Thursday, 28 August 2014

Nutella & salted caramel cheesecake

Nutella caramel cheesecake

I don't often make cheesecake. Not because I don't love it but because I love it a little too much. I usually end up sneaking too many tiny slices... Let's leave it at that. But for all its addictive properties, cheesecake is an ideal make-ahead dessert as it actually benefits from being left in the fridge overnight to set. So if you are looking to impress without having to stress (that actually rhymed. I am hanging my head in shame) this is the recipe for you.

I made mini versions of this when I was playing around with the Lurpak Cook's Range clarified butter. My first attempt was incredibly tasty but sunk horribly in the oven and did not look very appealing. Thankfully a little tweaking resulted in a beautiful dessert which I served at my Lurpak dinner party.

A word of warning: this cheesecake has got three different kinds of soft cheese, Nutella, salted caramel and peanuts. It is rich yet light and all sorts of delicious. Resistance is futile.

Note: homemade salted caramel is actually very easy to make but if are short of time Bonne Maman do a good version. 

Nutella caramel cheesecake

For the crust
185g | 6.5oz digestive biscuits (or graham crackers)
50g | 1.7 oz honey roasted peanuts
75g | 2.6oz clarified butter, melted
2tsp cocoa powder

For the filling
250g | 8.8oz mascarpone cheese
250g | 8.8oz  ricotta cheese
200g  | 7oz full fat cream cheese
100g | 3.5oz sugar
3 large eggs, separated
60g | 4 tbsp Nutella
3 tbsp salted caramel
1 tsp vanilla paste
Pinch salt

To decorate
Salted caramel
Honey roasted peanuts, lightly crushed

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C | 325F. 
  2. Put the biscuits, cocoa powder and peanuts in a food processor and pulse in short bursts until they are crushed but not completely powdered. Add most of the melted clarified butter and pulse again (or mix by hand) until thoroughly combined. The crust should hold its shape if pressed - if it's too crumbly add a little more of the clarified butter.
  3. Spray a deep-sided 20cm (8in) cake tin (ideally springform) with Lurpak cooking mist and carefully line the base and sides with two layers of baking paper. 
  4. Tip your crust mixture into the tin and pack it down with the back of the spoon or base of a glass. Make sure you have an even, sturdy base.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes then cool completely. The base can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge until needed (in the tin).
  6. Preheat the oven to 170C | 325F. 
  7. Mix the three types of cheese with the egg yolks and vanilla until smooth.
  8. Whisk the egg whites with the pinch of salt and gradually add the sugar until you have firm (but not stiff) peaks.
  9. Spoon 1/3 of the meringue into the cream cheese and vigorously mix it in to loosen. Fold the rest in gently, scraping along the bottom of the bowl as you do.
  10. Put 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture into a separate bowl then mix in the Nutella and salted caramel.
  11. Pour the remaining 2/3 into the prepared tin over the baked crust and smooth.
  12. Spoon the Nutella cream cheese on top and swirl it in using a knife. You want to create a marbled effect.
  13. Place the tin on a baking tray and bake for an hour and a half or until mostly set with a slight wobble in the middle. 
  14. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake to cool with the door ajar for two hours. Once cool, put in the fridge for a few hours or, ideally, overnight.
  15. When you are ready to serve carefully remove from the tin and peel the paper off the sides. Carefully transfer on to a plate or cake stand. Drizzle with salted caramel, sprinkle with crushed peanuts and serve.
This post was sponsored by Lurpak as part of Lurpak #FoodAdventures.
Nutella caramel cheesecake

Nutella caramel cheesecake

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Savoury loaf with pulled pork #GBBO Bake Along

Great British Bake Off week 3 and we are on to bread. But even with Paul Hollywood throwing a ciabatta-shaped curve ball, everything seems to be plodding along on a rather even keel. No dramas, big or small. No (new) custardgates! I don't know whether this is because the bakers are all evenly matched in terms of skills or whether BBC prefers this kinder, gentler pace. Even Paul seems to have mellowed. In the end it was the perennially cheery Jordan who went home and I am kind of sad to see him and his multicolour hair clips leave.

I have decided to join the filled centrepiece loaf challenge this week. Funnily enough I had baked a filled pesto loaf very similar to Richard's (same shape but not exactly same fillings) for my GBBO audition but didn't bring it as I didn't think it was good enough! This Japanese milk bread filled with pulled pork however is amazing. I can get several people from my office to vouch for that...

If you are not familiar with Japanese milk bread it is a slightly sweet and pillowy soft bread that uses tangzhong starter - i.e. a water roux. If you have never made this you are in for a real treat, trust me on this. The roux causes the dough to become incredibly sticky so this is not a bread to make by hand. I used the Magimix and was amazed to discover that the kneading process is about 1 minute! That was hard to believe but the windowpane test doesn't lie. 

If you are baking along to the Great British Bake Off remember to link your recipes at the bottom of this post! I love seeing what everyone has been up to. Are we giving the GBBO baker a run for their money? 

For the Water Roux (Tangzhong)
25g | 2 scant tbsp bread flour 
125ml  1/2 cup | 4.2oz water

350g | 12.3oz strong bread flour, more for rolling
2 tbsp skimmed milk powder (optional)
1 large egg
1 tsp instant dried yeast
60g | 2.1 oz sugar
1 tsp salt
125ml | 1/2 cup | 4.2oz whole milk
120g | 4.1oz water roux
60g | 1/2 stick unsalted butter, very soft
1 egg, beaten with splash of milk for glazing 

To fill
500g | 17.6oz pulled pork*, shredded finely (you may not need all of it)
* follow this recipe (or your own) but make sure the pork is fairly dry

To decorate (optional)
60g | 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp nigella seeds

  1. To make the water roux, put the flour and water in a small pan and whisk over medium heat until the roux thickens. When the whisk leaves a trail of lines on the surface, it is ready. Place some cling film directly on the surface of the roux to prevent a crust forming. Leave to cool slightly.
  2. Add the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and skimmed milk powder to the large bowl of your Magimix fitted with the large plastic blade. Pulse briefly to combine the ingredients.
  3. Mix the milk, roux, butter and egg together in a measuring jug and add gradually to the dry ingredients with the processor running. Stop after 30 seconds and do a windowpane test. You may need to mix a few more seconds but  usually under a minute.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise at room temperature for up to 2 hours or until almost double in size. 
Bread Maker method
To make the dough in a bread maker, add the milk, tangzhong and egg to the bread machine. Top with the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and skimmed milk powder. Make sure the yeast does not touch the wet ingredients. Use the dough setting and let it run for 15m. Lift the lid and add the softened butter. The bread machine will mix the dough and do the first round of proving.

Stand mixer method
  1. Add the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and skimmed milk powder to the bowl of your stand mixer. Attach the dough hook and mix briefly to combine.
  2. Mix the milk, roux and egg together in a measuring jug and add gradually to the dry ingredients with the mixer running on low speed. 
  3. Once the dough forms a ball, add the softened butter and continue to mix for 7-15 minutes or until the dough passes the windowpane test. 
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise at room temperature for up to 2 hours or until almost double in size. 
After proving
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C | 350F.
  2. Tip the dough onto a generously floured worktop, knock it back and let it rest, covered with cling film for 10 minutes. 
  3. Roll out the dough to a large rectangle. Place a generous amount of pork along the middle (as shown in picture).
  4. Roll the dough over the pork and bring the ends together to from a large ring. Wet the edges with a little water to seal.
  5. Mix the softened butter, flour and sugar until you have a paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle and pipe lines along the ring as shown.
  6. Use large kitchen scissors to cut along the ring diagonally exposing some of the filling.
  7. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with the sesame and nigella seeds. Let the loaf rise, covered loosely, for 30 minutes.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden, covering with foil if it's colouring too quickly. Cool before serving, cut into slices.
Note: You can make filled buns instead of a ring loaf following this recipe. 

Japanese milk bread filled with pulled pork