Saturday, 15 February 2014

Tia Maria Cheesecake

I love making baked cheesecakes, they always go down well in my family. The sticky toffee one has been a favourite of ours for some time now, you can check out the recipe here. During the last family gathering I decided to have a go at a different flavour.

This Tia maria one spotted here on the BBC good food website not only looked great it tasted great too ! that said the Tia Maria flavour was very delicate and I would certainly add more next time or maybe a shot of espresso to bring out the flavour. But here is the recipe I followed.

For the biscuit crust 
85g hot melted butter, plus extra for greasing
14 plain chocolate digestive biscuits, finely crushed

For the cheesecake
3 x 300g packs full fat Philadelphia cheese
200g golden caster sugar
4 tbsp plain flour
2tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp Tia Maria
3 large eggs
285ml carton soured cream

For the topping
142ml carton soured cream
2 tbsp Tia Maria
Cocoa for dusting
8 Ferrero Rocher chocolates

                                             Ingredients for Tia Maria Cheesecake 


1 Heat oven to 160C/fan 180C -  370F/ Gas 4.
line the base of a 25cm spring form tin with baking parchment.
Blend butter and biscuit crumbs. Press onto the base of the tin, bake for 10 Mins, then cool.

2 Increase the oven temp to 240C/fan 200C - 475F / Gas 9 
Beat the cheese and sugar with an electric whisk until smooth ( I used a stand mixer ) 
With the beaters still mixing add the flour, vanilla, 2 tbsp Tia Maria, eggs, and 285ml soured cream.

3 Grease sides of the cake tin with butter. Pour in the mixture and smooth.
Bake for 10 Mins, then turn oven down to 110C/fan 90C - 225F / Gas 1/4 for 25 Mins. ( at this point the mixture seemed too loose so I baked for a further 25 Mins ) 
Turn off the oven, then open the door and leave to cool inside the oven for two hours.
Don't worry if it cracks a little ( mine did) the decoration hides this. 

4 Mix together 142 ml soured cream and Tia Maria, then smooth over the top of the cheesecake and chill. ( I left mine overnight ) 

5 To decorate simply sieve good quality cocoa powder over the top ( I used Green & Blacks Cocoa ) and   Ferrero Rocher chocolates. 

Delice Au Cassis

This Christmas I wanted to make something a little different for dessert to offer the family. After the usual extra large roast we all put on for Christmas, traditional Christmas pudding (although lovely) is rather heavy and can result in everyone feeling sickly stuffed. This Delice Au Cassis fits the bill perfectly. Not only does it act as the show stopper but it's very light to eat and tastes Divine. You only have to look at the list of ingredients to know it will taste great. 

In his book Deserts James Martin describes this desert as an advanced pastry but one of the best looking and tasting deserts in this book.  I'm not a very confident desert maker but I had tried this many years ago and remembered how well it turned out so I decided this was the one to end our Christmas feast.

Admittedly making this desert isn't the easiest of tasks to do and during it's construction I did curse myself for taking it on. I think I must have used every pot and pan, bowls, stand mixer and hand mixers I own and my poor partner was dragged into the process to help and constantly wash up but it was all worth it. It was a triumph and I will make it again but maybe not too soon...... 

This desert includes an Italian Meringue which is on a separate recipe page from the Delice Au Cassis. So for the benefit of people who don't have the book I will show in this blog how I did the whole desert. 

It's best to think of this desert in stages as its made up of layers. Fruit puree, fruit mousse, fruit glaze, Italian meringue, whipped cream. The only easy part is the base which calls for a ready made sponge Thank The Lord ! 

One change I did make was I used Blackberries instead of Blackcurrants as I had lots in the freezer from my allotment and this was the perfect way to use them up.

For the sugar syrup. 
375g Sugar
325ml Water
30g liquid glucose

For the Blackberry Puree. 
350g Blackcurrants 
50ml of the sugar syrup (already made) 

For the Italian Meringue. 
3 egg whites
80 ml of sugar syrup  ( already made )

For the Blackberry mousse. 
4 1/2 gelatine leaves and a bowl of cold water to soak them in
Blackberry puree - bar 4tbs from what you've already made
12g Powdered milk
1/2 Vanilla pod
3 Egg yolks
25g Caster sugar
Italian Meringue - from recipe above
200ml Creme De Cassis 
400ml Double cream

For the glaze
3 gelatine leaves - and a bowl of cold water to soak them in
50 ml of sugar syrup - (already made) 
3 tbsp Blackberry puree - already made

For the base.
Ready made sponge flan to fit a 25cm/ 10in flan ring ( 6cm / 2 1/2 in deep) 

Blackcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries for decorating. 

First thing make the sugar syrup which will be divided up into portions later in this recipe.

To make the syrup, place the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for about 3 minutes, skimming the surface if necessary. If using a saccharometer, the reading should be 30c Beaumé or 1.2624 on the density scale. Press the syrup through a conical strainer and leave until cold before using. 

Puree the Blackcurrants in the blender with 50ml of the syrup, then pass the puree through a conical strainer. 

Reserve 4tbsp of blackcurrant puree and set aside, this will be used for the glaze. 

Soak 4 1/2 gelatine leaves in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain. 

Put the rest of the puree in a saucepan with the powdered milk and vanilla pod; bring to the boil.

To make the mousse whisk the yolks and sugar in a bowl until they form a ribbon. Pour the boiling puree onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously, then pour back into the pan over a low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula until the mousse coats the spatula. Do not boil.

Remove from the heat and stir the drained gelatine into the mousse. Discard the vanilla, then strain the mousse into a bowl and leave to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming.

Place the sponge flan onto a serving plate. Place a 25cm flan ring, 6cm deep, onto the sponge and cut around to make the base. 

Mix together 50ml syrup and 1 tbsp puree and brush over the sponge. 

To make the Italian Meringue measure 80 ml of the syrup and reheat, when it reaches 110 C / 225 F on your thermometer start beating your egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff. When the sugar syrup has reached 121 C / 250 F take it off the heat. Your egg whites should now be well risen and firm. Set your mixer to its lowest speed and gently pour on the cooked sugar in a thin stream, taking care not to let it run onto the whisks. Continue to beat at a low speed until the mixture is almost completely cold - this will take around 15 minutes. The Meringue is now ready to use. 

When the mousse is lukewarm, gently fold in the meringue, then the creme de cassis.

Using a balloon whisk. Beat the double cream until it forms a ribbon. 

Using a spatular, gently fold the cream into the mixture.

Now assemble the dessert immediately, before the mouse sets. Fill the flan ring with the mousse, leaving a 3mm gap at the top. Smooth over the surface with a palette knife. Place in a freezer or very cold fridge for several hours.

To glaze, soak the remaining 3 gelatine in cold water for 15 minutes,then drain well. Mix 150ml syrup with the remaining puree and stir in the drained gelatine. Then pour the glaze on top of the desert. Quickly blowtorching the glaze removes any air bubbles and gives it a mirror like finish. Leave it to set in a fridge.


To remove the ring, heat the outside with a blow torch for a few seconds, then slide the ring up. Decorate with fruit to serve.