Easy Peasy Pudding: Rhubarb Swirl Cheesecake: Fiesta Friday 30!

The second crop of Rhubarb is well under way in the garden.  Strong pink stems, fading to gentle green and topped with ridiculously huge umbrella-like leaves again surround the pond area.  I love it.

And it’s Friday, so that means Fiesta time with The Novice Gardener…

The perfect excuse for a rhubarb recipe trial – hence this quick little gem  🙂

For Fiesta Friday ± 30

Easy Peasy Rhubarb Cheesecake.

Easy Peasy Rhubarb Cheesecake.

This tasty dessert can change with the seasons – featuring whatever fruit you have to hand.

It’s an almost instant pudding that will look as though you’ve given put in far more effort than was actually the case, but nobody will know…

I’d admired Moira Stewart’s Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake recipe online recently – original post here:     http://www.marthastewart.com/340227/raspberry-swirl-cheesecake  What follows is an adaption of that recipe – much simpler.  Quick and effective.  Not the best cheesecake ever, but it was received very well, required very few ingredients, and took less than 20 minutes to prepare, so what’s not to like?

Easy Peasy Rhubab Cheesecake.

Serves 6, depending on how much everybody eats (!)

Make in a round cake tin, approx 18cm, which has been pre-lined with baking paper.  Pre-heat oven, 180 degrees.

Rhubarb garden crop

Home grown rhubarb

I used rhubarb that I’d previously baked.  See post here:

https://emmasouthlondon.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/spring-baked-rhubarb/

Try to this dessert rest for at least 6 hours before eating – up to 2 days is fine.

If kept in the fridge, it should ideally be removed and left at room temperature for 20 minutes or so before eating, or the flavours will be slightly dulled.

Base:   

1.5 Cup finely ground Digestive Biscuits

               2 Tablespoons butter

Cheesecake Mix:   

1 x 200g pack cream cheese

                                        1 x 200g pack low-fat cream cheese

                                        Half a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

                                        1 cup sugar

                                        2 x eggs

Simple, quick pudding

Easy Peasy rhubarb Cheesecake.

Melt butter and mix in biscuits, then press over the base of the prepared cake tin.  Cool whilst making the filling.

Mix cheese and sugar.  Add vanilla essence and slowly add eggs, continuing to mix.

Turn cheese topping onto base, adding some drained pieces of baked rhubarb.

Smooth top, then scoop up some rhubarb juice with a small deep spoon and blog onto the top – swirl with the tip of a knife to make a pretty pattern.

Bake in a preheated oven for around one hour.

Turn the oven off, leave door open a bit and let the cheesecake cool in the oven.

Cool thoroughly before removing from tin – this will help it to firm up first!

Enjoy – we had ours with home-made ice cream 🙂

 Now I’m off to the Novice Gardener, to see what everyone else has brought to the party –

http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com

or click on the purple FF link in the sidebar; happy Fiesta Friday!

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Experiments with Polenta –

Half term has just finished 😦

Making the most of ‘time’, I’ve been doing some seasonal Spring Cleaning… therapeutic.

Going through the cupboards, I found that we had rather a glut of polenta.

So to correct the balance of ‘store cupboard essentials’, we had a polenta evening, trying lots of different polenta dishes.  Here are the top two: Orange polenta cake steeped in fruit syrup, & Mushroom herb polenta – more tricky to make, but an education in polenta cooking if like us you’re not familiar with it.  I have to say, I  always just thought of polenta as something which lacked good looks and taste, even when served in the smartest restaurants, and never really ‘got‘ it..!

Mushroom, Herb & Polenta 'Pizza'.

Ottolenghi’s Mushroom, Herb & Polenta ‘Pizza’.

Orange Polenta Cake with orange syrup.

Orange Polenta Cake with orange syrup.

Mushroom Herb Polenta; like a homemade pizza.  Bubbling with mushroom juices, grilled cheese & fragrant herbs.  Orange Polenta cake; lovely for desert with a dollop of creme fraiche; equally good for tea the next day.

* * *

Ottolenghi’s Mushroom & Herb Polenta.  Vegetarian.

We found it best to let the prepared polenta rest a little before use, allowing it to settle.

I’d love to hear what other people do with polenta – do let me know (I’ve still got quite a stash in the cupboard!)  We used thyme and sage in this recipe, as they both needed trimming ready for their spring growth!

http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/mushroom-and-herb-polenta-shop

* * *

Orange Polenta cake with Orange Syrup.  Vegetarian.

Light, textured and aromatic – a grown up cake to serve with rich ice cream, creme fraiche and / or dark berry compote.  It’s plain, not a stunner – but simple is sometimes good…

250g softened butter

250g sugar (I used unbleached cane sugar)

4 large eggs

140g polenta

200g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

Grated zest and juice of 2 large oranges.  Grate gently or the zest will be bitter.  Save 100ml juice for syrup.

Orange Syrup – 100ml orange juice and 100g sugar.

Line a round 23cm cake tin with baking paper.  I used a smaller tin with only 2/3 of the mixture and it was perfect, so adjust carefully to suit your needs.

Heat oven to 160 / 140 / gas 3.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually add eggs, beating well.  Feel the burn in those arms!

Reserve 100ml juice for syrup in a small saucepan.  Add the rest, with zest and dry ingredients to the creamed butter & sugar, sifting in flour and polenta.

Gently plop into the tin and smooth the top.  Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.

Make the syrup by gently dissolving sugar in remaining orange juice over a low heat, stirring occasionally.  Once dissolved, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes to reduce & thicken slightly.

Slowly pour the syrup over the cake, allowing it to seep in.  I did this before taking the cake out of the baking paper, to stop the syrup from running off.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy – some people won’t like the texture of the polenta, but I think it’s quite sophisticated… I’m going to try this again in late summer, with lavender flowers in the syrup to give it a more floral aroma.

Recipe from the fab BBC good food website.  What’s your favourite recipe website?

Kitchen cupboard - a bit more sorted, but will never be 'tidy'!

So for the moment, my kitchen cupboard is sorted, but it’ll never be ‘tidy‘!