4/22/2013

Almond praline creams

Had some friends coming to stay over the weekend, so decided to make some small cakes to have with tea.
I bought a book in a charity shop a while ago, called 'The Encylopedia of Baking'; it has no author and I think it was originally published in Germany. It has some unusual cake and biscuit recipes, so I thought I'd make these almond praline creams, as I had half a bag of flaked almonds left over from the almond and honey cake.
The creams look a bit like whoopie pies, and  I think they're really more like a cross between a cake and a biscuit. It's a basic sponge cake recipe, and whatever they are, cake or biscuit, they taste good, and the ingredient list is short and you've probably got everything in your store cupboard.
The recipe makes about 30 biscuits.

4 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
pinch salt
200g plain flour
75g flaked almonds
200g Nutella or any hazelnut chocolate spread
40g dark chocolate

Preheat oven 200C/gas 6
Grease a baking sheet and dust it with flour.

Put yolks into a bowl and beat them with an electric mixer or beater for a minute on high speed. Then add the sugar and salt and carry on beating for another 2 mins till the mixture is white.
Gradually add the flour.
Put the mixture into a piping bag and pipe thickish rounds on the baking tray using a wide nozzle.
Decorate the tops with flaked almonds.
Bake for 10 mins then take them off the baking sheet.
Melt the nutella in a bowl over some hot water, stirring till it's nice and creamy and smooth.
Spread  over the smooth sides of half the biscuits and cover with the other halves.
Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the biscuits.


These little sponges are a good texture, soft and spongy! Good contrast with the hazelnut filling and the crunch of the almonds.


Think I'll make it my 2nd offering to the April Alpha Bakes challenge, to bake something beginning with A.
This is a monthly challenge hosted alternately by Ros of The More than Occasional Baker blog and Caroline of Caroline Makes blog. Ros is hosting this month - have a look here.


4/05/2013

Honey and Cinnamon Cheesecake

We're going to have a quiet Easter this year, just the 2 of us on Easter Sunday, but we had friends coming on Good Friday. I'd made  Hot Cross Buns, but wanted to make a nice dessert to have after the fish pie.
I fancied a cheesecake, but a baked one, and looked in my books and online for inspiration.
I found this recipe, and as we love honey and I adore cinnamon, it was just the thing.
It was on an Australian blog, in cups, so I've changed the measures and adapted the recipe to suit our tastes. It uses cottage cheese and cream cheese and I wasn't sure about this, but it tasted delicious. It's an unusual cheesecake in that it has a pastry base - so is it a cheesecake? Well, seeing how much cheese is in it, I think so!

pastry:
225g plain flour
125g cold butter, chopped up
55g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbspn finely grated lemon rind
about 3 tspns cold water

Filling:
250g cottage cheese
250g cream cheese
265g honey
110g caster sugar
2 tspns cinnamon [or more!]
4 eggs

grease a 22cm springform tin.

preheat oven to 200C/gas6

Rub butter into flour; add egg yolk, sugar, rind and enough water to make a dough.
Wrap in clingfilm and put in fridge for 1/2 hour.
I rolled the pastry out between 2 sheets of clingfilm, as I find this easier. Lift the pastry into the tin, and again put in fridge for 1/2 hour.
Cover pastry with foil or baking parchment and beans and bake for about 10 mins, then take beans and paper out and bake for further 10 mins or till it's light brown. Take out and leave on the side.
Turn oven down to 160C/gas 3
Filling - beat the cheeses, honey, sugar and cinnamon with electric mixer till nearly smooth, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.
Pour into pastry case and bake for about 11/2 hours or till filling is firm. Leave to cool, then put in fridge overnight.
When you're ready to serve, drizzle with a little honey.



Everyone enjoyed this. Nice contrast between the pastry and the soft filling, and the flavours of the honey and cinnamon together was delicious. It's very rich, but not too sweet for our taste.An unusual cheesecake, but one I'd certainly make again.