Something to celebrate? This year has been ridiculously good in terms of things to celebrate for me personally. Speaking as a now wise woman who has just turned 50 I feel like I’m sage enough to dispense some advice. Celebrate everything. If you have two feet under you and the ability to walk, then celebrate. A sense of taste and smell that enables you to savour the pleasure that food can be, then celebrate. Fresh air. Freedom. Family. Friends. Health. Celebrate it all. In life some days, months and years will be better than others. There will be times of joy and times of sadness. There will be triumphs and there will be disappoinments. When the good things happen, celebrate. And what does that mean? It can be as simple as taking a minute to appreciate the moment, that leaf crunching underfoot in Autumn, that cricket chiming in the late evening warmth if you’re lucky enough to get away somewhere warm. Celebration doesn’t have to mean a party, you can celebrate with a smile.
& then there’s Cheesecake. Cheesecake is also a great way to celebrate!
Note: You’ll need a 20cm+ spring-form tin to make this cheesecake (the kind of tin that has a spring-release side and a removable base). If you don’t have one, just used a well-lined deep cake tin, but be warned that it will be very difficult to get the cheesecake out.
Another Note!: It is best to make the cheesecake the evening/day before for adequate setting time.
Final Note!: The strawberry version also pictured can be made by using strawberry jelly and strawberry syrup in place of lemon jelly and lemon juice and fresh strawberries instead of raspberries
You will need: 28 Oreo cookies (2 x 154g pack)
75g unsalted butter
135g packet raspberry jelly
100ml cold water
Handful of fresh raspberries
450g Philadelphia cream cheese (2 x 225g pack)
50g icing sugar
Fresh raspberries to decorate
Lemon zest to decorate
Method: Preheat the fan oven to 160oC/Gas mark 4.
Put the oreo cookies in a plastic bag and crush into crumbs with a rolling pin or blitz in a mini chopper.
Melt the butter, combine with the cookie crumbs, and mix well.
Press the cookie mix into the cake tin (use a ‘spring-form’ cake tin that has sides that release to remove the base) and compact well together with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, take them out and leave to cool. Switch off the oven.
Make the jelly according to pack instructions – for me = put the jelly in a microwave proof jug with 100ml cold water and microwave for 1 minute. Mix well until fully dissolved.
Bring the level of the jelly up to 400ml in the jug by adding in the juice of the lemon and cold water. Place the jelly in the fridge to semi-set for 1 hour.
When the jelly has been set for 1 hour use an electric mixer to cream the Philadelphia cheese and semi-set jelly together with 50g icing sugar until smooth.
Lightly whip 150ml of cream until just beginning to form peaks and then fold the cream and a handful of fresh raspberries into the cheesecake mix and pour over the cooled Oreo cookie base.
Leave to set for a few hours or ideally overnight.
Serve decorated with fresh raspberries, and lemon zest.
This is a dessert for the time-pressed cheesecake lover. The kind of person who doesn’t prepare things the night before and doesn’t like to wait while things set or bake.
You can take this in any direction that you like and the flavour combinations here are a variation on some classics, just think about your favourite flavour parings and then interpret them into biscuits and fruit. If you’re a lover of oranges perhaps a jaffa cake base, then some mandarin slices mixed in with the cream and cheese all topped off with a couple of Terry’s chocolate orange segments. (Now why hadn’t I thought of that earlier? I do think that would look very pretty and be sophisticated enough to grace a dinner party table.)
I recycled some glass yoghurt pots and some glass ramekins that I think had been bought filled with pate once upon a time. You could pretty things up with some co-ordinating ribbon but I did say these were ideal for the time-pressed so perhaps not.
If you’d like to reward all your hard work with a break away there’s a fabulous competition running with some great prizes from now until the 30th of March 2012. Just follow this link.
There’s also some great opportunities to win copies of my book ‘Gimme the Recipe‘ on a number of other competitions that I’ve linked to on my gimme the recipe facebook page – and while you’re over there I’d appreciate a Like, thank you!
Now back to these beauties:
First up I give you the Lemon & Crunchie Honey Pot:
Next to grace the table is Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers & Raspberry Pot:
& finally the Oreo & Strawberry Pot:
In the interests of being the ultimate time-saving dessert I used Avonmore pre-whipped cream. Did you know there was such a thing? I’m not talking the long-life cream in a can but a tub of whipped fresh cream straight from the supermarket chill cabinet, handy or what? Mini Cheesecake Pots:
Makes 6. You will need: For the base*:
Cadbury’s crunchie bars
Cadbury’s chocolate fingers
Oreo cookies For Filling:
250g mascarpone cheese (or any cream cheese)
1 tbsp icing sugar
350ml fresh whipped cream ( I used Avonmore Freshly Whipped Cream) For Flavouring Filler:
Half tsp lemon juice & 1 tbsp honey
mashed strawberries To garnish:
Lemon zest & slices
Dark chocolate to grate & extra chocolate fingers
Whole oreo biscuit Method:
Place your chosen base in a sandwich bag and bash until crumbled with a rolling-pin.
Mix the mascarpone cheese in a bowl with 1tbsp icing sugar and whatever you have selected to flavour the mixture.
Once the flavouring element and mascarpone cheese have been combined then gently fold in the whipped cream.
Assemble your cheesecake pots by layering the crumbled base first then the flavoured filling and finally garnish at will.
Can be served immediately or chilled in refrigerator if prepared ahead of time. Note:I toasted and bashed some hazelnuts for the lemon & honey version and I added extra whole raspberries and slices of strawberries on top of the biscuit base and under the filling in the other ones. *Quantities per base:Allow approx half a crunchie per pot or 4 chocolate fingers or 2 oreos Enjoy.
Til next time, Sheila.