Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring Bakers April - Apple Crumble Cheesecake

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Mmmmmm cheesecake! I'm kind of known as the cheesecake girl and am inclined to make one whenever I'm asked to bring dessert. I made this for Easter Sunday and it was the perfect finish to a lunch of gorgeous roast lamb.

Apple Crumble Cheesecake ~
Modified from Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake

250g shredded wheat biscuits
125g melted butter
1 ts cinnamon

apple filling:
3 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced
2 tbs butter
2 tbs brown sugar

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp apple juice concentrate
2 ts cinnamon
1/4 ts ground cloves
1/4 ts ground nutmeg

crumb topping:
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped roughly
1/2 cup brown sugar
100g melted butter
2 ts cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Boil a large jug of water ready to use when baking.

2. Combine crust ingredients in a food processor and process and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Saute the apples, butter and brown sugar together over medium heat until tender and caramelised, approx 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. It should be rough and lumpy. If it is too smooth leave in the fridge until you are ready to use and then roughly break up the pieces.

5. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, spices and apple juice concentrate and blend until smooth and creamy.

5. Pour half the batter into prepared crust and top with the apple slices. Pour over the remaining cheesecake batter and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

6. Bake for 20 minutes then remove from the oven and sprinkle over the crumble topping. Return to the oven and bake for a further 25-35 minutes until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge. The crumble topping will be firm and golden brown but there will still be a jiggle in the cheesecake underneath. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

The taste test ...

YUM!!! This was a near perfect cheesecake experience. My only gripe would be that the ratio of creamy cheesecakey goodness to crust/topping was a little off. Next time I would make this in a smaller, deeper pan so each piece was a little more balanced.

Thanks to Jenny for a fun and easy bake this month!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Our new arrival

We are thrilled to announce the birth of our healthy son Oscar Theodore on Monday 20th April at 10.20am - 3.6kg/7lbs 9oz, 51cm/20 in. More details to come but here is one of my favourite pics, taken at 5 days old ...

Blogging may be a little sparse for the next few weeks but I will be back!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: 4 Star Chocolate Bread Pudding

This week's pick made me very happy as I love bread pudding! I hadn't tried a chocolate version before so was curious to taste the results.

As it was around Easter I decided to replace the challah/brioche with leftover hot cross buns. I made a smaller version than the recipe using 4 buns each sliced into 9 rough cubes which fit perfectly into the dish. I also figured this would add enough dried fruit and spice so I left out the raisins.

The taste test ...

I think I must be a bread & butter pudding purist, because while I liked this I didn't love it. We actually had a little piece leftover that ended up in the rubbish. That NEVER happens in this house! I think the chocolate flavour overwhelmed it. Maybe it was using hot cross buns rather than plain brioche. But then chocolate hot cross buns are fabulous. I just don't know!

Thanks to Lauren of Upper East Side Chronicle for this week's pick. You can find the recipe on her blog!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No TWD this week

Apologies to Holly from Phe/MOM/enon who chose the 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte - I just didn't get around to it and am totally chocolated out after Easter!

Make sure you visit her blog for the recipe. Sounds like it was a winner!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Banana Cream Pie

As an Aussie, to me a Banana Cream Pie conjures images of 1950s America. However like lots of recipes while it may be retro, it is definitely delicious!

I decided to make minis using my brand new baby tart tins purchased on a whim a few weeks ago. Because they are so shallow, I knew I wouldn't be able to layer the pastry cream and banana and decided instead to combine the two. By mashing the banana and folding it through I ended up with the most luscious banana custard you can imagine. Sure it looks like baby food but I would eat this straight out of the bowl any day!

I'm sure you can guess what happened though - the mashed banana really affected the consistency of the pastry cream and it oozed everywhere when I cut it. Bummer.

I then simply piped the whipped cream on top (I actually forgot I needed sour cream for this so mine was plain cream). I really need to work on my piping skills but a sprinkle of cinnamon and a banana slice for decoration makes all the difference!

The taste test ...

Fabulous! I loved the contrast between the crisp buttery crust, sweet spiced custard and smooth cream. Even a mini was a bit too much for one serve but I gave it a good go. These were pure comfort food and incredibly easy to make. I can see this becoming a real family favourite.

Thank you to Amy of Sing for Your Supper for this week's pick. We loved it! You can find the recipe on Amy's blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


For the first time ever I completely forgot about TWD. And I mean completely!

Jayne of the Barefoot Kitchen Witch chose Coconut Butter Thins this week and they sound delicious. Nothing too fancy but golden, buttery, some nice flavours. I think I would have liked them. Oh well. Make sure you visit her blog for the recipe!

What I have been doing this week is some menu planning. The aim being to eat a fairly varied diet over the next few weeks and also to build up our frozen meal supplies for the babymoon:

Monday 30th - Apricot Chicken with Herbed Couscous

Tuesday 31st - Macaroni and Cheese with Sautéed Mushrooms and Bacon (Doubled for Freezer)

Wednesday 1st - Tomato Soup with Toast

Thursday 2nd - Hamburgers with the lot

Friday 3rd - Roast Chicken with Vegetables

Saturday 4th - Homemade Curry (Doubled for Freezer)

Sunday 5th - Tacos

Monday 6th - Fish and Chips

Tuesday 7th - Chicken and Sweet Potato Casserole (Doubled for Freezer)

Wednesday 8th - Lamb Steaks with Greek Salad

Thursday 9th - Tuna and Caper Pasta Salad

Friday 10th - Steak and Guiness Pie (Doubled for Freezer)

We also did minor bathroom renovations this weekend because I couldn't stand the 70s yellow walls anymore and I organised my baking cupboard.

Just on that issue, I have 16 muffin trays. Why would any sane person need so many muffin trays? Sure there are minis, regulars and texas sized pans, some have 12 holes (and therefore don't even fit in our oven here) and some only have 6. But still. I hardly ever make muffins. I shall have to remedy that.
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