Saturday, 22 August 2009

Busy in the Kitchen

Well, it's a lovely sunshiny day outside but I am too busy in the kitchen to venture into the garden. Little JM's birthday party tomorrow so I'm making a few things as my contribution to the event. Homemade vegetarian 'sausage' rolls from Delia's Christmas cookbook, some little bite-sized iced fairy cakes and a couple of cheesecakes from a Nigel Slater recipe and of course the Cheese Fingers recipe from a previous post.

I have made the strawberry cheesecake a few times, on each occasion it was well received. The most traumatic part of the making is removing the cheesecake from the baking tin, the 'baking' of the cake is by far the easiest part, so here's Nigel's recipe with my variation at the end.

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

For the biscuit base
75g/3oz butter
250g/9oz almond, orange or sweet oat biscuits

For the filling
1 large free-range egg, separated
1 tbsp caster sugar
250g/9oz mascarpone cheese
2 drops vanilla essence
250g/9oz fresh strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced

1.For the crumb case, melt the butter in a small saucepan.
2. Place the biscuits in a food processor and process to fine crumbs (alternatively, place in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin, taking care not to split the bag).
3. Mix the crumbs thoroughly with the melted butter and spoon into a 25cm/10in diameter loose-bottomed flan tin. Press the crumbs firmly over the base and up the sides of the tin to cover completely. Transfer to the fridge to chill until firm.
4. For the filling, place the egg yolk into a bowl with the caster sugar and whisk together.
5. Add the mascarpone and beat until thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla essence.
6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg white with a clean whisk until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Gently fold the egg white into the mascarpone mixture.
7. Remove the biscuit case from the fridge. Spoon the mascarpone mixture into the biscuit case and gently smooth the top with a spatula. Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the mascarpone.
8. Transfer to the fridge and chill. Remove the tart from the fridge 20 minutes before serving

Variation: Mandarin Mascarpone Tart - Use tinned mandarin orange segments in place of the strawberries and add a little orange zest to the mascarpone mixture in place of the vanilla extract. I also added 2 heaped tablespoons of thick double cream to the mascarpone mixture for an even more decadent treat!

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