Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Honey Cheesecake with Honey Crackle Base - Claudia's 22nd Birthday Cake

Sweet, salty, buttery goodness
Claudia is a friend of mine.

She has three stand out characteristics.

One, she has a fiercely romantic relationship with a whole squadron of fictional an historical creations, not the least of which is the Harry Potter books.

Two, she is a babe. I don't normally comment on my friends appearances because of the incredibly crushing stigma placed on women by the patriarchy; that their worth is based on their physical appearance. But she's a model so it's okay, right? Conflict is conflicting.

Three, she loves honey crackles.

Instead of making her a batch (which I think I have done for her last like five birthdays), I wanted to combine two of her loves. Her first; honey crackles. The other; cheesecake.

The base is straight off the box honey crackle recipe. The topping is a white chocolate ganache, with a condensed milk fudge covering, sprinkled with more honey crackles.

This may not be the prettiest cake I have ever made, but my gosh, was it delicious.

I had fears about the cheesecake recipe, which I adapted from Steph's (of raspberricupcakes.com, one of the BEST baking blogs of all time) maple and blueberry cheesecake. I was worried that the honey wouldn't be sweet enough, or would somehow react in the oven and become bitter or savoury (it happens!). But, boy, was I wrong. The cup of honey which I eventually ended up using added the perfect amount of flavour and sweetness to the finished product.

Steph's recipe is amazing. It produces a light and fluffy, but totally more-ish cheesecake.

Honey Cheesecake with Honey Crackle Base
Serves 8-10
4 cups cornflakes, slightly crushed
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 sugar
90g butter

Melt butter, honey and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, mix with cornflakes until well combined. Press into the base of a non-stick 8 inch springform pan, using the end of a glass to press it in until it it very well compacted.

Any left over mixture can be placed on a baking sheet lined with paper and flattened.

Bake both the cheesecake and the left over mixture in a 150ºC oven for ten minutes, until slightly golden.
Let cool.

330g cream cheese, (I use neufchâtel, because of less packaging/sometimes cheaper)
500g ricotta
1 cup of blue gum honey
zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla (extract, bean paste, scraped pod)
4 free range eggs
1 heaped tablespoon corn flour
1 tablespoon water

Combine cream cheese, ricotta, honey, lemon zest and vanilla in a food processor. I don't usually break mine out because of bench space and dish-washing, but it really is the best way to get a smooth, lump free cheesecake. You can substitute a mixer, but just try and make sure you get a really smooth mixture.

Combine corn flour and water and mix to create a paste.
Add this mixture and eggs to cheesecake mixture and pulse.

Tase mixture, and add more honey to taste. I wanted a real honey flavour, so probably endued up doing a bit more than a cup, but if you wanted a more subtle flavour adjust as necessary.

Place mixutre on top of honey crackle base and bake in a 170ºC oven for approx an hour. After turning off the oven, leave cheesecake in oven until cool, (or overnight).

The middle of the cheesecake should be slightly wobbly when you turn the oven off, and the residual heat of the oven will firm it up. I overcooked mine slightly, and was rewarded with a nice big split, but that was all taken care of by the topping.

200g White Chocolate
1/3 cup cream or creme fraiche

1 small can of condensed milk (approx 395g)

Melt white chocolate with your preferred method (double boiler etc). I used the microwave becasu eby now I had made so many dishes that future Meredith was telling me that if I used one more saucepan there would be hell to pay.

I have never had any trouble with the microwave method, which is as follows.

Snap chocolate into small pieces, if using a bar, and melt in microwave for about 20 seconds. Remove, stir and repeat, adding the cream or creme fraiche when the chocolate is almost melted. Microwave together for about 20 seconds, then removed and stir until smooth.

Of course, everyone's microwave is different, so adjust the timing and or heat setting of your microwave to ensure you do not char the chocolate.

Spread slightly cooled ganache over the top of the cheesecake.

Place the contents of the can of evaporated milk into a saucepan. Place heat on low-medium and heat until milk is bubbling. Continue, constantly stirring, until milk is slightly coloured. Mine was nowhere near a caramel colour. It was more a beige, and resulted in a very fudge consistency when set.

When the milk has coloured, let cool slightly, and then carefully place around the outer edge of the cheesecake.

Let cheesecake set in fridge until cool and ready to serve. Sprinkle the left over honey crackled mixture over the cheesecake before serving.

Warning: Y'all are going to get the craziest sugar high on this, and speak at a hundred miles a minute and stay up googling things until like 3am. Enjoy the productivity!

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