Sunday, April 5, 2009

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

We had friends over for dinner so I have a few new recipes to share. The nibbles at the beginning and the dessert were new, untried recipes; always interesting/stressful/insane. I can't help myself really, I start to peruse my recipe collection and always become drawn to something - 'Oh that looks good. I haven't tried it before. I think I'll do that.' I have made alot of baked cheesecakes before but never ventured into the 'gelatine-set-in-the-fridge' type. Let me just say despite my previous jelly post about my excessive use of gelatine in the past - GELATINE IS NOT MY FRIEND.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

250g plain sweet biscuits
90g unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons gelatine
500g cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup lemon juice
½ cup caster sugar
1 ¼ cups/315mls cream, whipped
250g frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons caster sugar, extra for with the raspberries

Grease and line, with baking paper, a 23cm spring form tin. Finely crush the biscuits (a plastic zip-lock bag and a rolling pin are great and non-messy for this). In a bowl mix the crushed biscuits and melted butter. Place this mixture into the tin and press it up the sides and base as evenly as you can. Refrigerate the base for 20 minutes or until it is firm.

Prepare your gelatine, follow the instructions on the pack you have as some are dissolved in cold water and some are dissolved in hot. This was a revelation to me as I had only come across those dissolved in cold water before but I used a new brand for this recipe and its instructions required you to dissolve the gelatine in hot water. DO NOT allow your gelatine to ‘set’ before you mix it into the rest of the filling ingredients. I was not paying attention, in a rush as usual, and I added the gelatine without really having a good look at its consistency. The phrase cream covered elephant boogers comes to mind – perhaps there is an opening in the gourmet food market there somewhere, but where escapes me at this particular point in time. Well after I removed all said ‘boogers’ I added the mixable type of dissolved gelatine as opposed to the disgusting brown lumpy type and I continued with the cheesecake.

Whip the cream and set aside. The recipe did not stipulate what type of peaks were required i.e. soft or nearly butter, so I just went for medium and that seemed to work. Beat the cream cheese until creamy then add the juice and sugar and continue to beat until smooth. The recipe suggested low fat cream cheese but low fat and cheesecake do not really go together as far as I’m concerned. Let’s be honest, it is not really going to matter how low fat the cheesecake is if you spend the next few days consuming the leftovers. My Mum’s technique is to eat a half of a slice at a time, the only problem is you always go back for the other half! Gently fold in the whipped cream and half the non-set gelatine.

Process the raspberries and extra sugar in a food processor until smooth and then push the puree through a sieve to remove any pips. Fold the remaining gelatine through the strained raspberry puree. Alternate blobs of the cheesecake mixture with the raspberry mixture and swirl with a skewer. Do not use a fork, as I did, as the raspberries blend more than swirl.

Refrigerate for four hours or until set. I decorated the plate with a swirl of whipped cream and more raspberries, although a swirl of raspberry puree artfully dripped around the plate would also look good.

Important tip: make the gelatine mix after you have fully prepared both the cheesecake mix and raspberry puree as between mixing the gelatine into the cheesecake and sieving the puree so it was ready for the gelatine, my gelatine set once more. I had to make the gelatine mix three times before I was finally able to finish the cake

I gave this recipe 8/10. It was very nice but I think I will try to add more raspberries next time for an even more intense raspberry taste. This recipe came from page 51 of 'The Essential Dessert Cookbook'. There are quite a few books in this series. We have five of them; I can highly recommend them as a very good start to your cookbook collection. They contain a good mix of recipes.

May your cheesecake always set and its fat never find your thighs ;)

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