Alison Mather_HThe recipe is from the ‘ABC Delicious – Simply the Best’ cookbook, by Valli Little. It’s simple but time-consuming, so best to start a day or so ahead. It’s done in three stages, with cooling and setting time between, so the labour can be split up. To make the recipe lactose and gluten-free for those that need it, I used LF versions of the milk, cream, cream cheese, GF arrowroot cookies and Nuttelex in the base. It worked fine ~ A. V. Mather

 

cheesecake-alIngedients:

300 g shortbread of digestive biscuits

¼ cup (25g) cocoa, sifted

80g unsalted butter, melted

8 gold-strength gelatine leaves (I have no idea what these are, I just used regular)

1kg cream cheese at room temperature

1 ¼ cups (275g) castor sugar

1/3 cup (80ml) milk

300ml thickened cream

¼ cup (60ml) rosewater

2x250g punnets strawberries, hulled and halved

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Grease a 22cm springform cake pan.

Place the biscuits and cocoa in a food processor and whiz until fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse to combine. Press mixture into the base of the cake pan. Place in the oven for 10-15 mins, cool on counter, and then place in the fridge to chill.

Soak 5 gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place cream cheese and ¾ cup (165g) sugar in cleaned food processor and whiz until smooth. Place the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to just below boiling point. Squeeze excess water from the gelatine, then add the gelatine to the milk, stirring until the gelatine has dissolved. Cool slightly, then add to the cream cheese mixture in the food processor and whiz to combine. Transfer to a bowl.

Beat the cream with electric beaters until soft peaks form, then fold into the cream cheese mixture with 1 tablespoon rosewater. Pour the filling over the biscuit base and gently tap the pan on the bench to dispel any pockets. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or until filling is set.

Meanwhile, place the strawberries and remaining ½ cup (110g) of sugar in a large bowl with ½ cup (125ml) of water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cover the bowl tightly with foil and place over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Simmer for 20 minutes, topping up the pan with more water if needed, until the strawberries are very soft.

Soak the remaining 3 gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.

Pass the strawberry mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl – don’t press down on the fruit, or the jelly will be cloudy. While the juice is warm, squeeze excess water from the gelatine, then stir the gelatine into the juice until dissolved. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons rosewater. Cool completely, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes until just starting to thicken. Pour the strawberry jelly over the cheesecake, then return to the fridge for 3-4 hours until the top has completely set.



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnWith Father’s Day imminent here in Australia, I thought I’d make one of my own Dad’s favourites for this month’s Cook Club – Mum’s Sponge Kisses. Now, mine didn’t turn out quite as soft and fluffy as Mum’s (what IS that phenomenon that makes your mother’s cooking better than anything, ever?) and they did collapse a little as they cooled…but hey, it was my first go and my family still gobbled them up, so I’m going to take small successes where I can.

Sponge Kisses are basically two small rounds of sponge cake sandwiched together with jam (any flavour. You pick) and whipped cream, then dusted with icing sugar. Kind of an old-fashioned treat, I guess. They’re quick, easy and make minimal mess in the kitchen.
sponge kissesWHAT YOU NEED:

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup corn flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs, separated

3/4 cup caster sugar

Whipped cream and jam to fill

Icing sugar to dust

 

HOW IT’S DONE:

Pre heat oven to 200c, line oven trays with baking paper

With your electric mixer, whip egg whites until they have stiff peaks. Gradually add caster sugar, then egg yolks one at a time.

In a separate bowl, sift plain and corn flours together, along with the baking powder. Gently fold this mix through the egg mix.

Cooking in batches, spoon heaped teaspoons of mix onto lined trays allowing room for them to spread. They only take 4-5 minutes, or until you notice them beginning to change colour. Remove carefully using a spatula – they’ll still be very soft – and place on a rack to cool.

Sandwich together using jam and whipped cream (or just cream if you prefer). Some people like to add the Kisses to the fridge at this stage for a couple of hours to soften up. Personally, I prefer to serve immediately after adding the filling, with a generous dusting of icing sugar. If needed, you can store the unfilled Kisses in a sealed container until serving time.

Next time, I might try tweaking the recipe a little by adding a touch more plain flour and baking powder.

 

Bel answers the challenge:



Belinda_kisses_tnSince Marianne is on a sugar fee-ish kick, I have a cottage cheese pie recipe I’d like to challenge you with Mandy (and I think it’s gluten free). It’s about the only recipe I make that people outside my family actually enjoy. It could make a snack for the Wrangles troops.

 

SONY DSC

Bel’s Cottage Cheese Pie

Recipe

1/2 cup white rice

2 tblsp snipped chives (optional)

30g melted butter

500g cottage cheese

6 eggs

6 rashers of bacon (diced)

5 spring onions (snipped finely)

1 spanish onion (diced)

pinch of salt

 

Method

Cook rice and allow to cool

Sweat off the bacon, onion, spring onion and allow to cool

Preheat oven to 200c

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix gently until combined

Pour mix into a greased pie dish

Cook until set and is a nice golden colour

*use a fork to stir the pie gently every 15-20 minutes during the cooking process

 

Mandy Says:

 

Mandy_HThis month in Cook Club, Bel and I traded places. That is, she was the one to challenge me with a new recipe. Well, if this one is anything to go by, Bel can challenge me – or as it turned out, us – any time. Life has been crazy-busy for our family lately, mostly due to the amount of time we’re spending with our skateboard-mad sons at skate parks.

On Saturday, I did the skate-mum thing with our three boys plus an extra, while my husband stayed and did the home-duties thing. Yes, that’s right. I passed the buck. Simon was the one to take up Bel’s challenge and make the pie. And…it was a HUGE hit with all our exhausted skaters (even the two who won’t eat rice. And the one who says he doesn’t eat cheese. They seriously demolished this thing without asking once what it contained. I call that a win for parents of fussy eaters everywhere!)

cottage cheese pie - Simon

Simon making Cottage Cheese Pie

 

cottage cheese pie 2

Ready to cook!

 

cottage cheese pie 3

Nom!

 

 



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnSo, a couple of weeks ago, the most fabulous Marianne de Pierres made a request for Cook Club. MdP doesn’t make too many requests. In fact, I pretty much get to do whatever I want for this column. So, of course, I agreed.

Cheesecake. Cheesecake! Of course, why hadn’t I thought of doing one before now? Well, that would probably be because…shock, horror…I’ve never made one. Okay, there was that fairly disastrous attempt for Christmas dessert about 18 years ago, but otherwise – nope. Cheesecake virgin. For a first real attempt, I’m happy with the result, though I’ll make some changes next time (see note at end of this post). It was demolished by my family, who are honest – if at times, harsh! – critics of anything new that comes out of my kitchen.

 cheesecake 2 2

What You Need:

I used a 22cm spring-form cake tin for this recipe.

Butter to prepare the tin.

 

Crust

350g Arnott’s Nice biscuits, which is about a pack and a half.

175g butter, melted.

 

Filling

3 x 250g packs of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature.

¾ cup of caster sugar.

1 teaspoon of lemon zest.

2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Zest of 1 lime.

Juice of 1 lime.

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

1 tablespoon of plain flour.

3 large eggs.

 

Topping

2 packets of passionfruit flavoured jelly crystals.

Cream for whipping (or err, if you’re slack and in a hurry and can’t find your piping bag… use the fizzy tinned stuff. Not that I’d know about that. Nope.)

cheesecake

How it’s Done:

Prepare your spring-form pan by greasing it with butter. You can line it with baking paper as well, but I didn’t bother. Then, break up your Nice biscuits and add them to your blender. Give them a quick blend until they resemble breadcrumbs. Slowly add the melted butter. Using your fingers and the back of a spoon, push the biscuit/butter mix over the base and up the sides of the pan, trying to keep as much of a uniform thickness as possible. I had a little mix left over. Refrigerate.

Pre-heat your oven to 175 C, or if you have a fan-forced oven like me, drop the temperature to 160 C. Using an electric mixer (I have a KitchenAid stand mixer. Best. Kitchen Toy. Ever.) on low speed, beat cream cheese and caster sugar until blended. Add the lemon and lime zests and juices, along with vanilla. Mix well. Then add the flour and blend again. Add the eggs one at a time, being careful not to overbeat. Remove prepared crust from the fridge and pour the cheese mixture into it.

Before you put your cheesecake into the oven (middle shelf), add a small bowl of warm tap-water to the bottom shelf. This is to help the crust from drying out too much. Bake for aprox. 35 minutes, or until the centre is *almost* set. Remove from oven and cool completely before carefully removing the rim. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

While your baked cheesecake is chilling, mix jelly as per packet instructions. Once set, chop roughly with a butter knife and spoon onto the top of your cheesecake. Add passionfruit pulp and decorate with whipped cream around the edges – it hides a multitude of sins! If you do (ahem) use the canned whipped cream, remember it does tend to dissolve quickly.

Confessions: Next time, I’m going to bake cheesecake for 25 to 30 mins rather than the full 35, as it was a teeny bit dry. My oven also has ‘hot spots’, and I had to be careful it didn’t bake faster on one side than the other. I also found I had nowhere near enough mixture compared to how high up the tin I’d made my crust, which is why I added the layer of jelly, rather than just candied citrus like I’d originally planned. I will however, be making it again soon after such a great reaction from my family.

Looking forward to seeing how your versions turn out, Cook Clubbers!

 



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnNow that the weather is starting to cool in our part of the world, I thought it would be a good idea to check out a warm dessert this month. Everyone loves apple pie, and I’ve used this recipe more times than I can count. While I found the original recipe in a Mrs Field’s Cookbook (yes, she of those amaaazing cookies fame), I’ve Mandy-ised it a bit over the years, playing around slightly with ingredients and quantities~Mandy

 

apple pie 2

What You Need:

Crust

3 cups of plain flour

Grated lemon zest from one large lemon

1 cup of butter (please don’t use margarine!)

Aprox 6 to 8 teaspoons of ice water

apple pie 5

Filling

8 to 10 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and then thinly sliced

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 cup of white sugar

½ cup of brown sugar (packed tightly)

½ cup of cornflour

1/3 cup of chilled butter, cut into small cubes

 

You’ll also need one large egg for the egg wash, a little more white sugar to sprinkle on top and butter to grease your pie dish. I use a 22cm ceramic dish, though a tin one is fine.

apple pie 4

How It’s Done:

Crust:

Mix the flour and lemon zest together in a large bowl – a wire whisk is easiest. Add the butter and either cut it in using two knives in a crossing motion, or if you’re a bit slack me, throw it all in the food processor for a quick spurt until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the iced water one teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together and you can push it into a ball. Divide the dough in half and flatten both halves into disks. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and pop into the fridge for at least an hour, or until it firms up.

Filling:

In a large bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon and cornflour. Again, a whisk is the easiest way to do this efficiently – you won’t need the processor! Add the apple slices to this mix and toss with a spoon until the apple slices are completely covered.

At this stage, it’s a good idea to get your oven preheating. Set it to 200 degrees Celsius.

Once your dough is firm, prepare some bench space with sprinkled flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out one piece of dough into a circle aprox 25cm in diameter. Gently (very gently) fold the crust in half and then quarters. This makes it much easier to handle. Grease your pie dish and carefully place the corner of your dough into the centre of the dish and unfold, leaving excess dough hanging over the edge. Spoon in your apple filling and sprinkle butter cubes over the top.

For the top crust, you can use one of two methods:

Roll out and then fold the remaining pastry half into quarters as you did the first time. Place over filling, crimp the edges together as decoratively as you can, and add a couple of slits into the top with a knife to allow steam to escape.

apple pie 1

OR

I prefer to roll out the remaining pastry half into a more rectangle shape, and cut into strips. Add strips to the top of your pie in a weaving pattern, which is a little fiddly, but will give you a much more traditional-looking result.

Either way, once done, whisk egg in a cup and brush over the top of your pie, then sprinkle with white sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 175 Celsius for a further 30 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes. It will still be warm, but this cooling time gives the filling a chance to solidify a little, making it easier to slice. Serve with cream, ice cream or custard (or you know, all three…)

PS – if you ever happen to come across one of Mrs Field’s Cookbooks, do yourself a favour and buy it! I have two. They’re fantastic, and oh, so pretty to look at. All recipes have American ingredients, weights and measurements, but I’ve found it quite simple to convert or substitute.

 

Belinda’s Version



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