Saturday, 19 August 2017

Lemon Icebox Cheescake

I saw a recipe for an icebox or, as we might call it, a refrigerator cheesecake. The recipe was on Cook's Country and it looked very good, so I thought I would give it a try.

The only baking is of the biscuit crumb base.  For flavour there is lemon juice and lemon curd, mixed into a cream and cream cheese filling.  It is easy to make, but does have to be left to set for about 6 hours before cutting and eating.

For mine I used leaf gelatine, rather than powdered gelatine to set the cheesecake and it worked well.  In fact I love the texture, and of course the sublime lemon flavour.  Although the recipe calls for home made lemon curd I am sure that any quality shop bought curd would be just fine.

So this is a recipe that works well and is very tasty, I heartily recommend it to all.
Lemon Icebox Cheesecake

                       Lemon Icebox Cheesecake - Video
For the base:
  • 220g of lemon sandwich biscuits(or digestives or graham crackers)
  • 28g of melted butter
  • Zest of one lemon

For the curd:
  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 14g butter
  • 15ml double cream
For the filling:
  • 5 leaves of gelatine  ( or a packet of gelatine powder)
  • 500ml cold water( to soften gelatin)
  • 60ml lemon curd
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • 680g cream cheese
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • Remainder of lemon curd for piping on top.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F
  2. Put the biscuits into a processor and mix until they are finely crumbled.
  3. Add the melted butter and mix again until combined.
  4. Place the mixture into a 9in/23cm springform cake tin.
  5. Level the crumbs over the base and press down firmly to pack the crumbs together, level.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the base has firmed up and is golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  8. In a saucepan put the 50g caster sugar, the egg and egg yolk and the lemon juice.  
  9. Whisk together until all mixed.
  10. Heat , very gently, stirring all the time with a whisk to avoid the egg cooking, until the mixture has thickened up.
  11. Remove from the heat and add the butter and double cream and stir until melted and mixed in.
  12. Pour the curd into a bowl and refrigerate to cool down and thicken more.
  13. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl with the cold water and leave for 5 minutes.
  14. Remove the softened gelatine leaves and squeeze out the excess water.
  15. Place the gelatine leaves in a saucepan with the lemon juice and gently heat until the leaves are dissolved(do not allow to boil)
  16. Pour the lemon juice and gelatine into a bowl and allow to cool.
  17. In the bowl of a stand mixer(you can do this all by hand or with a hand mixer and a large bowl) place the cream cheese and sugar.
  18. Beat with the paddle attachement until the cream cheese has incorporated the sugar and is nice and smooth.
  19. Add the double cream and mix again until all is combined.
  20. Add the cooled lemon juice mixture and the 60ml lemon curd and mix until combined.
  21. Pour the mixture over the cooled biscuit base and shake the tin gently to allow the mixture to level out.
  22. Pipe the remaining lemon curd onto the top, gently, in any pattern you want, and use a skewer to swirl around if you wish.
  23. Refrigerate for 6 hours.
  24. Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the cake tin and then release the cheesecake.
  25. Cut and serve.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Lemon Shortcake Biscuts(Cookies)

Shortcake, as opposed to shortbread, biscuits are popular in the UK.  The usually come in an oblong form, flat in the middle with a pattern around the edges.  I have looked for a recipe to make those but have never found one.  Most of the time when I search for 'shortcake' I am presented with recipes of the US type of shortcake, which is more cake-like.  So I decided to try to make my own.  I also had just bought a nifty little gadget that I wanted to try out for pressing a pattern onto biscuits.  So killing two birds with one stone seemed like a good idea. 

For mine I decided upon lemon shortcake biscuits, but only with lemon zest to give just a subtle hint of lemon in the biscuit.  These biscuits are less heavy on the butter than shortbread but, in my opinion, are just as nice and ideal with a cup of tea or coffee.

The recipe is simple, easy to make and has only a few ingredients.  You do have to wait a couple of hours, to chill the dough enough to form the biscuits, but that is no particular hardship.

Mine turned out very well, they taste wonderful, and are nice and crunchy, just as a shortcake biscuit should be.

Lemon Shortcake Biscuits
Lemon Shortcake Biscuits - Cookies - Video

  • 350g plain flour
  • 130g softened butter
  • 120g icing sugar (150 g if you dont use the vanilla sugar below)
  • 30g vanilla sugar(that is caster sugar that I had stored with an empty vanilla bean pod to infuse the sugar with a vanilla flavour)
  • 2 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • Zest of lemon(I used two small lemons the zest weighed 4 grams)

  1. In a bowl sift the icing sugar and cream with the vanilla sugar and the butter, until nicely smooth.
  2. Add the eggs and lemon zest and mix until fully combined.
  3. Add the flour and mix until combined and the biscuit dough is smooth.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap shaped into a rough square flat disc and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/320F
  6. Line some baking trays( I used 4 but I baked in two batches, so two would be enough), with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  7. Take the dough from the fridge and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness(I cut my dough into 4 and did each piece separately, keeping the remainder chilled).
  8. Using a cookie cutter of about 2.25 inches cut out the cookies( you should get 40 plus extra from cut off dough re-rolled).
  9. Place on the baking tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the biscuits are just beginning to change colour.
  10. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Coffee & Walnut Cake

Though I don't like coffee and am not a lover of walnuts I decided to make a Coffee & Walnut Cake as some in my family like it very much.  This cake is two layers of coffee sponge with chopped walnuts in it.  The two layers are sandwiched by a rich coffee buttercream, with more of that on the top too.  Then a few halved walnuts are placed on the top as well. 

I saw lots of different recipes on the internet that I could have tried, but I opted for one that I found in The Guardian as they always try several different recipes and then come up with 'How to make the perfect .....'  So that is what I tried.

The recipe is easy to follow and results in two light sponge cakes in less than an hour, from start to finish.  Then making the buttercream is a breeze too.  

Mine turned out just as I expected, and I am sure if tastes wonderful.  Since I don't like coffee I didn't taste the cake, but I had a little taste of the butterream frosting and that had a big hit of coffee..  I know it will be enjoyed by the intended recipients.

I am away for 3 weeks from now, but I have prepared some videos which I will try to put online whilst I am holidaying.  Then it will be back to normal at the start of September.
Coffee & Walnut Cake
                                Coffee & Walnut Cake - Video Ingredients:
For the cake:
  • 2tbsp instant coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of boiling water
  • 75g walnuts, toasted in dry pan and  roughly chopped
  • 225g butter, at room temperature
  • 225g soft, light-brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten together
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • Milk, optional
For the buttercream and topping:
  • 2tbsp instant coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of boiling water
  • 165g butter, at room temperature
  • 425g icing sugar
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 4tbsp double cream
  • 25g halved walnuts, toasted in a dry pan
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F and grease and line the bases of 2 x 20cm(8 inch) sandwich tins.
Beat the butter and sugar together until really light and fluffy.
With the mixer still running, pour in the egg mix very gradually, scraping down the sides of the mixer as necessary. 

Add in the coffee and mix again.
Once incorporated, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts together and add to the wet mix.
Gently fold until fully combined.
The batter should fall, reluctantly, from a spoon; if not, add a little milk to loosen it. 
Divide between the 2 tins, and bake for about 25 minutes until well risen. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tins, then put on a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, mix the 2tbsp coffee for the icing with 1tbsp boiling water and allow to cool.

Once the cakes have cooled, make the icing. Beat the butter until soft, then sift in the sugar and salt and add the cooled coffee and cream. Stir together until evenly combined. Top one cake with a little less than half the icing, spreading it more thickly in a ring around the edge, and then place the other cake on top. Spoon the remaining icing on the top, and arrange the walnuts in a pleasing pattern.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

As I am soon going over to Canada to visit my sister's family I thought I would test out my recipe for a cinnamon swirl loaf.  I would usually want to add raisins as well but I am aware that my great-nieces don't like raisins in their bread so I made mine without.  For the recipe I will include the optional raisins but I have to say this bread is lovely just as it is, toasted and with lashings of butter.

It does take a while to make but is well worth the effort.  It is also ideal for slicing and freezing in little packages to be used whenever you want some variety to your morning toast.

I am pleased with how well mine turned out, the swirls being well defined and the taste of the bread is just fantastic.  It can be eaten without toasting but I find that toasting is better, as he brings out the aroma of the cinnamon as well.
                                         Cinnamon Swirl Bread 

                             Cinnamon Swirl Bread - Video
For the dough:
  • 100ml water at 43c/110F
  • 160ml milk, scalded and cooled to 48C/120F
  • 7g active dried yeast
  • 1 large egg(XL in USA)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 500g strong white bread flour(plain flour would be ok too)
  • 50g raisins (if desired)
For the filling:
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 15g ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 10g butter
  1. In the warm water place the yeast and a little of the sugar, stir and set aside to activate for 10 minutes, until the yeast has started to foam up.
  2. In a bowl whisk the yeast, sugar, egg and butter together.
  3. Add the milk and whisk until all is mixed well.
  4. Place that mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  5. Add the flour and mix on low speed to get the flour combined.
  6. Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for a few minutes, until the dough is coming away, cleanly, from the side of the bowl.  The dough should be smooth and slightly tacky to the touch.
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball.
  8. Place the dough in a large bowl that has been lightly greased.
  9. Turn the dough to ensure it is coated with the oil and then cover the bowl and allow to rest in a warm, draught-free place until it has doubled in size(mine took a couple of hours as it was quite cool, 1.5 is usually enough).
  10. Grease the insides of a 2lb/900g loaf tin with butter.
  11. Take the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured work surface and knock the dough back to release the gases.
  12. Flatten the dough, or roll it out, into a rectangle, with the short side being slightly narrower than the length of the loaf tin.
  13. Brush egg over the surface of the dough.
  14. Mix the ground cinnamon and 90g sugar together and sprinkle all over the top surface of the dough.
  15. At this stage if you want to use raisins too you can sprinkle about 50g of them over the dough.
  16. Roll the dough, from the short side tightly.
  17. As you roll brush the exposed dough with egg
  18. When the dough has been rolled up pinch the seam all the way long to seal it and tuck the ends to seal them.
  19. Place the rolled dough into the loaf tin and press it down to cover the surface of the base.
  20. Cover the loaf tin with a clean, damp, tea towel(or loosely with plastic wrap) and leave to rest until the dough has doubled in size again, probably about an hour.
  21. As the dough rises heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350 F.
  22. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  23. If the top starts to brown too quickly you can cover it with some aluminium foil for the last 10 or so minutes.
  24. Remove the loaf from the oven and tip out onto  a wire rack to cool,  rubbing a little butter over the top if you wish(as soon as it is out of the oven).
  25. When the bread has cooled completely it is ready to slice and enjoy.