I have been on a cooking frenzy lately. It started as a way to get photos and posts together for this blog and now I have become just a little bit addicted to searching out and trying new recipes.
When we got married just over a year ago, my mother-in-law presented us with a cookbook she had put together containing the favourite recipes of our friends and family. It was such a thoughtful gift. These are the meals that bring them and their families together at the dinner table and I love that they took the time and effort to share them with us.
Many of them have added little stories and explanations with their recipes that remind them of their childhood or cooking for old boyfriends and many of the recipes have been handed down through generations. The more I think about it the more I realise what a priceless gift it is.
I have now made a few recipes from the book which I may share in future posts but today it’s all about my sister-in-law’s amazing baked cheesecake. A recipe handed down to her by her Mum.
Funnily enough, I have discovered lately that I’m not the sweet tooth I thought I was and am way more tempted by savory treats but, this cheesecake is one I have loved for a long time so I was very excited to get the recipe and see if I could produce the same yummy results.
I decided to make a strawberry and elderflower coulis to go with it but otherwise I didn’t alter the recipe at all and I was really happy with how it turned out. It is such a great recipe, so easy (and I mean actually easy, not like all those recipes that people say are easy but aren’t!) and tastes just like shop bought baked cheesecake. No need to fuss with different bowls and splitting eggs, everything gets beaten in the same bowl, et voila!
This cake is great plain but also lends itself to being accompanied by all sorts of toppings and sauces. A great dessert for dinner parties too as it is simple and can be made in advance, but is a real crowd pleaser.
I will keep sharing different recipes from our ‘wedding cookbook’ as I try them and if someone close to you is getting married soon why not try and get a collection of recipes together for them? If they both work long days, ask people for their favourite meal that’s ready in less than 30 mins, if they have lots of friends of different nationalities, ask people to share a dish from their home country, you get the gist. Whatever you decide I’m sure it will be a much-loved gift that leads to lots of happy memories.
As one of my close friends once said to me, ‘as everyone knows, all good memories are made over good food!’Baked Cheesecake (Serves 8-10)
(adapted from my sister-in-law’s recipe)
INGREDIENTS400g McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits (26 biscuits) 125g unsalted butter, melted 500g Philadelphia Cream Cheese 125ml whipping cream 3 large (or 4 small) eggs 160g caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract
Crush the biscuits in a food processor (or by wrapping them in a clean tea towel and hitting them with a rolling pin) until they are reduced to fine crumbs. Make sure any larger pieces left over are broken down. Pour the crumbs and the melted butter in to the pie dish (approx 26 cm diametre/3 cm deep) and mix well with your hands. Press the mixture into base and sides of the pie plate and put in the fridge.
Pre heat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F. Using an electric beater, mix the cream cheese, eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Tap the bowl on the counter to remove air bubbles in the mixture. Remove pie dish from the fridge and pour the creamy mix into the pie dish and place in the oven. After 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 150˚C and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Turn oven off and leave door closed for 5 minutes. Open door slightly to allow cheesecake to cool in the oven. Once cool, place in the fridge to chill.Strawberry & Elderflower Coulis (makes approx 600ml) (inspired by this recipe I found at allrecipes.com)
INGREDIENTS450g strawberries (fresh or frozen), chopped into small pieces 50g sugar (vanilla or plain) 1 tbsp strawberry & elderflower cordial or similar
Place 2/3 of the chopped strawberries in the pan with the sugar and cordial leaving the other 1/3 aside. I make vanilla sugar by placing used vanilla pods in a bag of sugar but you can use plain sugar too. I happened to have Strawberry and Elderflower cordial which worked really well but any berry or plain elderflower cordial would work too. If you don’t have any cordial it will still work but add a little more sugar to counter the tartness of the strawberries. I don’t like things to be too sweet and am in the habit of cutting down or sometimes halving the sugar in recipes so you may wish to add more sugar to your taste.
Warm the mixture over a low heat for about 5 minutes and use a potato masher to mash the lumps of strawberry. After about another 10 minutes on low heat add the remaining strawberries. Leave on the heat for another 2-3 minutes, stir and then turn off and allow to cool. Store in a sterilised airtight jar.
I prefer to serve the coulis on the side but you could spread it over the cheesecake before cutting if you wish. You’ll probably have quite a bit of coulis left over but it won’t last long! It’s great on top of cereals, ice cream or with thick Greek-style yoghurt.