Peanut Butter & Salted Caramel Cheesecake

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I’ve been hankering after cheesecake for a while now, but specifically wanted to do a no-bake recipe. I haven’t made a peanut butter cheesecake for ages, so this was my mission.  I searched recipes…….and eventually one caught my eye. Peanut Butter. Caramel. Cheesecake. No-bake.  Yes! I didn’t even have to think twice. The cheesecake I ended up making was (slightly) adapted (okay, okay, I meddled, I admit it) from Something Swanky’s delicious recipe for No Bake Peanut Butter & Caramel Cheesecake.

Reader, I was going to follow this recipe to a T, honestly I was…..I hit a very small stumbling block.  The recipe calls for Cool Whip.  I don’t know exactly what this is, other than I am unable to get it in this corner of the UK.  So…I opted for a similar volume of double cream, which I whipped before adding to the other ingredients.  You may have noticed the use of the word “similar”……well, it all started when I made the base for this cheesecake.

For me, personally there is a very fine line between pudding bases being just right, and being like set concrete.  I therefore always err on the side of less butter and more biscuit.  Or, in this case, pretzels, because that is the base biscuit for this cheesecake.  It is an inspired, one, because the lovely salty bits from the pretzels work so well with the pudding.

However, today, my base didn’t even stick together.  When I removed it from the oven and saw there was no hope of it sticking, I thought maybe I’d throw it away and start again…but no, because I then thought I’d melt some dark chocolate and drizzle it over the base to help hold it together.  So I did.  Yes, I know, I shouldn’t have.

Then, on re-reading the recipe, I realised I hadn’t added sugar to the base ingredients. Too late for that now.

By then I was losing the will to live (I don’t have much strength in reserve!) and whilst I started with good intentions measuring everything carefully, I threw caution to the winds and became free and easy in my interpretations of measurements.

It all mixed together well and looked (and tasted) promising.  One of the ingredients is Marshmallow cream, and again, this does indeed work very well in the mixture. I spooned the mixture on top of my crumbly base and then thought why don’t I drizzle salted caramel over the top now……long story short, I clumped solid dollops of salted caramel on the top of the cheesecake mixture and carefully tried to mix it in.  It was a marbled effect, I told myself!

The end result?  Part of the base is glued together solidly with the chocolate (we KNEW that would happen, didn’t we!) and the rest is a mass of pretzel crumbs.  The cheesecake mixture is lovely though, and so, my meddling aside, this recipe is delicious.  I know what to do better next time!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

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Cherry Bakewell Sponge Pudding

P1010038It is the season of comfort foods, and comfort puddings.  I know it won’t be long before I crave fresh vibrant salads and fruit, so I maximise the opportunity for some warmth and comfort in my cooking.

I found this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine October 2017 issue. I love the traditional British Bakewell Tart (or Bakewell pudding) and having visited Bakewell itself, the home of this tasty pudding I have had the real thing!  Today’s pudding is a variation on the theme, but as with all the recipes I prefer to make, easy and tasty. And, of course with cherries – fruit – y’know, healthy!

This Cherry Bakewell Sponge Pudding is warm, almondy, comforting and with a nice balance of fruit to sponge topping.  You could of course, always add more fruit if you prefer that.

Personally, I would thicken the cherry sauce a little more, as I was unable to reduce it enough (without it all ending up a sticky sugary mess). But as it was, the excess liquid was absorbed by the almond sponge, and worked well.

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The sponge topping has ground almonds, and almond essence, as well as flaked almonds sprinkled over the top (maximum almond!!).

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The end result is a lovely, light almond sponge on top of the cherry filling. I would definitely make this again.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful day 🙂

 

Bounty Cheesecake

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Yes, it has been a while since I have blogged.  I’m afraid life defeated me for a while.  However, once again, my thoughts turned to baking. I couldn’t decide what to do, and in the end I thought cheesecake.  I love cheesecake, a nice stodgy, densely cheesy pudding. Baked or not, it’s a luxurious, comforting eat.

Today I chose a no-bake cheesecake, and it is a recipe new to me.  Of course, I did the few obligatory tweaks, I can’t help myself!

This starts with a biscuit crumb base and I used milk chocolate Hobnobs.  My preferred method for crushing the biscuits is to put them in a strong plastic bag, put it on the floor and stamp on it – just being careful not to burst the bag.  Who says baking isn’t physical! Mixed with melted butter, the chocolate on the biscuits melts nicely, and makes the difference from being a plain crumb crust. A bit of desiccated coconut adds to the texture.

A few chopped bounty bars on top of the crust and then the cheesecake mixture (cream cheese, vanilla, icing sugar, a jar of bounty spread, double cream) goes on top.  This goes into the fridge to set for a couple of hours. Once set, I melted some Galaxy milk chocolate and poured it over the top, and once again back into the fridge to set.

And there you have it.  Now I wonder how it would turn out if I replaced the vanilla extract with a coconut liqueur…..?

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Rhubarb Crumble

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I haven’t blogged for a few weeks. I’ve been struggling with what I wanted to say, and whether I should say it. I haven’t managed to haul myself out of that place yet. But I did bake. And when you are feeling low, tired, sore, confused, lost…..what better to bake than comfort food. In this case, comfort pudding.

A colleague gave me some rhubarb and so my mind was set.  Rhubarb crumble. A warm pudding, crumbly, crunchy topping and soft, comforting and slightly tart fruit filling. Served with custard of course. I do prefer not to add too much sugar, a little sharpness from the fruit is always good.

I threw some braeburn apples into the fruit mix because apples are always good to “flesh out” a crumble and rhubarb cooks down to almost nothing, so it needed something extra.

The crumble topping was standard, and I always add oats and walnuts because it helps with the texture.

The custard?  I confess I bought ready-made custard. No-one’s perfect!