cheesecake

All posts tagged cheesecake

An Ode to Aubergine: Two Vibrant Veggie Dishes

Published October 30, 2014 by The Feminist

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Food cravings. If you’re like me, this devilish food impulse will be something you’re all too familiar with. Food cravings aren’t just reserved for pregnant women with a hormonal soft spot for pickles, but is something we all go through… repeatedly…on a very regular basis. (Yes, even people like healthy food guru and yoga fanatic Gwyneth Paltrow!)

These past couple of years, I have had various food craving episodes. There was that one month last year in which I ate a ridiculous amount of chocolate (even ridiculous for a Belgian citizen, and that says a lot). Last month I had my Indian food obsession and decided to end every meal with an extra bowl of dal. And yes, I even went through a cheese phase, which led to my kitchen smelling of old people’s feet 24/7.

But this week, I am craving something entirely different. And for once, it falls within the “healthy” category. So forget about cheesy crust pizza, dark chocolate and matured Roquefort cheese, this week everything is all about the humble aubergine. (Or as you Americans like to call it: the “eggplant”)

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Apologies, that word cracks me up every single time.

I know. You’re probably all thinking: Why would one ever become obsessed with aubergines? Sure, they can be pretty good, but do you really want to eat them day in and day out?

Well, dear readers, I do.

And mark my words, after you’ve made these two recipes, I’m sure you’ll be on an aubergine binge fest too.

Exotic Aubergine “cheesecake”

It’s not an omelet. It’s not a soufflé, and no, it’s also not a quiche. It’s a little bit of all these three things and more. It is an easy peasy, hearty cheesecake that mixes soothing cream cheese with salty feta and combines aromatic spices with theflavour-absorbing texture of the aubergine.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 150gr cream cheese
  • 80gr feta cheese
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • Fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Red chili, finely sliced
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine for 5 minutes together with all the spices until everything starts to smell incredibly fragrant.
  2. Transfer the aubergine to an oven-proof dish, sprinkle over the chili pepper and half of the coriander.
  3. Mix together the eggs and cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour the batter of the aubergine mix and crumble the feta cheese over the top.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the egg mixture has set, but is still slightly wobbly in the middle. To finish, sprinkle on some extra coriander.

Smothered Sweet and Salty Aubergine with flowering garlic chives and smoked tofu

This dish may not look very dashing, but trust me, this dish is the edible equivalent of an English gentleman. The aubergine is stewed in a combination of sweet and salty flavours and in less than 15 minutes the entire mix turns into an Asian food fiesta. The intensity of the smothered aubergine is balanced with some incredibly pungent flowering garlic chives, coriander and is served with some smoky tofu. Yum!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, cut in fine chunks
  • Bunch of flowering garlic chives, finely chopped (flowers included)
  • Lots of fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey (or a bit more if necessary)
  • ¼ tsp star anise
  • ¼ tsp Chinese five spice
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 100gr smoked tofu

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add the aubergine. Fry for a couple of minutes and season with salt and pepper. Add the miso paste, honey, soy sauce and spices and let everything simmer with a good splash of water until you almost get an aubergine “mash”. Stir in the sesame oil and the chopped flowering garlic chives (you’d be amazed how garlicy this type of chives tastes!) and coriander.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the smoky tofu in a separate pan and serve everything together and sprinkle on some extra chives and coriander.
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Baking With Booze: Gin, Passion Fruit and Lime Cheesecake

Published October 2, 2014 by The Feminist

Summer is now officially over and I can’t even begin to describe how terrified I am about the prospect of colder weather. Yes, there are the really cool fall clothes. Sure, there is the really yummy fall food. But my toes are just too susceptible to the winter cold to be able to fully enjoy all of that.

Hence, I decided to remain in a summer mood for a little while longer (cuz ignorance is bliss y’all!) and conjured up this magnificent exotic cheesecake on a coconut and lime crust. This cheesecake is so sublime that even in the coldest of temperatures it will be able to light a fire in your heart. (please forgive me this cheesy quote, pun not intended.)

Gin, Passion Fruit and Lime Cheesecake on a Lime and Coconut Crust

Ingredients:

For the lime and coconut crust:

  • 100gr plain flour
  • Zest of one lime
  • 50gr caster sugar
  • 30gr desiccated coconut
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 20 gr peanut butter
  • 30gr butter

For the cheesecake:

  • 150gr sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 400gr Philadelphia light
  • Juice of 6 passion fruits, seeds removed
  • Juice of one lime
  • Zest of one lime
  • 100ml Gin

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. Put all the ingredients for the crust into a mixer and mix until you get a crumb-like consistency. Press the mix into the bottom of your tin and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Lower the oven temperature to 150°C and start with your cheesecake filling.
  3. Mix together the eggs and sugar until light and frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together the lime, passion fruit juice and gin. Pour the liquid into the egg mixture. Stir well.
  4. Slowly fold in the cream cheese until everything is well combined. Pour the mixture onto your baked crust and sprinkle the lime zest over the top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour/ 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  6. Leave to cool completely before serving (with a gin & tonic, obv. )

Sexy Spring: Grapefruit and Coconut Cheesecake With Sesame Crust

Published March 25, 2014 by The Feminist

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Hypothetically, if Hollywood ever were to release a movie starring Jamie Dornan, Ian Somerhalder, Matt Bomer, Idris Elba, Henri Cavill, Jesse Williams and Chris Hemsworth, in which all of them would take off their shirts to show off their totally ripped bods, would that not be the best movie ever made? And wouldn’t you want to devour that film over and over again?

Well, as good as that movie would be if it ever came out (Hint, Hollywood. Hint.), so good was this grapefruit and coconut cheesecake. Seriously. I am not kidding.

It was simply impossible not to go for a second serving… or a third… or a forth… whatever, I’ve lost count. The point that I am trying to make is that this cheesecake was yummier than all Magic Mike strip scenes combined. It was more heavenly delightful than watching Henri Superman Cavill fly through the air in a tight –oh so tight!– spandex suit. And it was sexier than a steamy excerpt from one of the Fifty Shades Of Grey novels.

This grapefruit and coconut cheesecake with a sesame crust is without a doubt the best thing on this planet, and I baked it. (Mental self-five!)

So in anticipation of that superb Hollywood movie (Come on, Hollywood! Think about the fortune you could make!), let’s all succumb to the heavenly taste of this cake. It’s not the same, but it sure as hell comes close!

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Ingredients:

A nutty sweet, almost smoky, flavour of the sesame crust… a smooth and creamy coconut cheesecake… and a sharp and zingy grapefruit jelly… Am I a baking genius or what? 😉

For the sesame crust:

  • 100gr plain flour
  • 50gr sesame seeds, toasted
  • 50gr butter
  • 50gr caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

For the coconut cheesecake:

  • 2dl coconut cream
  • 300gr cream cheese (I used Philadelphia Light)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100gr caster sugar
  • 3 eggs

For the grapefruit layer and jelly:

  • 4 leaves of gelatine
  • 1,5 dl fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • Flesh of 3 grapefruits

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a loose-bottomed spring form with baking parchment.
  2. Make the sesame crust. Blitz all the ingredients apart from the egg yolk together in a blender until you get a sandy consistency. Add the egg yolk and mix again.
  3. Press the sesame mix firmly in the bottom of your baking tin. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Turn down the heat of your oven to 150°C. Make the cheesecake mixture by whisking together the eggs and sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, stir together the cream cheese and coconut milk with a pinch of salt until soft. Stir the cheese mixture into the egg mix and stir well until everything is incorporated.
  5. Pour the mixture onto your prebaked sesame crust and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and firm yet wobbly to the touch.
  6. Allow to cool completely, preferably overnight, before you add the grapefruit jelly.
  7. Cut the grapefruit into dainty segments and arrange stylishly onto your cheesecake.
  8. Bring the grapefruit juice to the boil with the caster sugar, while softening the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water. Stir the gelatine leaves into the liquid and stir until dissolved. Let it cool slightly before pouring onto the cheesecake.
  9. Pour the grapefruit juice over the cheesecake and put in the fridge for at least an hour to set.

The Beauty or The Beast: dainty tarts vs. spooky brownies

Published December 9, 2013 by The Feminist

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These two baking extravaganzas couldn’t be more different from one another. One is savory, the other is sweet. One is light, the other is rich and heavy. One is a beauty, the other is a beast.

If you love baking as much as I do, there is one rule you will always have to stick to: flavour. Flavour is the key to producing good food (and on a more melancholic note: the key to a happy soul), because no matter how pretty a dish might look, it will always be the flavour that leaves a lasting impression.

These two dishes are both absolutely delicious! They are packed full of flavour, blend together the most amazing aromas and are a wonderful experience in terms of texture  and stickiness.

Their outer look on the other hand… well… that’s a different story. The fresh fig and camembert tart looks refined, pretty and feminine. The pumpkin cheesecake brownies look butchy , sloppy and masculine.

Which recipe you decide on replicating is entirely up to you, but just remember that they are each so magnificently scrumptious I would consider it a sin if you didn’t give both dishes a go. (Just sayin’)

Fresh fig and camembert Tart

This is the perfect savory tart in every possible way. The pastry is crispy and light…The rich and salty depth of the camembert is in perfect harmony with the sweet and soothing figs… The crunch of the walnut and the aroma of the honey compliments the fragrant notes of thyme so beautiful it will bring tears to your eyes…

PS: if this tart does indeed produce a waterfall of tears, I have one quick message: Get a grip, tart-loving people! (And eat it before it gets cold!  😉

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • Puff pastry
  • 4 fresh figs, cut into approx. 0,5 cm slices
  • Camembert, cut into thin slices
  • ½ tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 walnuts, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Cut out a circle out of your puff pastry. (A big one if you’re starving, or smaller ones if you would like to turn this dish into an appetizer)
  3. Prick the dough all over with a fork and layer the figs and camembert on the pastry but leaving about 1cm space along the edge.
  4. Gently fold over the edges to make sure the filling doesn’t leak out whilst in the oven.
  5. Drizzle over the honey and sprinkle on the thyme and crushed walnuts. Transfer the tart onto your baking tray.
  6. Bake into the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Pumpkin cheesecake brownies

These ugly goodies are devilishly delicious! I made them when my BFF and I were holding a Harry Potter movie marathon ( please don’t judge me!) and we needed a wizardly dessert to create the perfect magical ending to a wonderful evening. These brownies certainly did the trick! The flavour of this spooky brownie is so rich and intense, I can guarantee that after treating yourself to a large slice, you will have no problem whatsoever annihilating some creepy dementors or Death Eaters.

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Ingredients

For the pumpkin puree:

  • One butternut, cut into small chunks
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp honey

For the brownie:

  • 100gr dark chocolate
  • 100gr butter
  • 120gr caster sugar
  • 55gr plain flour
  • 2 eggs

For the pumpkin cheesecake:

  • 250gr pumpkin puree
  • 200gr cream cheese
  • 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tin with baking parchment.
  2. Make the pumpkin puree by cooking the pumpkin in hot water. Drain and mix with the spices and honey until you get a smooth paste. Leave to cool. (Preferably overnight)
  3. Make the brownie. Melt the chocolate au bain marie. Set aside to cool slightly. Mix the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Stir in the flour and mix until incorporated. Gently stir through the melted chocolate.
  4. Pour ¾ of the brownie batter in your tin and spread out evenly. Set aside the leftover batter.
  5. Make the cheesecakes mixture by mixing all the ingredients together. Pour the batter on top of the brownie. Now drop dollops of the leftover brownie batter into the cheesecake to create a cow/marble effect.
  6. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Blissful Baking: Cheesecake Brownie with Berry Mousse

Published November 16, 2013 by The Feminist

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Two classic desserts melted into a one-in-a-million flavour bomb.

That’s how I would describe this splendid recipe for comforting goodness. Add to that a wobbling layer of boozy and creamy berry mousse and you would almost start to think you’ve died and gone to heaven. A foodie heaven. Populated with Nigella- lookalike angels who keep conjuring up the most luscious desserts the Almighty Sky has to offer. A heaven where everyone is allowed to eat the entire cake -because calories no longer count when you’re dead- and where there is always a bowl of leftover batter for you to dip your finger in.

It is hard to remain grounded when you’ve just baked something as extraordinary as this. The depth and richness of the fudgy brownie forms a blissful and romantic union with the zingy and smooth cheesecake. And the sharpness of the berry mousse coats both individually outstanding layers in a veil of unprecedented aromatic balance.

No matter how you twist or turn, there aren’t enough poetic verses on this planet to describe this insanely scrumptious brownie. So I will leave it at that and give you a couple more pictures instead. Let the pictures do the talking.

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Ingredients:
This recipe is based on a Hummingbird Bakery Classic, but -as usual- I couldn’t help myself and changed some stuff to make everything more me. 😉

For the brownie:
• 150gr dark chocolate
• 75gr plain flour
• 2 eggs
• 175gr caster sugar
• 150gr butter

For the cheesecake:
• 300gr cream cheese
• 2tbsp whipping cream
• 100gr caster sugar
• 1 egg

For the Berry mousse:
• 2 leaves of gelatin
• 100gr blueberries
• 125gr raspberries
• 4tbsp cassis liqueur
• 150ml whipping cream
• 3 tsp icing sugar

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a spring form tin with baking parchment.
2. For the brownie: Melt the dark chocolate au bain marie. Whisk the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the flour and gently fold in the melted chocolate. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking tin.
3. For the cheesecake: mix all the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated. Pour the mixture on top of the brownie.
4. Bake into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
5. Beat the cream together with the icing sugar until you get stiff peaks. Put the berries in an electric mixer and mix to get a lovely coulis. Sieve the coulis so you’re left with a smooth and glossy red sauce. Stir the coulis through the whipped cream. Gently heat the cassis liqueur and add the soaked gelatin leaves. Let the leaves dissolve in the liqueur. Add the mixture to the whipped cream and pour the berry mousse on top of your cold cheesecake brownie. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Lessons from a Baking Queen: More Is More! Pecan Streusel Cheesecake Swirl Carrot Bundt Cake

Published October 14, 2013 by The Feminist

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Do you need me to repeat that? A Pecan Streusel…. Cheesecake Swirl… Carrot… Bundt Cake!

I just know that at least some of you are lying on the kitchen floor right now, drooling over the thought of so much baking magnificence, but get a grip people!

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Don’t waste your precious baking time on drooling over these pictures – how beautiful that baking hallucination may be- but run to the grocery store, buy the ingredients and get baking!

Because if there is one thing you should be baking this fall, it has got to be this one! I invented this cake in a spur of ultimate culinary intelligence and I must say that I am incredibly proud of the end result.

Once you cut into the crunchy streusel, the aroma from the cinnamon fills you with joy and laughter …. The moist carrot cake is an intense kiss of earthy goodness … and the creamy cheesecake coats your tongue in a blanket of sweet and sticky loveliness.

Remember when Julia Roberts said she was having a relationship with her pizza?

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Well, I’m having a relationship with this Bundt cake, and I have to say: me and this cake were made for each other. Inseparable. Like Yin and Yang. Or Belgians and Beer. Or Miley Cyrus and Parent Complaints.

If you want to experience the beauty of this romance yourself, here is the recipe.

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Ingredients

For the pecan streusel:
• 25gr muscovado sugar
• 40gr plain flour
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• 22gr butter
• 50gr pecans, finely chopped

For the Carrot cake:
• 280gr carrots, grated
• 30gr yoghurt
• 1 egg
• 100ml vegetable oil
• 140gr caster sugar
• 180gr plain flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• 40gr pecans, chopped
• Pinch of salt

For the cheesecake:
• 250gr cream cheese
• 1 heaped tbsp caster sugar
• 1 egg yolk

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and generously grease a bundt cake tin.
2. Make the streusel by rubbing all the ingredients together between your fingers until you get a sandy, crumble-like consistency. Put the streusel at the bottom of your bundt cake tin.
3. Make the carrot cake. Whisk together the oil, sugar, yoghurt and carrots until well combined. Stir in the egg. Sift in the dry ingredients in two separate batches. Mix until everything is smooth and shiny. Stir in the chopped pecans.
4. Now spoon in 2/3 of the mixture on top of your streusel. Leave the rest for later.
5. Make the cheesecake mixture by mixing all the ingredients together. Put the cheesecake batter into a piping bag and pipe the cream cheese in the center of tin. When it bakes this will spread slightly, but it will still create a lovely cheesecake swirl.
6. Now top the entire thing with your left-over carrot cake batter and bake into the oven for 50 minutes.
7. Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning it out onto a wire rack

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Kitchen Lust: a Passion for Passion fruit and a Long-term love affair with cheesecake

Published August 8, 2013 by The Feminist

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This could possibly be the best summery, exotic cheesecake in the world. No wait, let me rephrase that: this is the best summery, exotic cheesecake in the world! I mean, a cream cheese and Greek yoghurt filling flavoured with fresh passion fruit juice on a crunchy base of coconut, cashew and cardamom… I am literally on the verge of fainting merely by describing its wonderfulness, so you can only imagine the state of sheer oblivion I was in when I actually tasted the cheesecake! (Although I must confess that “tasting” is a rather euphemistic term for “scoffing the whole lot” 😉 )

This will be the cheesecake by which all other cheesecakes will forever be judged. It is The Cheesecake. With a capital T and a capital L. The King of cheesecakes.

I have always had a huge soft spot for cheesecake. It’s by far the most indulgent and comforting dessert there is. It’s that velvety smoothness that seems to get to me every single time. I used to believe that I would eventually grow accustomed to that soothing clinginess but until this very day I still haven’t. Yes, I now realize that it is impossible to get tired of cheesecake. It is “The Notebook” of desserts: no matter how many times you eat it, you will never ever get bored of it!

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t shake things up a bit and bring some sexy back into your long-term relationship with cheesecake. And this is where the passion fruit comes in. I find it rather impossible not to be passionate about passion fruit: it is incredibly good for you, it has the most wonderful tangy, exotic flavour and the name sounds –you have to admit- at least a tiny bit dirty. If cheesecake is The Notebook of desserts, than passion fruit is definitely the Ryan Gosling of fruit. Just imagine Ryan Gosling standing in front of you –with or without his shirt on, that’s up to you 😉 – saying “passion fruit” in a very husky voice, speaking slowly as if to emphasize the sluttiness of those S’s…

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Like I said, it’s impossible not to get passionate about passion fruit.

So If you want to do some seduction in the kitchen, I suggest making The Cheesecake!

Passion fruit cheesecake with a coconut-cashew-cardamom crust

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For the base:
• 50gr cashew nuts, finely chopped
• 50gr desiccated coconut
• 5 cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely chopped
• 75gr plain flour
• 65gr soy spread or butter
• 1tbsp water
• ½ tsp salt

For the filling:
• 4 eggs
• 150gr caster sugar
• 125ml Greek Yoghurt
• 400gr cream cheese (I used Philadelphia Light)
• 6 passion fruit, sieved to collect pulp and juice only

Method:

1. For the base, mix all the ingredients except the water together until you get a sandy consistency. Add the water and mix well until you get soft dough. Cover in cling film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a springform tin with baking parchment. Take your dough out of the fridge and press the mixture into the bottom of your tin, using the back of a spoon to create an even surface.
3. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. The pastry should be slightly golden but still raw in the middle.
4. Turn the heat of your oven down to 150°C.
5. Combine the Greek yoghurt and cream cheese together in a bowl with a pinch of salt.
6. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until you get a frothy consistency.
7. Stir the passion fruit juice in the cream cheese mixture. Then add the egg mixture and stir well until everything is well incorporated.
8. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. The cheesecake is cooked when springy to the touch and just set in the middle. I always put a large bowl of hot water at the bottom of the oven, this will keep the cheesecake moist and will prevent the top from crackling.
9. Once out of the oven, let the cheesecake cool slightly in its tin, then unclip the springform and put into the fridge for at least one hour.