No Bake Cheesecake with Berry Compote

fruit compote

Compote is different from jam in that it’s looser in consistency and aside from any natural pectin in the fruit there’s no added stabilizers.
The cheesecake to go with the compote is my variation of Nigella’s Cherry Cheesecake recipe.

Berry Compote
1/2 cup Fresh Strawberries
1/2 cup Fresh Blueberries
1/4 cup Fresh Raspberries
1/2 cup Frozen Dark Cherries
1/2 cup Sugar
The Zest of 1 Lemon
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste or 1 Vanilla Bean (halved and the seeds scraped out)

Roughly chop the strawberries. You want the pieces to be big enough so they won’t disappear when cooked.
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.
Bring the mix to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until thickened and reduced by half.
Be attentive to your compote so it won’t burn.
About halfway through the cooking time smash up the berries with a fork.
Cover and refrigerate overnight before using.

If you’d like to make this and fresh berries are not in season just use a package of frozen mixed berries.

No Bake Cheesecake
1 3/4 cups (that’s about two sleeves) crumbled Graham Crackers
8 tablespoons Melted Butter
14 oz (2 packets) Cream Cheese (Room Temp)
1/2 cup Confectioners’ Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
The Zest of 1 Lemon
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream

Place the graham crackers into the bowl of your food processor and pulse until they are fine crumbs.
Add the butter through the feed tube and process until the mixture clumps together and resemble wet sand.
Add a touch more butter if the mixture seems too dry.
Press the crust mixture into a 8-9 inch springform pan, pressing a bit up the sides to form a small lip.
Place the pan into the freezer while you get on with the cheesecake mixture.

Whip the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla bean, and lemon zest and juice until smooth.
Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture, combine well.
Spoon the filling on to the graham cracker crust and smooth the top.
Refrigerate overnight.
Use a warm knife to cut the slices and serve with the berry compote.

This was so light and smooth and EASY to make I’m not sure if I’ll ever bother with a traditional cheesecake again!

Print this recipe? Berry Compote

Lemon Madeleines

Lemon Madelines

The batter needs to sit in the fridge overnight, however, that’s perfect for early morning baking. Simply stagger out and pour a cup of coffee while the oven preheats. 15 minutes later you have these lemony crisp delights.

Lemon Madeleines
1 1/2 cup (200g) Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
The Zest of One Large Lemon
1 1/2 sticks (200g) Butter (Melted & Cooled)
2 tablespoons Honey
1/4 cup (60ml) Milk
3 Large Eggs
2/3 cup (130g) Sugar

Mix the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Set aside.
Melt the butter on high in the microwave for about 1 minute then set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
Add the honey and the milk to the melted butter and stir to combine.
In large bowl add the sugar and the eggs. Whisk (hand or electric) until light in color and fluffy.

Beat the butter mixture into the egg mixture, combine well.
Fold one half of the flour mixture into the egg/butter mixture. Fold the other half into the batter.
Cover and refrigerate for overnight.

To Bake:
Preheat the oven to 375f/190c
Butter and flour a madeleine pan. (I love Pam for Baking– butter and flour in one shot!)
Spoon 1 teaspoon full of batter into each of the shell forms.

filling the pan

It doesn’t look like enough, but it will fill the shell cup as it bakes.
Bake for 10-13 minutes.
I like my madeleines crisp and golden on the outside. In my oven that’s about 11-12 minutes baking time.
If you’d prefer yours to be lighter experiment with the baking time to see what your oven can do.

baked madelines

Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and give the bottom a little swat to de-pan. Allow to cool.
Serve with jam or as dessert with ice cream or stewed fruits.

Store at room temp covered with a tea towel (to keep them crispy) or in a air tight container.

Print this recipe? Lemon Madeleines

Birthday Pavlova

birthday pavlova
Nothing beats a Pavlova, crunchy and chewy meringue covered in fruit and cream, yum! And here’s a sneaky tip, most of it can be made in advance.

Birthday Pavlova
6 Egg Whites
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup Sugar
3 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (sifted)
1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar

Preheat oven to 350f/180c degrees.

Fit your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
Wipe out the bowl of your stand mixer with the lemon juice.
This will ensure a fat free zone, as even a speck of fat in the egg whites will
not allow the whites to whip up at all.

Separate the eggs and add the egg whites to the bowl.
Begin to whisk on high speed, when they begin to appear foamy, start to add the sugar one tablespoon full at a time.
Once the whites are firm and shiny, and all the sugar is incorporated,
fold in the cocoa powder and red wine vinegar by hand.
Spoon the meringue into a rough 9 inch circle onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Place in the oven then immediately turn the oven down to 300f/150c.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Allow to cool (in which it will deflate slightly and crackle) completely before adding the topping.
To make ahead, after you cool completely you can simply cover with a tea towel for up to 6-8 hours before adding the topping.

For the Topping:
Any fresh fruit.
2 cups Heavy Cream + 2 tablespoons sugar
Whip the heavy cream & sugar until firm peaks form.
Top the Pavlova with the fruit and whipped cream.

Bruleed Figs

figs1_Snapseed

On the rare occasion that I can find fresh figs I tend to go mad and put them in everything. Fig pizza, fig spread, figs & ham! Figs! Figs! Figs!
The best use for this lovely fruit (actually, it’s an inside out flower!) is this simple dessert, perfect for Indian summer evenings.

Bruleed Figs w/ Honey & Yogurt
8 Fresh Figs
6 tablespoons Raw (Turbinado) Sugar
2 cups Plain Yogurt
4 tablespoons Honey
10 Fresh Mint Leaves

You’ll need a propane welding or culinary torch, to “brulee” the sugar topping.
Cut the stems off the figs and slice them in half. Arrange the figs cut side up on a heat proof sheet pan resting on a trivet or a double thickness of towelling. I once nearly melted my counter top!
Sprinkle with the raw sugar and then melt the sugar with the torch.
Just flick the tip of the flame over the sugar with a light stroke. Once one part starts to bubble move to the next, you can come back to the ones that are not quite melted after they’ve cooled a bit. The point of this is to only melt the sugar and not heat up the figs too much.
Allow the figs to sit and cool while the melted sugar solidifies into a crunchy candy-like shell.
On a small plate or bowl serve up the yogurt into portions, drizzle with honey and scatter with mint leaves.
Place the finished figs (2 whole figs per person) onto the yogurt and serve.

Strawberry Amaretto Galette

The U-pick season is started and the strawberry patch is in full swing these days, so it seems that pie is in order.

Strawberry Amaretto Galette

Pie Dough (Store bought frozen or your favorite recipe)
2 cups Strawberries (hulled and halved)
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Corn Starch
1/2 cup Amaretto Cookies (crumbled)
Egg Wash
1 tablespoon Turbinado Sugar (Raw Sugar)
1 tablespoon Apricot Jam

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and the amaretto cookies then set aside.

Place your prepared or defrosted dough onto a piece of parchment paper and roll out to about 15 inches. Slide the rolled crust onto a baking sheet and pile the strawberry filling into the middle of the crust, keeping a 2 inch border.

Fold and pleat the crust up over the edge of the filling, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Heat the apricot jam in the microwave for 30 seconds. Brush the jam over the berries and crust to create that shiny pastry shop sheen!
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

P.S. It’s particularly good the next morning as breakfast, when you’re writing a blog post. Ahem!