Friday, August 31, 2012

No Bake Triple Chocolate Layer Cheesecake

I recently did a short poll on Lick The Spoon's facebook fan page about cheesecake. I don't know anyone who doesn't like cheesecake, but the question is, baked or refrigerated? The votes were pretty even but refrigerated came out on top, to my surprise. I had always thought a baked cheesecake would win hands down. The image that came to my mind of a refrigerated cheesecake was one of those cheap supermarket cheesecakes that you can buy for about $4.00. Which, mind you, is probably okay for one of those quick desserts but now I know its nothing like the real deal! I am fully converted to refrigerated cheesecakes. Wholeheartedly converted.
This means I never have to go through that stress of pulling the cheesecake from the oven, testing the wobbly centre and thinking "is it cooked or isn't it?"
I couldn't believe the smooth and silky texture of the refrigerated cheesecake also, and how quick and easy it was to put together, without the use of eggs. Trust me, when you've grown up watching chooks lay eggs, it can put you off using eggs. At one stage I swore never to eat another egg...but then I discovered baking. Anyway, this recipe requires no eggs and loads of chocolate, with a decadent chocolate ripple biscuit base. It is three layers of cheesecake--white, milk and dark chocolate, sprinkled with crushed biscuit and piled high with chocolate dipped strawberries. It's the ultimate cheesecake. By far the best cheesecake I have ever tasted. Stress free.



350g Chocolate Ripple Biscuits (or plain chocolate biscuits)
125g butter
1/4 cup boiling water
3 tsp unflavoured gelatine
3x 250g packets cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
300ml thickened cream
200g white cooking chocolate
200g milk cooking chocolate
200g dark cooking chocolate
250g strawberries, washed and dried
100g extra chocolate to garnish strawberries if desired

Break up 300g of biscuits into a food processor. (Reserve the remaining 50g to garnish the top of the cheesecake at a later point.)
Process the biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. Melt the butter in a large microwave proof bowl, then add the biscuit crumbs and stir until well combined. Tip the contents of the bowl into a 23cm round springform tin. Using a straigh sided glass, press this mixture into the base and up the sides of the tin until even and compact. Place in the refrigerator to harden.

In a small bowl, place the hot water and shower the gelatine evenly over the surface. Stir with a fork until the gelatine has dissolved completely. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and well incorporated. Add the Cream and beat until smooth. Add the gelatine mixture and stir until well combined.
Melt the white chocolate gently in the microwave. Remove from heat and set aside.
Divide the cream cheese mixture into three. In one third, stir through the melted white chocolate. Spoon this third onto the base of the cheesecake and smooth. Place in the freezer to harden.
Meanwhile, melt the milk chocolate gently in the microwave.
Stir the melted milk chocolate through the next portion of the cream cheese until thoroughly combined. Remove the pan from the freezer, and smooth the milk chocolate layer over the white chocolate layer.
Return to freezer.
Melt the dark chocolate gently in the microwave. Stir the dark chocolate through the remaining cream cheese mixture until well combined. Remove the pan from the freezer and spread with the final cheesecake layer. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours until firm.
To add the garnishes, process the remaining 50g of biscuit in the food processor. Place a 20cm round bowl face down in the centre of  the cheesecake and sprinkle the biscuit crumbs around the edges. Remove the bowl. Dip the strawberries in chocolate if desired and pile in the centre of the cake.

Serves 10-12

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Feast for the Eyes

Dear Droolers,
Thank you for your comments and concerned emails while I have been away indulging in Victorian and Melbournian cuisine over the last month and have not been fit to blog.
Fear not--I have not drowned in chocolate or suffocated on an over sized mouthful of cake or been hospitalized due to some morbid sugar-related disease. I am well refreshed on good clean country air and a little of the polluted city air as well. Until yesterday I hadn't cooked in three weeks and feel ever so ready to get back into the swing of things again. My mother somewhat babied my husband and I, and I found myself so far from the kitchen, it felt foreign. So yesterday I made a cheesecake. A scrumptious, decadent, sumptuous triple chocolate layered cheesecake--white, milk and dark chocolate topped in chocolate dipped strawberries. I think my gut is still reeling from it. It was wickedly divine. I will be posting it and the recipe as soon as I can...but meanwhile, here are some pictures of a few delights from Melbourne for a good drool or some inspiration for the more creative among you. I know I felt like a kitchen hack looking at these windows in St. Kilda, Victoria.

European cake shops in St. Kilda
Pizza in St Kilda was divine!

Ice Cream and Gelato at Southbank, Melbourne
A little coffee art never goes astray.

European cake shops in St. Kilda
European cake shops in St. Kilda
I know, amazing, isn't it?
It was so hard to choose what to sample. We came home with a chocolate rollade, and it was so decadent it had to be shared amongst us all. Now, excuse me while I go and find recipes for the rest of the window contents. So inspiring.
Now onto another place that I mentioned in a previous post. Churros at Flinder's Street Station. Go there. Go!

I highly recommend the white chocolate and coconut coated churro at the far end...its filled with strawberry jam too.

Hot churros with chocolate dipping sauce

Vienna enjoys crunching on a churro
The chocolate penguins on Phillip Island were pretty impressive too.
Somehow, despite all this decadence and delicious eating, I came home lighter. To my delight I heard reports that in my absence, one of my guinea pigs (aka taste testers) also lost a kg or two in my absence, and my husband didn't have to go to the gym as a result of me being on holidays from the kitchen. Anyone else lose weight while I was away?

More recipes coming soon! Keep licking the spoon!
Louise xo

ps. I will try and respond to all comments received in my absence...although it may take me a week or so to get around to it. Amazing the cleaning that follows a holiday!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pink Pancakes with Crushed Strawberry Oreos

I had the most fabulous Mother's Day in May. I know, the post is a few months late, but there's always an excuse to pamper your mum,or wife, or lucky lady in your life with these femininely pink pancakes. Any woman will be impressed by the sweet gesture and "your" creativity (you don't have to tell them where the idea came from) Have you ever treated her to pancakes in bed on Saturday morning? You know you want to! (for all those times you had man-flu and she waited upon you hand and foot)
It cant get much better than pancakes, smothered in strawberry jam and topped with vanilla ice cream and crushed strawberry flavoured oreos. Its rich and decadent and oh so good in bed.

PINK PANCAKES WITH STRAWBERRY OREOS (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 07/11)

1 cup self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
60g butter
2 tbsp honey
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
a few drops of pink or red food
4 strawberry oreos
ice cream
strawberry jam if desired

Sift flour and bicarb into a medium sized bowl. Heat butter and honey in a small saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and is smooth. Set aside to cool.
Add milk and beaten egg to the butter mixture and whisk until combined. Place a few drops of pink or red food colouring in the mixture and stir gently to combine. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the wet mixture. Stir until a smooth batter forms.
Add a little butter to the base of a large fry pan, at medium heat. Dollop four spoonfuls of batter into the fry pan at once. When bubbles begin to burst on the surface of the pancakes, flip and cook the other side until golden. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve pancakes spread with strawberry jam and with a large scoop of ice cream with crushed oreos on the top.

Serves 3-4

Care to lick the spoon?