Fig and Almond Praline Cheesecake

I know I’ve said it before, but I love cheesecake! Give me an occasion and at least 4 people and a cheesecake is warranted! The occasion this time? Easter Sunday lunch.

img_9787.jpg

Our very good friends Cat and Marissa kindly gave us a whole heap of figs just before Easter and I needed to do something with them. We have had them on our breakfast, as a snack with yoghurt, by themselves, on a pizza and so I thought it was time for an impressive dessert….enter Fig and Almond Praline Cheesecake.

IMG_9834

The flavour combination was inspired by an Ottolenghi pavlova which has praline cream and figs on top, so I have kind of combined these flavours into a cheesecake and this is the result, and it is GOOD, and not too sweet as a lot of cheesecakes can be. The actual cheesecake itself is similar to my Lemon Curd and Blueberry Cheesecake but without the blueberries.

img_9786.jpg

I gave the kids a small piece of this cheesecake and I was quite surprised that they did’t eat it all. They are a bit funny with figs, which I think is a texture thing, but the actual cheesecake, I’m not sure. Needless to say, I’m happy as I don’t have to share it with them!! 🙂

img_9793.jpg

If you are a cheesecake lover and have a special occasion, I recommend this cake. You won’t be disappointed.

img_9792.jpg

Enjoy xx

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 packet ginger nut biscuits
  • 1/2 packet butternut snaps
  • 100g butter, melted

Praline

  • 50g raw almonds, toasted
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 2 tbs water

Filling

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 x 250g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 180g full cream natural yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup cream

Topping

  • 6 figs, cut into wedges
  • 50g almonds, toasted
  • 1 tbs honey
  • Cream to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. To make the base, place the biscuits into a food processor and blend until a coarse crumb forms. Add the melted butter and blend until it starts to come together. Place mixture into the base of a lined 24cm spring form tin.
  3. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the base is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. To make the praline, place the almonds onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Meanwhile, make the toffee by placing the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Occasionally swirl the saucepan and continue to heat until it turns a medium brown colour. Pour onto the baking paper with the almonds, aiming to coat the majority of the almonds. Allow to cool.
  5. Once cooled, place into a food processor and blitz until a coarse sand consistency. Set aside.
  6. To make the filling, place the cream cheese and lemon zest into a stand mixer and beat for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until creamy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the yoghurt and beat for a further 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, blitzed praline and cream and mix to combine. Pour mixture on top of the cooled base.
  7. Place the cheesecake into the oven, towards the bottom and bake for ~60 minutes or until the centre is slightly wobbly and the sides are firm. Allow the cake to cool for 1-2 hours in the oven. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake and place into the fridge to cool completely.
  8. Just before serving, arrange the cut figs on top of the cheesecake and sprinkle over the toasted almonds. Heat the honey in the microwave for 10 seconds or until runny and drizzle over the top of the cheesecake.
  9. Serve with cream.

 

 

Lemon Curd and Blueberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake has to be one of my favourite desserts, yet to make it really requires an occasion, as it is such a big dessert, it would probably go off before Aaron and I were to make our way through a whole cheesecake.

img_7526.jpg

I have often thought about how I could incorporate a lemon tart (another favourite) and a cheesecake into one, and then I came across this recipe, which made my thoughts more  of a reality. I had always pictured putting the lemon curd on the bottom and the cheesecake component on top, but was never quite sure how it would work out. The answer, so simple, put the lemon curd on top of the baked cheesecake (duh!). Gingernut biscuits are a very underrated biscuit (did you know that Arnotts make 4 different types of this biscuit throughout Australia – trust me, my Dad has tried and tested all 4 of them – different ones for different state) and I think that they pair so well with lemon, so I have opted to use a combination of these and butternut snaps as the base.

IMG_7527

Blueberries are fabulous fruit, just ask any child, however, I personally think they are much better in a smoothie, cake or muffin than fresh, as they give more flavour this way. I would much prefer to eat a strawberry, raspberry or blackberry fresh than a blueberry. Another bonus is that they are available all year round in the frozen version, which are just as good as the fresh, especially for baking. They pair very well with lemon and are a great addition to a cheesecake, hence why they made an appearance here.

IMG_7531

I decided at the last moment to brûlée the top of the lemon curd, in case there wasn’t already enough sugar…it was well worth it.

img_7546.jpg

Many cheesecakes are baked in a water bath to help prevent the top from cracking. If you wish, you can do this, but it will involve thoroughly wrapping the springform tin in foil to prevent the water seeping in, and even then, you may get leakage. For this recipe, as it is being topped with lemon curd, the cracks can easily be repaired.

img_7551.jpg

If you like cheesecake, I highly recommend this! It is best made the day before to allow for flavours to infuse and for sufficient cooling time.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1/2 packet ginger nut biscuits
  • 1/2 packet butternut snaps
  • 100g butter, melted

Filling

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 x 250g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 180g full cream natural yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbs icing sugar

Lemon Curd

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs cream
  • 2 tbs castor sugar (for brûlée)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. To make the base, place the biscuits into a food processor and blend until a coarse crumb forms. Add the melted butter and blend until it starts to come together. Place mixture into the base of a lined 24cm spring form tin.
  3. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the base is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. To make the filling, place the cream cheese and lemon zest into a stand mixer and beat for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until creamy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the yoghurt and beat for a further 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and cream and mix to combine. Pour mixture on top of the cooled base.
  5. Place the blueberries and icing sugar into a bowl and mix to combine (The icing sugar will help to prevent the blueberries from all falling to the bottom of the cheesecake mixture). Carefully sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the cheesecake mix, pressing some down if needed.
  6. Place the cheesecake into the oven, towards the bottom and bake for ~60 minutes or until the centre is slightly wobbly and the sides are firm. Allow the cake to cool for 1-2 hours in the oven. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake and allow it to cool completely at room temperature before placing it in the fridge.
  7. The lemon curd can be made in advance or it can be made while the cheesecake is cooking. Heat the lemon juice in a small pan over medium heat until just before it boils. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Gradually whisk in the sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture, then pour the mixture back into the pan. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture  is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until it is melted. Stir in the cream and vanilla. Pour the lemon curd through a sieve to ensure that you have a nice smooth curd.
  8. Place into an airtight jar or cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool or needed.
  9. Once the cheesecake is cool, spread the lemon curd over the top of the cheesecake, while still in the spring form tin. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Before serving, sprinkle castor sugar over the top of the lemon curd and brûlée using a blow torch to caramelise the sugar.
  11. Serve as is or with thick cream.

Choc Peanut Bubble Slice

Not many things beat a good slice, especially one that really hits that sweet spot and satisfies the sweet cravings.

img_6462.jpg

This slice is inspired and slightly adapted from The Healthy Mummy’s Healthy Peanut Bubble Crunch Slice. Although, I don’t necessarily agree that the word ‘healthy’ should be in the title as it really isn’t. Just because it uses coconut oil and rice malt syrup in place of butter and honey doesn’t make it healthy – these are still fat and sugar respectively and are calorie dense. So don’t be fooled by the word healthy in recipes.

img_6465.jpg

I have opted to add in some oats in place of some of the rice bubbles in the chocolate layer to make it a bit more wholesome and add some more fibre to the slice (still not making it healthy). This slice doesn’t require baking and can be made in about 10-15 minutes plus about 30 minutes setting time. It goes really well with a cuppa and is definitely a sometimes food.

img_6466.jpg

The kids helped me to make this (ate most of the rice bubbles) and we ended up with rice bubbles squashed ALL over the floor, but they had fun and needless to say they loved the slice. The chocolate on top makes it richer and more decadent slice, but can be left out and would still be delicious and satisfyingly sweet, still not a healthy choice, but definitely part of a healthy balanced diet. 🙂

img_6458.jpg

Enjoy in moderation xx

img_6468.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rice bubbles
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs cocoa
  • 80g chocolate

Method:

  1. Line a small baking tray (15cm x 20cm) with baking paper.
  2. Place 1 1/2 cups of rice bubbles into a medium sized bowl.
  3. Place remaining rice bubbles and oats into another medium sized bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Place rice malt syrup, vanilla and coconut oil into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the coconut oil is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth.
  5. Place 2/3 cup of the peanut butter mixture into the bowl with rice bubbles and stir well to combine.
  6. Place the cocoa into the remaining peanut butter mixture and stir until combined. Mix into the bowl with oats and rice bubbles and stir well to combine.
  7. Press the chocolate mixture into the bottom of the prepared tray. Press well into the tray and smooth out using the back of a metal spoon.
  8. Place the remaining bowl of rice bubbles on top of the chocolate layer and press well into the tray, using the back of a metal spoon to smooth out.
  9. Place into the fridge for ~30 minutes to set.
  10. Once set, place chocolate into a microwave proof bowl and heat for ~ 1 minute to melt the chocolate. Stir and return to the microwave for a further 30 seconds if not quite melted.
  11. Once melted, spread over the top of the slice and return to the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.
  12. Once set, cut into 3cm x 3cm squares.
  13. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

Orange and Chocolate Syrup Cake

A flourless orange cake or an orange syrup cake has to be one of the classic cakes. We had people coming round for lunch and I wanted to make a cake, so I decided to go with the classic orange syrup cake recipe that has been used by my family for years, and add a hint of chocolatey goodness. And, it works. The chocolate is subtle but great!

img_6094.jpg

If you wish to make a a traditional orange syrup cake, then omit the chocolate.

img_6095.jpg

This cake is by no means healthy, but I believe that real cake is an essential part of any healthy balanced diet. When I say that, I’m not saying eat cake everyday, I’m saying don’t feel guilty for eating and enjoying a piece of cake if you are out for a special occasion or if it’s a birthday. It’s cake for goodness sake, it’s designed to be a sometimes food (not a bad food) and an awesome one at that.

img_6096.jpg

The great thing about this cake is that it uses the whole orange, skin and all, so it is super orangey and has a great tang to it. It isn’t a gluten free cake, but if you have Coeliac Disease or are intolerant to gluten, it can be made gluten free by replacing the semolina with extra almond meal and using gluten free baking powder.

img_6097.jpg

This cake will freeze really well or can be made into cupcake sized cakes and frozen for later use.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges
  • 185g butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 150g dark chocolate, melted
  • Cream to serve

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and prepare a 24-26cm springform tin.
  2. Roughly chop the oranges and place into a microwavable jug. Add boiling water until oranges are just covered and cook on high for 10 minutes. Blend with a stick mixer.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, ~5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, scraping sides if needed.
  4. With mixer running at low speed, add semolina, almond meal, baking powder and melted chocolate and beat until combined.
  5. Add the blended orange mixture and beat until combined. It doesn’t matter if the orange mixture is still warm, just be aware that it will begin to melt the butter, making the whole mixture quite runny.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and cook for ~1 hour or until the cake springs back when touched.
  7. Before cake is ready, prepare the syrup, so it is ready to place on while the cake is still hot.
  8. Place the castor sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  9. Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and allow to sit for ~5 minutes. Carefully remove from the tin and place onto serving plate. Spoon prepared syrup over the cake, allowing it to soak in.
  10. Serve warm or cold with cream.

German Apple Cake

IMG_5888

This recipe is one of Mum’s and it is a great dessert to quickly throw together if you are having guests or if you feel like something sweet and want to whip something up. It does take ~45 minutes to cook, so a little bit of planning is needed, but preparation time is only about 10 minutes. It is definitely a sometimes food and is SO delicious! It is kind of a mix between an apple tea cake, an apple pie and an apple strudel.

IMG_5881

If we are having dessert, we have it after the kids are in bed. They are little and they don’t need to be exposed to the wonderful world that is desserts just yet, especially when they are thrilled at the thought of natural yoghurt for dessert, and when I put fruit on it they think all their Christmases have come at once! I’m going to keep that ‘ignorance is bliss’ for now.

img_5882.jpg

I usually serve this cake with custard, but mainly because I am a sucker for custard. It is also great with cream or ice cream, or even by itself.

IMG_5885

Enjoy in moderation xx

Ingredients:

Serves 6

  • 125g butter
  • 90g sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbs sultanas
  • 1 tbs raw or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 20cm round tin.
  2. Mix together sultanas, spices and 1 tbs brown/raw sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Melt butter and sugar, add egg and flour and mix well to combine.
  4. Place half the mixture into prepared tin, layer half the sliced apples, followed by spice mix, the lemon juice and then the remaining apples. Top with the remaining mixture.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with custard, cream or ice-cream.

Pear, Lime and Chocolate Cake

IMG_5447

Pear, lime and chocolate, not your normal trio of flavours, but gee, do they work! This cake is SO easy, so tasty, gooey and makes a great afternoon tea, or would be even better as a dessert with a scoop of ice cream! The flavours are also enhanced the following day, so if you can restrain yourself, save some for the next day.

IMG_5442

The pine nuts are an unlikely inclusion, but only because I decided the cake needed some crunch and they were the only nuts I had at the time, and they actually work really, really well. When I was eating this the other day, I thought that next time I would add some ginger – either ~1/2-1 tsp of ground ginger or ~1tbs of finely chopped glace ginger, which I think would complement the pear, the lime and the chocolate really well, so consider that addition if ginger is your thing.

IMG_5444

I have used wholemeal flour as I like to add some extra fibre to my cakes (when it works), but white flour will work just as well too.

IMG_5446

If you have a food processor, and wish to give your arm a rest, place the first 6 ingredients into the food processor and blend until it all comes together. I do have one, but this time I just mixed everything together with a wooden spoon – yes, i ended up with a sore arm, but less dishes to do!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 120g butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 pear, peeled and chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbs shredded coconut for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease or line a small loaf tin.
  2. If you have a food processor, place butter, eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into food processor and blend until it comes together. If you don’t have a food processor, place the ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix together with wooden spoon.
  3. To toast pine nuts, heat a small frypan over medium heat and toast, stirring until brown.
  4. Add chocolate, pear, lime, nuts, seeds and mix to combine.
  5. Pour mixture into a loaf tin, sprinkle with coconut and cook for ~1 hour.
  6. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm or cold.