong possibility. And by the end of the next day I had elderflowers infusing in whipping cream in the fridge. Later, the idea of including gooseberries in the recipe too occurred to me so that night my daughter and I made gooseberry and elderflower cheesecake.

I couldn't wait to try it so had a sneaky slice after my lunch the next day. Straight after school my daughter asked to try it and she quickly gave it her seal of approval and informed me it was good enough to go into my cheesecake recipe book. That's a long term project but here's the gooseberry and elderflower cheesecake recipe in the meantime. By the way, if you have a cheesecake recipe that you think would make a good addition to my recipe book, please get in touch.

Gooseberry & Elderflower Cheesecake

6 oz crushed digestive biscuits
2 oz melted butter

5 fl oz whipping cream
5 elderflower heads
4 oz gooseberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 oz caster sugar
1 egg
7 oz soft cheese
Snip the flower heads off the stalks and place the flowers into a container with the whipping cream. Place a lid on it then place it in the fridge overnight to infuse.

To make the base: Put the biscuits in a bag and crush them with the end of a rolling pin until finely crushed. Melt the butter and mix it with the biscuit crumbs. Press the mix firmly into the bottom of a 20cm flan dish and chill for about 1 hour.

To make the filling: Preheat oven to 180 °C, gas mark 4. Place the gooseberries in a small saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water and the granulated sugar then cook for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft. Set aside to cool. Cream together the cheese and the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Next, strain the cream through a sieve, squeezing the flowers to extract as much cream as possible - you should have approximately 4 fl oz of cream. Discard the elderflowers. Add the egg and cream to the cheese mix and whisk with an electric whisk until thick. Dollop the creamy filling onto the biscuit base and spread out evenly. Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the gooseberries through the sieve, crushing the fruit with a spoon to leave behind just the skin and seeds. Spoon a tablespoon of the gooseberry sauce onto the cream mixture then use a chopstick or skewer to carefully swirl the sauce through the cream mixture. Put the remaining gooseberry sauce into the refrigerator until serving. Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for 20 minutes then turn out the oven and leave it in the oven for another 10 minutes. After that open the oven door and leave the cheesecake inside to continue its slow cooling so that it doesn't crack. Once cool, refrigerate the cheesecake to chill before serving. Serve each slice of cheesecake with a serving of gooseberry sauce.

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