Sunday, 18 March 2012

millionaire shortbread


for the shortbread
250g plain flour
75g caster sugar
175g butter

for the caramel
175g butter
175g soft light brown sugar
1 x 397 tin of condensed milk
4 tbsp golden syrup

for the topping
200g chocolate


Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4.  Lightly grease a square edge tin (swiss roll tin if you have one).
Firstly, the shortbread; place the flour and sugar in a large bowl and mix.  Cut the butter into cubes, place in with the flour and sugar and, using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  This may take up to 5 minutes.  Then work the mixture together until it is more dough like.

Press the biscuit dough into the base of the tin, prick with a fork a few times and place on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, until slightly golden on top and firm to touch.

Allow the biscuit to cool completely before applying the next layers!

Now, for the caramel.  Place the butter, sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk into a saucepan, over a low heat.  Stir the ingredients lightly until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.  Turn the heat up until the mixture starts to bubble and then, retaining this heat, stir the mixture in an instance fashion for 5 minutes until it is thick, gooey and fudge-e-licious.  Do not stick your finger in it to taste, it is very hot (learn from my mistakes).

Pour the caramel over the cooled biscuit and set this to one side until completely cooled again.
Lastly!  break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bain-marie (bowl over a saucepan of simmering water).  Pour the chocolate over the caramel and, once again, allow to cool.

Cut into equal portions and serve, as ever, with a cup of rosie lea xx

Sunday, 4 March 2012

baked apple cheesecake

I've yet to come across a cheesecake that beats my mum's recipe, so this endeavour is going to be particularly challenging.  I know she uses full fat cream cheese, and I know she uses sour cream.  Other than that, I am at a loss.  I could pick up the phone, give her a call and replicate her genius, but where's the fun in that!

I've always loved baked cheesecake over set cheesecake - although I inherited a great recipe for a white chocolate and raspberry set cheesecake from a friend, which is simply delicious - so baked it is!  I've spent most of the weekend with my head in cook books and scanning google in search of inspiration for this recipe.  It would appear that there is such variation in approach; difference cheeses, quantities and accompaniments.

Cream cheese, mascarpone, sour cream and lemons pack the punches in this voluptuously creamy baked piece of heaven that melts in the mouth and soothes even the coldest of souls.

- - - -
2 cooking apples (around 300g once pealed, soured and sliced)
100g golden caster sugar
100ml water
juice of half a lemon
- - - -
200g digestive biscuits
100g unsalted butter
- - - -
400g full fat cream cheese
250g mascarpone cheese
150ml sour cream
200g soft light brown sugar
juice of half a lemon
4 eggs
80g plain flour
- - - -

The great thing about this recipe is that you don't need much apparatus, and you certainly don't need an electric mixer.  I large mixing bowl, 1 small measuring bowl, a small saucepan and a 23" loose base or clip tin.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4.

Bash up the biscuits - I don't care how - but here are 2 methods:
1. place them in a blender and mix into a frenzy.
2. place them into a plastic bag, loosely held, and bash with a rolling pin - this is the one for me!

Melt the butter in a microwave and mix into the bashed up biscuits.  Press the biscuits into the base of the clip tin, taking a little up the side of the tin as well.  Press down firmly with the base of a glass or with your fist, so it is all compressed - if you don't do this it will fall apart when you cut it.  Place the tin in the fridge for at least half an hour to cool and set the biscuit base.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples, place them in the saucepan with the golden caster sugar and water.  Gently warm over a medium heat for 5 minutes until slightly softened.  We're not looking to cook them thoroughly as they will cook through with the cheesecake in the oven.  Strain, run under a cold tap in a sieve and leave to one side to cool.  Once cooled, squeeze over the juice of half the lemon and spread the slices over the biscuit base into a level layer.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, caster sugar and remaining lemon juice.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and add a little at a time to the cheese mixture, making sure you combine thoroughly. Sift in the plain flour and mix well.  Pour the mixture over the apples and the biscuits.
Bake on the middle shelf for 50minutes at gas mark 4, then turn the oven off and leave to cool completely in the oven - this prevents it from cracking as it cools.  If it does crack then cover it in fruit, icing sugar, or just live with the cracks - nothing is perfect!

Once the cheesecake is cooled, give your mates a call, brag about it and then tuck in.  With or without your friends, but always with a cup of tea.

Katie xx