Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

 

Someone once said that the best things in life come in threes like friends, dreams and memories. I would like to stick this cake at the end of that quote, because the three layers that make up this sweet sandwich will be a close memory I hope to never wake up from.

This cake has something for everyone: when I brought this cake into work Monday morning, the winning layer appeared to be the soufflé type raspberry cream topping. Others favoured the dense texture of the brownie and a small minority enjoyed the fluffy and  slight saltiness of the layer of cheesecake.

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My eyes are immediately drawn to the creamy top if I’m honest; I’m not one for things being symmetrical and in order, but I have to say I love how the contrasting textures hold together forming this perfectly layered square.  I was a little nervous baking the brownie and the cheesecake together,  fearing one would bleed into the other forming some kind of marble effect. But as long as you keep the cake in the fridge, the cream will keep on top of the cake and keep its shape for a good 6 hours.

 

Rasberry Cheesecake Brownie

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the Brownie 

200g Sainsbury’s Belgian dark chocolate chips

200g unsalted butter (softened)

250g icing sugar

3 eggs

110g plain flour

 

For the Cheesecake

400g cream cheese

150g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

 

For the Cream topping

300 ml whipping cream

100g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

150g  fresh raspberries, plus extra to decorate

 

For the brownie:

Preheat the oven to 170°C (or Gas mark 5)

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until the chocolate is  melted.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and with a spoon or electric whisk beat until you have a fluffy light cream.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.

Gradually beat in the flour until you get a smooth mixture. Do this for about 2 minutes on high speed with an electric whisk.

Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared baking tray and smooth over with a palette knife.

 

For the cheesecake:

Put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until smooth and thick. Add one egg at a time, while still mixing. The mixture should be very smooth and creamy.

For a little lighter and fluffier mixture, beat the cream at high speed for 1 minute with an electric or manual whisk, but be careful not to over-mix, otherwise the cheese will split. Spoon on top of the brownie and smooth over with a palette knife.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges. The centre should still be pale. Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours at least.

For the cream topping:

Put the cream, sugar and in a bowl and whisk or beat until firm but not stiff.

Mince up the raspberries with a fork (keeping 12 or so back for decoration) and stir into the cream.

Turn the brownie out onto a board and turn the right way up.

Spread the topping evenly over the brownie, cut into portions and decorate with more raspberries.

Adapted from the  Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook 

 

Soursop Punch

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There use to be a time in my life when I was conscious that I was beginning to sound like my Mum.

Last week was definitely one of them.

No Soursop today?” I said in deep frustration to the man at the stall in Ridley Market. “No sorry darlin’ none today; nothing came off the ship from St Lucia or Jamaica...” In that split second my imagination took me to the shores of St Lucia, picturing Mr Market Stall man waiting at the beach front with his trolly waiting for this precious fruit to come in. I smiled at myself and walked away, a little disheartened.

Last month there was no Soursop either, this time it was because it was being sold for the “price of Gold” his friend had told me. The way I hounded these guys, week after week watching, lingering, pretending to only pass by, hoping to see a pile of fresh prickly green skinned fruit smiling back at me…it was beyond an obsession, I was a evolving into my mother.

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Why I bothered to walk the 500 yards to the end of the market last week when I could have caught the bus straight to work, I don’t know. But something told me, give this market stall another try.

At that time in the morning the stalls are just setting up for the day: I could see the old turkish man screwing on a handle which had dropped off a lid he was selling; then there was that tall black guy with the skull cap, dark blue overalls and mono-brow that met in the middle; he greeted me every morning like we knew each other well.

Then came my former hairdresser nestled behind the man who sold hats, scarves and ladies lingerie whom she resented because his stall blocked the entrance to her shop.

Finally, the Man in the Market. I passed his shop slowly and carefully scanned the goods on display: right in the centre were my little babies: Fresh Green Prickly Soursop – I took the first one my hands and eyes laid on to and proceeded to the counter. Someone was already there: “You’re gonna make some sweet punch wit dat!” The man he was serving remarked – I laughed and said yes…some sweet punch indeed.

 

Soursop Punch

 

Ingredients

Pulp of Sour Sop Fruit (large fruit size = 4 – 5 cups of pulp)

1 can (397 g) of condensed milk

3 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp Angostura bitters

2-3 cups cold water

2 cups boiling hot water

 

Method

Cut the sour sop fruit length ways down the middle into two halves. You will find a thick stalk running down the middle of the fruit, remove this with a knife.

Scoop the white flesh and seeds out from the shell and place in a bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the fruit and stir the mixture to release some of the seeds from the pulp. remove whatever seeds you can by hand this way. Then with your fingers peel the black seeds away from the fruit and discard. This may take 10 minutes to do. Keep all the remaining fruit in the bowl.

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Take the remaining fruit and pass it through a large sieve with a bowl underneath to catch the pulp, this will help to remove any seeds that you may have missed. You may have a lot of fresh remaining in the sieve, transfer this all to the bowl underneath.

Take the pulp and transfer it to a blender with 1/2 cup of cold water if needed. Blend the pulp to a smooth pulp. Then again using the sieve, pass the pulp through the sieve, gently pushing the pulp through. Now you can discard any skin that remains in the sieve.

You should be left with a off white thick pulp. If you don’t wish to use all of it, squeeze some lime or lemon into the remaining pulp, and place in the fridge in a sealed container.

Otherwise, transfer half of the pulp and half of the condensed milk, 1 cup of cold water and nutmeg to the blender. Blend the mixture and transfer to a jug. Then proceed to blend the remaining pulp and milk together. You can combine the two into the one jug; and add more water to achieve the consistency you wish.

Finish by adding a dash of Angostura Bitters to the punch. Serve chilled.

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Blueberry Scones

IMG_6458I was hunting around as I usually do, looking for something different to do with Blueberries. I normally throw them into smoothies, and I remember once making a blueberry drink for a friend’s dinner. And now come to think of it I also made a blueberry sauce to go with some quick pancakes when my Uncle came down to spend some time with us (you know those pancakes you make and they turn out so nice…but you can’t remember how you did it? It was one of those days).  Ok so I’ve kind of lost the argument: I have done a few things with Blueberries, but I have to say these scones excite me the most. Not only are they really quick and simple to make but extremely tasty!  To speed up the process, this can be made in a food mixer.

Blueberry Scones

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 stick cold unsalted butter, grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
extra heavy cream for brushing the tops
raw sugar for sprinkling the tops
Method

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl  mix 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the baking powder, orange zest, and salt. Then add the cold butter and mix well. In another bowl, combine the egg, vanilla and heavy cream and whisk well.  Slowly pour cream into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until you see no more lumps.  Now add the blueberries to the dough, together. You might want to use your hands it this point to avoid the berries bursting prematurely.

Spoon out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball.  Then with a rolling pin roll the dough about 3/4-inch thick into a circle shape.

Cut the dough into quarters then cut again into eighths, diagonally, making triangles.

Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch.

Adapted from recipe by La Petite Brioche