food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘honey

honey walnut cheesecake with figs cooked in ouzo

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Here’s a deconstructed cheesecake which celebrates Greek flavours. A simple and elegant way to serve cheesecake as a dessert for a dinner party.


At least a few hours before or even the night before, strain 500g of Greek-style yoghurt. Place in a piece of cheesecloth or fine linen, tie together and hang over a bowl or sink, allowing the liquid to drain.

For the figs trim the hard stem from 16 whole dried figs and place them in a saucepan. Cover with 2 cups of hot water and leave to soak for 1 hour. Add ½ a cup of ouzo, 1 cinnamon stick and a large strip of orange zest. Bring to boil over high heat then reduce to medium and cook until the figs are plump and soft. Remove from the stove and allow to cool.

For the crumb preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Combine ½ a cup of oats, ½ a cup of almond meal, ½ a cup of walnuts, ⅓ of a cup of dark brown brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter and (if using unsalted butter) ¼ of a teaspoon of fine grain sea salt. Process everything in a food processor until you have a medium crumb. Spread onto a baking tray and bake until golden brown. Set aside to cool. 

For the cheesecake blend 250g of cream cheese, 1 cup of the strained yoghurt, ¾ of a cup of honey, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch sea salt. The consistency should be firm enough to pipe. 

To assemble, place 2 tablespoons of crumb into the bottom of each glass. Pipe in the cheesecake mixture then top with some figs, either whole or in segments. 

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Written by michelle picker

August 1, 2018 at 12:19 am

Posted in cakes & desserts

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baclava cheesecake

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My friend Deborah made this for a recent celebration. What a brilliant combination of two delicious cakes!

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350ºF). Place ⅓ of a cup each of blanched almonds and hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for 5-8 minutes until toasted. Meanwhile, make the honey syrup by combining ½ a cup each of caster sugar and honey, ⅔ of a cup of water and a cinnamon quill in a saucepan. Place over medium heat until the sugar dissolves then simmer without stirring for approximately 15 minutes until syrup thickens slightly. Discard the cinnamon and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (320ºF). Butter a 22cm (8″) springform pan and line the bottom with baking paper. Finely chop the almonds and hazelnuts plus ¼ of a cup of walnuts in a food processor and transfer to a large bowl. Add ½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Now add ¼ of a cup of the honey syrup to the nut mixture and stir to combine. Clean the food processor and add 500g (1 lb) of cream cheese (at room temperature), 300g (10½ oz) of sour cream and ¾ of a cup of caster sugar. Process until smooth. Add 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla essence and combine. To assemble you will need approximately 10 sheets of filo pastry and melted butter. Brush the first sheet with some melted butter then fold it in half. Place it in the pan allowing it to overhang slightly. Repeat with the remaining filo and melted butter, turning and overlapping each sheet slightly to line the pan completely. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into the pastry and top with the nut mixture. Pour in the remaining cheese mixture then fold the edges of the pastry over the top of the filling. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the centre is just set. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and leave cheesecake inside until cooled completely. Chill in the fridge for 6 hours and serve with the remaining honey syrup.

* This recipe is from Taste.com.au

Written by michelle picker

September 20, 2017 at 12:17 am

burrata and honey panna cotta with candied walnuts

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A lovely delicate cheese and honey flavour pair well with crunchy candied walnuts

burrata-and-honey-panna-cotta

To make the panna cotta pour ¼ of a cup of milk into a small bowl and sprinkle over 7g (¼ oz) of powdered gelatine. Allow it to bloom for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat ½ a cup of cream with ½ a cup of honey until the honey is dissolved. Dissolve the gelatine into the cream and honey mixture, mixing until you have no lumps. Allow the mixture to cool. In a blender or food processor combine 200g (7 oz) of burrata cheese (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream) with an extra ¾ of a cup of milk and ½ a cup of cream and process until smooth. If you prefer you can substitute crème fraîche, yoghurt or buttermilk for the burrata. Whisk the cooled gelatine mixture into the cheese mixture then strain through a fine sieve into a jug. Pour into 6 ramekins, moulds or glasses (depending on how you wish to serve them) and allow them to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours. If you are un-moulding, briefly dip the bottom into hot tap water. To make candied walnuts, heat a fry-pan and add 1 cup of walnut halves, ¼ of a cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all the nuts are coated. Immediately transfer them onto baking paper, separating the nuts. Allow them to cool until crunchy.

Written by michelle picker

March 18, 2017 at 5:55 am

almond honey spread

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Moroccan amlou is a spread (much like peanut butter) made of almonds, honey and argan oil which is generally eaten on bread for breakfast.

almond-honey-spread

Argan oil, which is apparently quite nutty in flavour, is endemic to Morocco and, I discovered, hard to find and very expensive in Australia! I opted for a version without it. If you love friands, almond criossants, frangipane or marzipan then this is for you. Combine 1 cup of finely ground almonds (with or without skins), 1 tablespoon of good fragrant honey, a few drops of bitter almond oil or essence and 2 tablespoons of oil. I used grape seed oil (which has very little flavour) and added a little more bitter almond to taste. Other nut oils such as macadamia or walnut would work too. Mix well and add enough extra oil to make a good spreadable consistency.

Written by michelle picker

February 15, 2016 at 6:03 am

Posted in breakfast

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vanilla panna cotta with poached tamarillos and cherries

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A luscious dessert of creamy vanilla panna cotta and tart honey-poached fruit.

vanilla-panna-cotta-with-poached-fruit

To make the panna cotta sprinkle 4½ teaspoons of gelatine powder over 90ml (3 fl oz) of cold water in a large bowl and allow it to soak. Combine 2 cups of milk, 2 cups of cream and 100g (3½ oz) of sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved and small bubbles appear around the edges of the milk mixture. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste. Pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl and stir to dissolve the gelatine. Pour into individual cups and refrigerate for a few hours before carefully removing them from their molds.

Any poached fruit would taste good with vanilla panna cotta. If using tamarillos (also known as tree tomatoes) cut a small cross into the skin at the bottom of each fruit and immerse in a bowl of boiling water for a minute or so before peeling. Place 8 – 10 peeled and cut tamarillos into a saucepan with ½ a cup of fresh or frozen cherries, 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste and ¼ – ½ a cup of honey to taste. Cook over low heat until soft.

Written by michelle picker

July 24, 2015 at 6:00 am

Posted in cakes & desserts

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rhubarb purée, rhubarb ice cream and honey toasted almonds

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Inspired by some magnificent rhubarb from my local market.

rhubarb-ice-cream-and-purée-with-honey-toasted-almond

To make the rhubarb purée wash and trim the rhubarb and chop it into 3cm (1″) lengths. The 2 bunches I bought weighed 1.35kg (3 lbs). Place in a saucepan with ½ a cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. This will result in a not very sweet purée which balances well with the sweet ice cream and nuts. If you prefer it sweeter just add more sugar. Cook over low heat until the rhubarb is falling apart. Remove from the heat and add 4-5 teaspoons of rosewater then set it aside to cool. Meanwhile make the ice cream (once again using the base recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer). Measure 2 cups of milk. Take out 2 tablespoons of the milk and make a slurry with 4 teaspoons of cornflour (cornstarch). Heat the remainder in a saucepan with 1¼ cups of heavy cream, ½ of a cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of glucose (in Australia I use this in place of light corn syrup). Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour in the cornflour slurry. Stir, return to the heat and allow to thicken. In another bowl whisk 3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese with ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Pour in the hot milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Place the bowl in an ice bath and whisk occasionally until cool. Now take 1 cup of the rhubarb and process in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add it to the ice cream mixture (if you prefer a pinker ice cream add a drop or 2 of red food colour) and churn in an ice cream machine, sorbetière or over ice and salt. To make the honeyed almonds melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of honey. Mix in 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. Toss 1 cup of flaked almonds in this mixture and spread onto a baking tray. Bake in a moderate oven, turning occasionally until they are golden brown and sizzling. They will become crisp when cooled.

Written by michelle picker

May 31, 2015 at 5:54 am

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grilled figs

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A simple but wonderful dessert when fresh figs are in season.

grilled-figs

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Cut fresh figs in half and lie them face-up in a baking dish. Scatter walnuts around them. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 2 tablespoons of honey. Add 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water, stir to combine and drizzle the mixture over the figs. Bake until the figs are hot and caramelised. Serve with vanilla ice cream and greek yoghurt.

Written by michelle picker

July 10, 2014 at 6:04 am

Posted in cakes & desserts

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