Today, I decided to make a cheesecake.
I haven’t made a cheesecake for a while. I gained weight over the summer (My friends are bored of me talking about this in person, so ha, you have to listen to me prattle on about it here) so I’ve been trying to be more restrained with my baking. However, after careful analysis of my diet last winter when I was at my thinnest and this summer, I’ve come to the conclusion that I ate a respectable amount of cheesecake at my thinnest, and I didn’t make any big ones at all while I was busy gaining weight. My theory is that I tend to binge eat on healthier snacks more when I feel deprived, and eat less overall when I have fun making fancy things in moderation.. Or maybe cheesecake is just magical. I like to think it’s magical.
In other cheesecake related news, the idea of a savoury cheesecake came up the other day, so that’s in my head. I’d want it to retain the core ingredients (cream, cream cheese) but use a savoury flavour that works, and use an appropriate savoury base. Does anyone have any ideas? My first thought was something like a sour cream and chive dip, but then I thought “pizza cheesecake” and the idea has been consuming me ever since.
After my (excellent) decision to make a cheesecake today, it didn’t take me long to decide on a flavour, because I’ve been on a caramel kick recently. I bought some sugar free caramel sauce last week and the flavour is great. I chose to go with a chocolate biscuit base, because chocolate + caramel is always a safe bet. I didn’t want it to be too plain, so I chose a toasted pecan topping; my only complaint is I didn’t toast the pecans for long enough, so their flavour was milder than I’d prefer.
1/2 cup golden flaxseed
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sweetener, then extra to taste
200ml whipping cream
1 big tub full fat Philadelphia (270g)
Heaped spoonful Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup sweetener
sugar free caramel syrup (I used a brand called Walden Farm)
handful of pecans
Cut out some baking paper, and use it to line a springform cake pan. I used my medium sized pan for this recipe, but I think it would work fine in a big one too, just a smidge flatter. I find the easiest way for cheesecakes is to put it over the circular bottom part of the pan, then place the main body of the pan on top and snap it shut, lining the bottom with a nice flat layer of parchment paper. I don’t usually bother lining the sides of the pan, but I am rather lazy.
Melt the butter in the microwave, then mix in the ingredients for the base. Have a taste, and add more sweetener to taste. Without the cocoa powder and with some added cinnamon, this is my standard biscuit base for cheesecakes :o) Tip into the springform pan, and press down with the back of a spoon until it’s nice and flat. Put in the fridge or freezer to cool while you make the topping.
First, whip your cream with an electric beater until it’s holding peaks, then mix in everything else other than the pecans. Pour into your springform pan, then smooth with the back of a spoon. Put somewhere cold while you toast your pecans.
There’s nothing stopping you using untoasted pecans, but toasting them really brings out the flavour. You can either fry them in a skillet, or put in the over for 5-10 minutes until they darken and go all nice and fragrant. After they’re done, pulse them in the food processor (Or put in a bag and hit it a few times) until they’ve broken up some. You don’t want them too fine, if they’re a bit chunky it gives a nice texture.
Artfully sprinkle over the top of your cheesecake (Read: Just tip them over the top and hope for the best) then leave in the fridge to set. I left mine in for 3 hours and it was cold, but not particularly well set; overnight is ideal, if presentation is your thing. It isn’t mine. Eating cheesecake is my thing :o)
Run a knife or a spatula round the edge of your springform pan, then release your new best friend from it’s pan-prison and set it free to live it’s lifelong dream of being eaten. Because you’re nice and selfless like that.
I really dislike being cold. I’ve been told by my other half (or “the guinea pig” as I affectinately call him when I’m doing a cooking experiment) that I keep my flat warmer than the average nursing home. I see nothing wrong with this.
Anyway, I like hot drinks. And there’s little in the world more comforting than hot chocolate.
This is a super basic recipe, I feel a little patronising writing it down. Normally I quite enjoy being patronising, because I’m a bitch like that, but I feel somewhat guilty about it today! I guess more information is better than less though?!
- 1 mug full of milk/cream. This is entirely your preference; I usually use an 80/20 mix of milk/cream, and I tend to use whatever I have in the fridge at the time. Which is usually either lactose free whole milk or almond milk, combined with either single or double cream. As always, avoid skimmed milk; it contains more sugar, and there’s absolutely no reason to fear the extra fat in whole milk. Hence why I mix it with cream in the first place. Fat is good for you. If it wasn’t so expensive, I’d happily make the thing entirely with cream. It goes without saying, but if you use almond milk, the finished result tastes almondy. Which I like, but isn’t everyone’s thing.
- 3tbsp cocoa powder. Not hot chocolate mix (Filled with sugar), proper cocoa powder. It’s very bitter. I use Green & Blacks Organic Cocoa Powder, which is only 12.5% carbs.
- Splenda, to taste. I use around 2tbsp
- Unsweetened squirty cream, to serve. (Optional) Be careful with squirty cream; most of it is filled with sugar. I use UHT Extra Thick, which is effectively just whipped cream in a can. If I have any cocoa nibs in the cupboard, I’ll sprinkle those on top too.
After you’ve measured out your milk/cream mixture in the mug you’ll be enjoying your hot beverage in later, pour into a milk pan and put it on a low heat.
Put it your cocoa powder and sweetener, and stir. It’s important to put it in while the liquid is still cold, otherwise the cocoa powder clumps like mad. If I’m doing other things, I’ll leave it soaking for a while before I even heat it. I tend to stir it until most or all of the cocoa clumps have dissolved, then I’ll turn it up to a medium heat.
Try some; add more cocoa powder or sweetener to taste.
Serve with squirty cream :o)