Blueberry Mousse Cheesecake

Since returning from my travels, I’ve been getting back into the swing of baking slowly – a few cookies to take into the office here, using up an old box of cake mix there – but nothing too extravagant or challenging.

I decided it was time to step it up a notch for my mum’s birthday, with this blueberry mousse cheesecake.

She’s not a cakey-cake sort of person, and definitely prefers fruit desserts to chocolate, so a fruity cheesecake seemed ideal (not to mention that it’s my favourite thing to bake).

I made a sponge base, because I think it’s a nice change to biscuit sometimes, a fairly standard fail-safe new york cheesecake recipe, and then a slightly more troublesome blueberry mousse on top.

I wanted to make the mousse without gelatine because it scares me a little, so decide to try a sort of fake mousse with melted white chocolate and whipped cream, which I’ve used to fill cakes before.

To give it the blueberry flavour and colour, I boiled down a pack of frozen blueberries and strained to make a coulis, then added this in – half into the melted white chocolate and half into the cream, for no reason other than I didn’t know which way would work best.

After pouring the mousse on top of the cheesecake I started to have doubts about whether it would set, so scraped it off, added more melted white chocolate, whipped it up some more and put it back. I really needn’t have done that, as left overnight it would have set up just fine, but lesson learnt I suppose.

I decorated the cake with the leftover blueberry coulis, and it looked rather nice I think.

My mum liked it, and even had a second slice for breakfast, and my dad and step dad seemed to like it too. I’d like to have another go and make a raspberry one to perfect the mousse, and I think you could come up with some great combinations if you changed up the flavour of the cheesecake as well.

Note – I made a 6″ cake because there were only going to be four of us eating it, but you could totally double up to make a 9″ one and the method would be exactly the same.

Blueberry Mousse Cheesecake

For the base:

  • 50g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 40g self raising flour
  • 10g desiccated coconut

For the cheesecake:

  • 300g cream cheese
  • 100g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 75ml creme fraiche

For the mousse:

  • 300g frozen blueberries
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 150ml whipping cream

To make the base, beat all the ingredients together until smooth then pour into a greased and lined 6″ round tin. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden. Leave to cool in the tin, then remove and level the top – you only want the sponge to be about 1cm thick.

For the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese to soften then add the sugar and lemon zest and beat to combine. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and beat; then the eggs and beat; then finally the creme fraiche. And beat.

Put the sponge back in the bottom of the tin and pour the cheesecake mixture on top. Bake at 170 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 120 and bake for another hour. I always have a tray on the shelf underneath with about an inch of water in, this creates steam and helps to stop the cheesecake cracking. After baking, leave in the oven to cool, then transfer to the fridge.

To make the mouse, start by heating the blueberries in a saucepan until all the juices have been released and it’s starting to thicken. Blend either in a food processor or with a stick blender, then pass through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.

Melt the white chocolate and leave to come to room temperature. Whisk the cream until it’s lightly whipped. Add a couple of spoonfuls of cream into the chocolate to loosen it, then add the chocolate back into the cream and fold in gently. Add the blueberry coulis a few spoonfuls at a time until you get a good flavour and colour, taking care not to add too much in case the mousse becomes too runny, and remember to keep some back for decoration.

Remove the cooled cheesecake from the tin, then line the tin with cling film and put it back in. This is a thousand times easier to do with a loose bottomed tin so you can keep the cake on that. Pour the mousse on top of the cheesecake and spread level, then leave in the fridge overnight to set.

When you’re ready to serve, gently lift the cake out of the tin, remove the cling film and transfer to a serving plate. Drizzle the remaining coulis on top and make it look all pretty, then you’re done!

 

Mango sticky rice

It’s been a while, but I am back!

Six and a half months of travelling are now sadly over, and it’s back to reality in the UK.

I’m not quite ready to forget my exotic adventures though, and so I have a super summery recipe from my time in Asia to share with you.

As I mentioned in my previous post, while I was in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, I took part in an all day cooking course at an organic farm.

(This photo is skinny me – I’ve come home a good stone heavier and now am on a serious diet and exercise kick to lose it again!)

After a starter of coconut soup with shrimps, delectable mains of sweet and sour stir fry and a green chicken curry, plus pad Thai to take home, we set to making a traditional Thai dessert – perhaps the most well known of all – mango sticky rice.

You can find it on the dessert menu of any restaurant in Thailand, and it’s as simple as it sounds, just fresh mango with coconut sticky rice.

I don’t actually like sticky rice, it’s far too chewy and dense, but when the texture is loosened a little by the coconut milk, sweetened with palm sugar balanced with a pinch of salt, and paired with the mango, it’s sort of ok.

What I like most about it though is the presentation. You can do it how ever you like, but with a little natural blue colouring in the rice, sesame seeds scattered on top and a flower to decorate, I was more than pleased with how mine turned out.

The recipe below is from the cookbook I got to take home, and if you happen to be in Chiang Mai I would highly recommend the school I went to, which was Thai Farm Cookery School.

Mango Sticky Rice

  •  1 cup steamed sticky rice (there are some good instructions for cooking here)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) coconut milk
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp palm or brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp roasted mung beans
  • 1 pandan leaf (this might be tricky to get outside of Asia, so you could substitute with a vanilla pod)

Put the coconut milk and pandan leaf or vanilla pod in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Remove from the heat, take the leaf out, and add the sugar and salt to taste.

Transfer to a bowl and add the steamed sticky rice, mix well. You can add some food colouring if you like, we had a blue flower for ours, but it isn’t essential.

Put the rice on a plate and sprinkle with the mung beans. Add the sliced mango and arrange to look pretty, using flower or leaf garnishes if you have them.

Salted caramel aubergine chocolate torte (GF)

Sorry for the slightly long title, but I really needed to include all the key elements of this cake so you know what we’re talking about.

First up, I lied – it’s not a cake. It it deliciously dense and squidgy, it sinks in the middle – it’s definitely a torte.

It’s chocolate. Super chocolate. But it also has probably the weirdest vegetable I’ve baked with replacing any butter or oil – aubergine.

And then there’s the salted caramel. What dessert isn’t improved by salted caramel?!

This is really a hybrid of two recipes from Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes – Harry Eastwood’s Heartache Cake, which I’ve made before, and a Velvet Salted Caramel Torte.

To make sure the caramel layer would stay in place and not mix in with the cake batter, I tweaked Harry’s recipe to whisk the egg whites separately and fold them into the mix last, so it would hold the weight of the caramel.

It worked – you can’t see too clearly in the photos, but there was a definite layer of caramel, and it took a great chocolate torte to another level – so, so good!

Seriously, don’t be put off by the aubergine, or the hassle of making caramel, it really is worth it – if only I could have another slice now…

Salted caramel aubergine chocolate torte (adapted from the Heartache Cake and Velvet Salted Caramel Torte in Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes)

For the caramel:

  • 90g caster sugar
  • 45ml water
  • 60g butter
  • 60ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or more if you’re a salt fiend like me)

For the cake:

  • 1 medium aubergine (around 220g)
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 medium eggs, separated
  • 100g clear honey
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

For the caramel, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan stirring until the sugar dissolves, then leave to simmer until the syrup thickens and turns a rich amber colour. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter, cream and salt. Pour into a bowl or jug and set aside to cool.

Pierce the aubergine with a skewer or sharp knife all over, microwave for about 8 minutes on high, then leave until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin, then puree the flesh in a food processor until no lumps remain. Stir in the chopped chocolate until melted – you might need to give it another quick blast in the microwave.

Beat the egg yolks, honey, cocoa powder, almonds and baking powder for about a minute, then add the aubergine chocolate mixture and beat again until well combined. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl, then fold these into the cake batter a third at a time.

Spread two thirds of the mixture into a greased and lined 6″ round tin. Pour the caramel on top and spread to within 1cm of the edge of the tin. Top with the remaining cake mix and try to spread it as evenly as you can to cover the caramel.

Bake on a low shelf at 180 degrees (160 fan) for about half an hour, until the cake has risen and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely – it will sink in the middle, but that’s what you want. Remove from the tin, then slice and serve.

Caramelised rum and coconut pina asadas, and a big dose of guilt

As what I would consider a truly amateur food blogger, it’s always a lovely surprise when I’m contacted by anyone asking me if I would like to review their product/book/restaurant, and as long as it fits in with the content of my blog I’m happy to do it.

The only problem is, sometimes I end up with just too many things to post about and not enough time, which means it can take a little longer than I’d like to write up the posts.

I have what I think of as a guilt chest – all the things I know I should do, and feel terrible about not doing, but just haven’t quite go around to doing.

The biggest dose of guilt in it is for a cookbook I was sent months and months ago – and actually love – but until now hadn’t blogged about.

World Food Cafe: Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey has been written by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott, who run the World Food Cafe in London’s Covent Garden.

World Food Cafe Quick & Easy

The book contains more than one hundred veggie recipes, literally from all around the world. It’s split into sections by country – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Chile, Cuba, Japan, Laos, Helsinki & Lapland, Namibia, Syria and Vietnam – each with the story of Chris and Carolyn’s travels in that country, and lots of notes about the traditional dishes accompanying the recipes themselves.

Part of the reason it’s taken me so long to write this up is that I made loads of the savoury recipes straight away, but wanted to wait until I’d baked something sweet to post the recipe for. I couldn’t let it drag into the new year though, so now is the time to get rid of the guilt!

I love South American food so immediately gravitated towards Cuba to make the Huevos Habaneros (eggs from Havana) and the Sweetcorn and Caramelised Onion Tortilla de Papa, both of which were delicious.

After cooking my way around some of the other countries, I returned to Cuba to make these Caramelised Rum and Coconut Pina Asadas. I have to say, I think they would taste a million times better sat on a beach on a sunny evening in Cuba than they did in my kitchen on a cold December evening, but regardless it was a delicious dessert that I will definitely make again.

A big part of the reason I loved this recipe is the generous glug of dark rum involved – I love rum in general, but paired with pineapple, coconut, cinnamon and lime, it really is like tropical heaven.

My photos absolutely don’t do this dish justice, it was so good and I will definitely make it again. I also plan to keep trying new recipes from the World Food Cafe cookbook, as there are so may that sound amazing – the only slight downside is that a lot of them use ingredients I suspect most people don’t already have in their store cupboards, but if the ones I’ve tried so far are anything to go by it’s worth stocking up.

Caramelised rum and coconut pina asadas

  • 1/2 medium pineapples, sliced into 4 rings
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp demerara sugar
  • grated coconut
  • vanilla ice cream to serve

Melt the butter over a low heat, then add the rum, lime, cinnamon and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the pineapple and leave to marinade for half an hour.

Heat a griddle pan and lay the pineapple slices in it. Sprinkle the coconut on top, and baste with the leftover butter mixture. Once the underneath has caramelised, flip over to cook the other side and sprinkle with more coconut and baste with more butter.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – and a perhaps a side of rum if you have any going spare…

Hazelnut and salted caramel bûche de Noël

When I signed up for the Plymouth Chamber Christmas Bake Off, all I really wanted was to do well enough to get to the final week, as the theme was cake and I much prefer baking cakes to biscuits, bread or pastry.

However, by the time I got there, down to the final three contestants, I’d be lying if I said a bit of competitiveness hadn’t started to creep in.

I had to create a festive-themed showstopper cake, and knew straight away that I wanted to do a bûche de Noël – the question was, how would I make it stand out against the other two entries?

Decoration was one of the judging criteria, so I knew I had to go over the top. Giant cake board, covered in green sugarpaste, meringue mushrooms, holly leaves and berries, a fondant robin, gold almond pine cone and even a little ladybird, added at the last minute to fill a gap in the forest floor.

I struggled more deciding on what flavours to go with, but fate intervened when I had to go and meet with a chef for work – the fantastic Tom Milby from the Pandora Inn at Restronguet Creek, on the south coast of Cornwall.

I told Tom one of the options I was considering was salted caramel, and he suggested pairing it with something nutty – and then gave me a tub of the most beautiful Callebaut hazelnut praline paste, which is what turned a good cake into an amazing one.

I folded the praline into whipped cream for the filling, and made a salted caramel chocolate ganache to cover the cake. The two flavours complimented each other perfectly, and I was very happy with the outcome.

The judging of the final round of the bake off was led by Chris Tanner, one half of the Tanner Brothers who own two excellent restaurants in Plymouth and are cookery tv show regulars.

So, how did I do? Well, I won!! Amazing! Apparently my cake was ‘the clear winner’, and Chris said he loved all my detailing and decoration as well as the taste.

My prizes are a bread baking masterclass at the Devonport Column Bakehouse, and tickets to see Paul Hollywood when he brings his tour to Plymouth next year. Aside from the prizes though, I’m just thrilled to have won, and for an actual proper chef to say he likes my baking! Such an awesome Christmas present 🙂

Hazelnut and salted caramel bûche de Noël (loosely adapted from a Mary Berry yule log recipe and a Hummingbird Bakery chocolate ganache)

  • 4 medium eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 65g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder

For the filling:

  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 100g hazelnut praline paste

For the ganache icing:

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 180ml double cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g dark chocolate, chopped

For the sponge, whisk together the eggs and sugar until really light and fluffy and tripled in volume – at least 4-5 minutes of whisking. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, and fold in gently, taking care not to knock the air out of the mixture. Spread into a 14×10″ baking tin, lined with baking paper, and bake at 200 degrees (180 fan) for 8-10 minutes,  or until springy and pulling away from the edges of the tin.

Lay out another piece of baking paper and dust liberally with icing sugar. Turn out the sponge onto the paper, and peel off the backing paper from the underneath of the sponge. Score a line along one of the long edges of the sponge, about 1″ from the edge, then starting from that side tightly roll up the sponge and leave to cool.

To make the cream filling, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold a third of it into the hazelnut praline to loosen the mixture, then fold in the rest.

For the ganache, heat the caster sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan with 60ml of water. Heat the cream and salt in a separate pan and set aside. Keep the caramel pan on the heat and simmer until it turns a lovely deep golden colour, then quickly whisk in the heated cream mixture, stirring until it stops bubbling.

Pour the caramel over the chopped chocolate, and stir until all the chocolate melts. Leave to cool to room temperature, when it should be a spreadable consistency. If it seems too thick, you can reheat and add a little more cream, then leave it to cool again.

To assemble, unroll the sponge and spread the hazelnut cream all over. Re-roll as tightly as you can, then trim the two ends to neaten it. Cut the log a third of the way down at a 45 degree angle, to create a piece to use as the branch. Place the two pieces on whatever cake board or serving plate you’re using, then cover with the chocolate ganache. To get the bark-like effect, I just used a butter knife to roughly spread the icing lengthways down the log, then swirled it on the ends of the branches.

Dust with icing sugar and serve!

If you want to make meringue mushrooms, there’s a great tutorial over on Sprinkle Bakes – they’re easier than they look, but they are very fragile – at least a third of mine broke before getting anywhere near the cake!

Christmas profiteroles

I know I’ve been slow updating on my progress in the Bake Off competition I mentioned previously, and anyone who follows me on Twitter will already know the outcome, but here’s my week 3 pastry round update – I made profiteroles and got through to the final!

These are chocolate choux buns, with a chocolate orange and brandy cream filling, decorated with white chocolate and holly berries and leaves, to look like mini Christmas puddings.

For the competition, I decided I needed to up the ante on presentation, so I also made fondant icing snowmen and penguins, which turned out rather cute if I do say so myself!

The actual profiteroles were great, a festive flavour combination that would hopefully please anyone who doesn’t like actual Christmas pudding.

The judges must have liked them too, as I was put through to the final round, in which I went head to head with two other bakers  in the festive cake round – I will probably post the update on that when I can’t stand any more family Christmas time tomorrow…

Christmas profiteroles (adapted from Holly Bell’s recipe)

  • 60g cold butter, cubed
  • 150ml cold water
  • 55g strong white flour
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs

For filling and decorating

  • 75g marscapone
  • 50g orange flavoured dark chocolate
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • 1-2 tsp brandy
  • 50g white chocolate
  • holly leaf and berry decorations (I got mine from Asda)

Start by getting all your ingredients laid out, as there’s no time for faffing about when making profiteroles! Holly’s instructions for making the pastry and baking the profiteroles are pretty comprehensive so I won’t repeat them, just add in the cocoa powder at the same time as the flour and sugar.

For the filling, start by melting the chocolate in a small bowl. Leave to cool, then beat in the marscapone and brandy (to taste, my taste is for a strong kick!) In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold into the chocolate mixture a third at a time. Use a piping bag to fill each of the profiteroles, piping into the hole you made to let the steam out.

To decorate, melt the white chocolate then spoon on top of each bun, letting it run down the sides. Add a few leaves and berries, then leave to set.

Someone at work said they were like profiterole canapes, which I think is a great idea if you’re having a Christmas party! Just keep them in the fridge and get them out about 30 mins before serving.

We_Should_Cocoa_V3

As these do have a nice good glug of brandy in, I’m going to enter them into this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by Choclette, who chose alcohol as the festive theme. Excellent choice!

Cherry cheesecake

cherry cheesecake

If there’s one fruit I’ve really gone crazy for this year, it’s cherries.

They’ve never really been my favourite, and I one point I wouldn’t touch them, but this year I just can’t get enough. It may well have something to do with the fact that when I was in Romania cherry trees were in abundance, and the fruits they produced were the sweetest, juiciest cherries I have ever tasted.

DSCF3792

My host in my first week in Romania, Christina, gave me a jar of her homemade cherry jam to bring home with me. I somehow managed to look after it for 3 more weeks of travelling around, and decided that I would save it for something special – and really, what could be more special than cheesecake?

Cheesecake is one of my favourite desserts, both to bake and to eat, and cherry cheesecake is a classic flavour combination.

I based my cheesecake on this recipe from BBC Good Food, but rather than making a cherry puree I used my fab cherry jam. It’s nothing like a ‘jam’ you would buy here, it’s more like whole cherries in a thick sort of syrup, and it’s not as sweet as a jam either – the downside of this is you can, and I do, eat it by the spoonful…

Instead of a creme fraiche topping I used more cream cheese, beaten with a little sugar, and used fresh cherries to decorate. The jam swirled into the cheesecake mixture created wonderful little fruity bursts in each bite, and the texture was, for me, spot on.

If you want to make this, I would recommend either buying the absolute best jam you can find, or making your own, otherwise I think it would end up being too sweet. I hope that doesn’t put you off though, because it really was delicious!

Cherry cheesecake (adapted from BBC Good Food)

For the base:

  • 140g digestive biscuits
  • 35g butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 500g medium fat cream cheese
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 100ml low fat creme fraiche
  • 100g cherry jam

For the topping:

  • 100g medium fat cream cheese
  • 15g icing sugar
  • 8-10 cherries, halved and stoned

To make the base, blitz the biscuits in a food processor to form fine crumbs, then with the mixer running pour in the melted butter. Press the biscuit crumbs down into the base of an 8″ springform tin, and bake for about 10 minutes at 170 degrees, until just starting to crisp.

While the base is cooling, make the cheesecake filling. Beat the cream cheese and caster sugar together until smooth, then add the eggs, vanilla, cornflour, lemon zest and juice and beat again. Finally, add the creme fraiche, beat and pour over the cooled base.

Bake the cheesecake with a tray of hot water on the shelf below, for 10 minutes at 170 degrees, then reduce the heat to 110 degrees and bake for a further hour – the cheesecake should be set but still wobble. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge overnight.

For the topping, beat the icing sugar into the cream cheese and spread over the cheesecake. Arrange the halved cherries around the edge to decorate.

Peanut butter cheesecake

Peanut butter cheesecake

Peanut butter cheesecake has been on my to-bake list since I first started this blog.

Up until maybe two years ago, I never liked peanut butter, and I couldn’t understand why anyone else did either. I wouldn’t bake with it, and I certainly wouldn’t eat it straight up – it’s not sweet, why would you?!

Before I was converted to the true delights of peanut butter, there was only ever one exception to my hating – a peanut butter cheesecake my mum made when I must have been about 9 years old.

Luckily my mum is the most organised woman you will ever meet, and so when I asked if she still had the recipe, the answer was of course yes.

I set about making the cheesecake myself, as a celebration of my new found peanut butter love but also to stir up a few childhood memories of good cake.

It’s a pretty simple recipe, with a chocolate chip cookie crust and creamy peanut butter filling, studded with chocolate coated peanuts. No need for any sort of topping or icing, it’s perfectly rich and decadent as it is.

My only complaint would be that it’s a little flatter than I remembered, so I think if I made it again I would do it in a slightly smaller tin or up the amounts of filling.

If you like peanut butter, or even if you don’t, you should try this recipe – it could be the one to convert you as it did me.

Peanut butter cheesecake (recipe from an old Waitrose recipe card)

  • 200g chocolate chip cookies
  • 40g butter
  • 115g cream cheese
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 115g creamy peanut butter
  • 200g creme fraiche
  • 100g chocolate covered peanuts

Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin, or blitz them in a food processor. Melt the butter and then stir into the biscuits. Press into the base of an 8″ round cake tin and chill in the fridge for half an hour.

For the filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar together, then add the eggs one at a time. Add the peanut butter and creme fraiche  and beat until combined, then pour over the biscuit base. Sprinkle the chocolate covered peanuts evenly on top. Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 110 degrees and bake for a further 45-55 minutes, or until set but still with a slight wobble. Leave in the oven to cool to room temperature, then chill completely in the fridge before removing from the tin and serving.

Mississippi Mud Pie

Mississippi mud pie

Mississippi mud pie has been on my to-bake list for absolutely ages, although I really don’t know why considering it falls within the Pony’s number one most requested category of baking – ‘a big chocolate pie’.

I actually first made this about 4 years ago, and although it was super chocolatey and went down well with everyone who tried it, I wasn’t entirely happy as it seemed a bit hard in texture, so I vowed to one day make it again.

There are loads of recipes out there for Mississippi mud pie, which vary hugely with coffee ice cream even added to some, but I used one from Simon Rimmer on the BBC Food site, as I think he is probably second only to James Martin when it comes to celebrity chefs who make incredible looking and sounding desserts.

The only change I made to the original recipe (and as far as I can remember to what I did first time around) was to swap double cream for half fat sour cream, just to try and keep the calories down a little.

I can’t really imagine that made a huge difference to the texture of the pie, so I think I must have just overbaked the first time around as this one has the perfect contrast of crunchy biscuit crust and soft, smooth filling, with a deliciously gooey, fudgy icing on top.

It’s very rich so a small slice is plenty. It’s supposed to be served cold, but warmed up worked well too, and if it were me eating it I’d definitely go for a scoop of ice cream on the side – if you’re going to indulge in something like this you might as well go the whole hog!

Mississippi mud pie (adapted from BBC Food)

For the crust:

  • 300g bourbon biscuits
  • 65g butter

For the filling:

  • 85g dark chocolate
  • 85g butter
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 85g light brown sugar
  • 100ml sour cream

For the topping:

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 150ml sour cream
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 60g (3tbsp) golden syrup
  • grated dark chocolate to finish

Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin or blitz in a food processor. Melt the butter in the microwave, then stir into the biscuits. Press the mixture into the base and about an inch up the sides of a 9″ round springform tin, then chill in the fridge for half an hour.

For the filling, melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water then set aside. Whisk the eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes with an electric whisk, or until thickened and more than tripled in volume. Fold in the sour cream and melted chocolate and butter, then pour over the biscuit base. Bake at 180 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until just set in the middle, and leave to cool.

For the topping, melt all the ingredients together in a saucepan, stirring until the chocolate has melted and sugar has dissolved. Pour over the top of the pie and leave for 10 minutes, then sprinkle the grated chocolate on top to decorate. Chill in the fridge until completely cold, then cut into slices to serve.

Serbian pie and an adventure

Serbian Pie

I don’t often blog about cakes that I haven’t made myself, but over the next four weeks things will be a little different here…

The picture above is of a Serbian pie, which I would probably describe as the Eastern European equivalent of a cheesecake.

It has five layers of super thin pastry, not quite as crisp as filo but a lot, lot thinner and crispier than shortcrust; layered and baked with a mixture of soft cheese, eggs, honey, vanilla and raisins.

The texture of the cheese mixture is denser than a regular cheesecake and not as sweet, making it easier to consume large portions in one sitting – although this slice was way bigger than it looks in the picture and I could only eat about a quarter.

So why am I eating and blogging about a Serbian pie? Well, I’m not in Serbia which would maybe be the obvious answer, but I am off on an adventure in another part of Europe – Romania!

Serbian pie is actually a traditional Bulgarian recipe, brought to Romania a couple of hundred years ago. It was at a time when Romanians and Bulgarians weren’t the best of friends, and so people moving to Romania from Bulgaria pretended to be Serbian so that they would be welcome.

This was eaten at a restaurant called Cocosul Negru, in the city of Targoviste in southern Romania. I’m here on a four-week Group Study Exchange programme organized by Rotary International, and will be traveling to four different parts of the country taking part in vocational activities and building relationships with various Rotary clubs.

A team of five of us will be blogging about our adventures at www.gseromania.wordpress.com, so if you’re interested in what I’m doing please head over there and take a look.

I’ve had a bit of a baking frenzy over the past few weeks so I do have some normal recipe blogs scheduled to post, but hopefully I’ll also have the chance to share some of the traditional Romanian food I get to try throughout the trip.

Internet access is limited and I’m going to be super busy so apologies if I don’t reply to any comments as quickly as normal, but I will do my best!