Posts Tagged bake together

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake


I am taking part in this months Bake Together held each month by Abby Dodge, where we are invited to use a recipe from Abby and make our own changes to that recipe. The theme for the February bake together is Cheesecake!  I’m supposed to be on a diet, supposed to be watching the carbs so cheesecake making I should not be taking part in! But its cheesecake which happens to be one of my husbands favorite desserts and it’s almost Valentines day so it’s a great excuse to make an edible mens valentines bouquets, won’t that be something nice! Reading this back I can see how I’m justifying making the cheesecake! To hell with it! I just want some cheesecake! I’ve seen a few great versions of others joining in the Bake together and dreamt up a few of my own versions, so here it is my variation of Abby’s recipe.

Really, I thought Abby’s recipe sounded and looked just perfect so I found I really wanted to make 2 cheesecakes, one of the original recipe and one of my version but there I did resist! I will be making Abby’s another time!

For my version the first thing I changed was the size, as it was only my husband and I eating the cheesecake (and I’ve got that boring diet nag in the back of my head!) I halved the recipe. I have a cute little 5 inch loose bottom cake tin so I used that. The next change was the easiest as I don’t have any Graham crackers so for the base I used Lotus biscuits, also known as Speculoos. This was going to be a chocolate cheesecake , with Valentine’s in mind but then I saw some lovely big strawberries in the supermarket so I got those to use  instead. I should have known better, no matter how lovely strawberries look, out of season they are always a disappointment! Not wanting to make another shopping trip I sprinkled some sugar onto the strawberries and roasted them to bring out their flavour. I then pureed the strawberries to swirl through the vanilla mix once in the baking tin.

I was a little heavy-handed with my swirling of the puree so the cheesecake was a little more pink than I intended but that does not affect the taste, which I was very happy with! I did have alittle too much for a 5 inch pan so Ithink this would work better with a 6 inch if you have one.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake (adapted from this recipe by Abby Dodge)

For the Strawberry Swirl:

  • 300 gram Strawberries, rinsed, hulled and cut in halves
  • 2 tsp sugar

For the crust:

  • 130 gram finely crushed lotus biscuit crumbs
  •  45 gram unsalted butter, melted
  • 25 grams granulated sugar (I use unrefined)

For the filling:

  • 360 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 130 gram granulated sugar
  • 120 ml sour cream, at room temperature
  • Seeds scraped from 2 vanilla beans or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste
  • 2  large eggs, at room temperature

To make the strawberry puree

  1. Preheat oven to  300 degrees F, 150 degrees C, Gas mark 2
  2. Place the prepared strawberries in a baking tray, sprinkle with sugar and bake for around 1 and a half hours, until the strawberries have shrunk a little and given out their juices.
  3. Place in a blender and puree, you may need to add a few drops of water to get things moving if the strawberries are not that juicy.
  4. Reserve the puree for later.

To make the Cheesecake

I followed Abby’s instructions  See here until just before putting in the oven.

Then I dropped a few teaspoons of strawberry puree on the top of the cheesecake already in its tin.

With a skewer I swirled the puree into the cheesecake. The idea is to make gentle swirls but I was a little heavy-handed and over mixed so did not get the swirls I was after. A light swirling motion is all that is needed.

I then followed Abby’s instructions again for the cooking and cooling See here


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Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

I love Twitter, you will often hear me say that! A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from Abby Dodge (@Abbydodge) inviting people to join her in a bake together. This is an event where Abby generously shares one of her recipes and invited the rest of us to bake it with her but using our own twist ” switching it up”  as Abby says.

Well my first switch up was that I don’t have a tart dish (I know!) so I baked my base in a pie dish. The second change was that I didn’t use Graham crackers, hard to get in the UK, for once I actually do have some but decided to keep them for another time when I must have them! I substituted oat biscuits and ground, roasted hazelnuts for the Graham crackers.

The next change I made was only slight, I just used Frangelico hazelnut liqueur instead of the original rum and used a little bit more as I couldn’t seem to taste it.

I kept the vanilla cream topping the same. I’m not sure if single cream is exactly the same or a near as we get to half and half in the UK but that’s what I used. My final switch up was to decorate with some caramelized hazelnuts.

I served this Chocolate Hazelnut tart for dessert at a dinner party. My husband, who is not big on deserts really enjoyed it so that was praise indeed! It turned out well although the only taste of hazelnut was from the nuts in the base and the caramelized nuts on top,the Frangelico couldn’t seem to compete with the strong chocolate.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart (adapted from Abby Dodge)

For the crust

  • 4oz sweet oat biscuits (cookies) crushed into fine crumbs
  • chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 oz butter

For the filling

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1.5  tablespoon Frangelico liqueur
  • 1 cup single cream (half and half)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch table salt

For the topping

  • 1 pack (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 6 fl oz double (heavy) cream
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Caramelized hazelnuts

  • 2 oz whole hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

To make the crust

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F  190 °C.
  2. Grease a 9 inch pie dish or if you have one, a loose bottom tart dish.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix in the biscuit crumbs and the chopped hazelnuts. Mix well to incorporate butter.
  4. Press biscuit mix into bottom of dish and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides .
  5. Bake until slightly darker brown about 10-12 minutes.

To make the filling:

  1. In a heatproof medium bowl, melt the chocolate, single cream (half and half) and butter in a microwave or over simmering water. Remove from the heat and add the Frangelico, vanilla and salt. Whisk the mixture until well blended. Set aside, whisking occasionally, until room temperature and slightly thickened, about 1 hour. (For faster cooling, refrigerate the filling until thickened to a pudding consistency, about 30  minutes, whisking and scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula every 5 minutes.)
  2. With a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the crust and spread evenly. Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate until the filling is set, about 4 hours and up to 1 day  before proceeding with the recipe.

To make the topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, double/heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat on low-speed until smooth. Increase speed to medium high and beat until cream is thick and holds firm peaks.
  2. Using a small metal spatula, spread the whipped cream over the chocolate filling leaving lots of swirls and peaks. Cover loosely and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

To make the  Caramelized hazelnuts

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350°F, 180 °C
  2. Toast the hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan until a shade darker, about 10 minutes.
  3.  Slightly cool, then tip the hazelnuts into a tea towel and rub to remove the skins.
  4. Put the water, sugar and honey into a small saucepan and bring to the boil until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and  add the nuts, stir until all nuts are coated in the syrup.
  5.  Line the baking tray with foil and lightly oil, transfer the syrup coated hazelnuts to the baking tray with a slotted spoon leaving behind excess syrup.
  6.  Roast the nuts until golden brown, moving nuts around once or twice during cooking, about 10 minutes.
  7.  Lightly oil another piece of foil, remove nuts from oven and spread onto the foil so they aren’t touching.
  8.  When hazelnuts are cool and just before serving arrange on top of the cream.

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