Fruits of the Forest Cheesecake

Thank goodness the weather decided to perk up a little bit this week. I was starting to get horribly down in the dumps about the rain, but a little time out in the countryside, some sunshine, and of course, loads of sleep, have worked their magic.

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This cheesecake was one of the desserts I made for the housewarming party. I love unbaked cheesecakes for their simplicity, creamy texture and deliciousness. In fact, I love them so much I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to making the baked kind!

Anyway, at the housewarming party itself I never got round to taking a photo of the cheesecake, but it went down very well, and I still had plenty of ingredients leftover, so I of course, made it again.

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It was quite dark by the time I finished making it, so out came my camera to attempt some artificial light photography. I’m pretty pleased with the results!

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It’s just right for a crowd. I’d probably size it down by half if I was baking it again for just two – A and I managed to manfully eat our way through a large slice every day for a week.

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I’m a bit cheesecaked out at the moment, but as the festive season gets closer and closer I will be excited about thinking up some other variations, including peanut butter, baileys or even a spicy ginger version. Yum.

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Peach and Blackberry Crumble

Brr, it definitely feels like Autumn is on the way. The evenings are getting cooler and darker, the bathtub is populated with giant spiders, and the summer dresses are disappearing in favour of big woolly jumpers and novelty socks. I just want to cuddle up with a pillow and watch girly films, with a big spoonful of hot crumble at the ready.

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Interestingly, crumble is one English pud that’s really taken off round the globe. My French patisserie books all feature le crumble in gussied-up versions featuring pineapples, grapes, ground almonds, and a seriously heartstopping volume of butter.

With the sky overhead charcoally grey, heavy with rain, and the dim light filtering through the windows, I cut a glut of summer bounty. Juicily ripe peaches, tiny tart blackberries, a sprinkling of brown sugar. Then with the scatter of the topping, and this crumble, in all its simplicity was ready to be baked.

The rain paused, just as we tucked into the crumble. It was still hot, vivid deep purple-red juice bubbling up from its golden crust. There was pouring cream to drizzle on top too.

A simple, very seasonal, and delicious delight.

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Peach and Blackberry Crumble

Adapted from Nigel Slater on BBC Food

  • 1kg fruit
  • sprinkling of sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 75g butter
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 100g brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Core and slice the peaches. Toss in a little sugar if they aren’t very sweet, and pop into a shallow ceramic dish with the blackberries.

Rub the flour and butter together until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the oats and brown sugar, and sprinkle over the cooked aples. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until crisp and golden-brown on top.

Serve with lashings of custard, or pouring cream.

Tartes aux Fruits, je t’aime

Spending my weekend lolling around reading Laura Florand’s The Chocolate Kiss, I started feeling a desperate desire for Parisian patisserie.

Given my geographical location, I have been to Paris many times over the past few years. Yet astonishingly, I have never, not once bought any patisserie in France, ever??

Knowing me, this is a TRAVESTY.

So until I read Laura Florand’s novel – I had been walking past Ladurée and the whole area of St Germain de Pres, sitting in café de thés, glancing at colourful meringues, and not once had it occurred to me that there was a whole world of edible beauty out there to be explored.

If you are heading to Paris any time soon, read The Chocolate Kiss and all will make sense. Unfortunately, I am not going to Paris, so I had to make do with what’s available here.

This is what I did:

  1. Wander around London gormlessly and fruitlessly 
  2. End up in Pierre Hermé and blow a small fortune on macarons
  3. Bake

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Et voila!

We have here a pâté sucrée case filled with mascarpone cream, a profusion of fruit and a dusting of icing sugar on top to finish. I do feel a small pang of guilt at buying so much out-of-season fresh fruit, but fortunately for my carbon footprint, none of them came from too far away – I’m assuming the environs of the Mediterranean are fair game.

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I’m so pleased with how these turned out! They certainly sated my patisserie craving….for a while. I’m guessing the lure of Paris will still continue to pull. Let’s see if I can purchase a proper patisserie cookbook and see where my baking projects go from there!