30 January 2012

Weekends away...

We went away to stay with friends the other weekend as it was Hubby's Birthday, and a nice way to celebrate it...with good friends, good food and good wine...Oh and as an added bonus the smallish people had 2 other smallish people to entertain them, so winners all around :-)

As it was a birthday, and as I like to make and bake, I thought I'd try a new recipe...now this is one of those moments that OH doesn't really like, as he gets me asking him for advice about what to make/how to make it etc...in the end I usually just "have a go". Which is exactly what I did last Friday...in fact, I ended up "having a go" twice...

"Have a go" 1...The Baked American Cheesecake...a recipe I got from Jules, a really good friend, who got it from a friend, who...you get the picture...It's a tried and tested recipe...
The ingredients
 ...with not too many ingredients...

1 Large ready made flan case (about 25cm/10 inches) trimmed and put into bottom of springform pan
2 eggs
225g (8oz) caster sugar
3 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
675g (1.5lb) full fat soft cream cheese
300ml (10fl oz)whipping cream
I made it a lemon one by adding juice and zest of 1/2 to 1 lemon (to taste)

How much cream cheese!!??

*Pre-heat the oven to 180 celsius/ gas 4.
*Line the base of the 23-25cm cake tin with baking paper to form a tight seal. Then cut the flan case to size and push into the tin.
*Mix together the sugar and cornflour, then beat in the cream cheese, making sure it is mixed to a nice creamy texture.

Always easier to use a mixer when possible

*If using mix in the lemon juice and zest.

*Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract

*Slowly pour on the cream, beating constantly until the mixture is a thick and creamy consistency.

I used about 3/4 of a lemon
Try to smooth the top as much as possible
*Pour the mix over the flan case in the tin.
*Sit the cake tin in a deep baking tray filled a third of the way with boiling water (a bain marie) to help create steam during cooking.

It rises quite far, but will sink when cooled

*Place in the pre-heated oven to cook for about 50 minutes - until the top is golden.
*Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool slowly, which helps to stop cracks appearing in the top (although sometimes they appear anyway!)
A couple of wee cracks, but not too bad

*When cool keep in the fridge in a covered container.

PS It's yummy with cherry pie filling or any other fresh fruit such as raspberries or strawberries....

"Have a go" 2...The chocolate orange roulade...

I have made a roulade once in my life, and that was only a few weeks ago!!! Spurred on by this and the fact that I would have a test audience to try it on I decided to 'tweak' the basic recipe and 'create' my own version with a dark chocolate orange ganache inside with orange zest cream...I am a born tweaker!! I rarely follow recipes a second time, having done so once is usually enough for me and mine to know what we do and don't like!

Ooops!! Forgot the caster sugar in this picture!!
 The Ingredients...

*175g/6oz plain chocolate, broken into pieces
*175g/6oz caster sugar
*6 eggs, separated
*2 level tbsp cocoa, sieved
*300ml/10fl oz double cream 
*2 oranges, zest only, finely grated

For the ganache...
*225g (8oz) good quality dark chocolate 
*225ml double cream

You also need a greased and lined 33cm x 23cm (13in x 9in) Swiss roll tin

Make sure it is pale and creamy

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Melt the chocolate slowly in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Allow to cool slightly 
Place the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk on a high speed until light and creamy.
Soft peaks...but not dry

Fold in with a metal spoon to keep as much air in as possilbe

Whisk the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff but not dry.
Add the cooled chocolate and stir until evenly blended. 
Stir a large spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, mix gently and then fold in the remaining egg whites, then the cocoa.

Leave until completely cold...

Pour into the prepared tin and gently level the surface.Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch.Remove the roulade from the oven, leave in the tin and place a cooling rack over the top of the cake, being careful not to touch the cake.

Make sure your parchment is larger than your roulade

Dust a large piece of non-stick baking parchment with icing sugar.
Turn the roulade out onto the paper and peel off the lining paper. 

To make the ganache, you need;
225g (8oz) good quality dark chocolate
225ml double cream

Gently  heat the cream, do not let it boil! Remove from heat and stir in  chopped chocolate. Whisk until smooth and glossy. Leave to cool before spreading over the roulade.

Spread the cream on top off the cooled ganache

Whip the cream until it just holds its shape, and stir in the orange zest.

It tasted divine!!
The cracks definately add to its charm!

Spread with the whipped cream and roll up like a Swiss roll: starting with one of the short edges, roll tightly to start with and use the paper to help. Don't worry if it cracks - that is quite normal and part of its charm!

So by the end of the weekend we had all eaten and drunk way too much, but a great time was had by all!! Thanks to Chris and Cath for inviting us to stay and helping test the recipes...we've decided to try a chocolate raspberry roulade and a chocolate chip cheesecake next time...and to Jules for the wonderful cheesecake recipe! xx


  1. Will have to get my thinking cap on for when you visit us in March...x


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