Wednesday, 2 June 2010
For dinner we had bought four fulsome sirloin steaks from rare breed specialists Ginger Pig which we grilled on the Webber BBQ. They were wonderful and needed no adornments or marinades - they were wonderful on their own with a little salt and pepper.
Like kids in a candy store we had also bought a basket full of tasty things from the market for general supplies; spicy chorizo from Brindisa, buttery butternut squash and sage tortellini from the Fresh Pasta Co, some orgasmic Tunworth and Stichelton cheese from Neal's Yard Dairy . BUT nothing sweet for a dessert course.
After nibbling the cheeses for entree and the devouring the steaks and salad for mains I started dreaming up what we could cook from the larder for dessert. Key in my mind - there were two half tubs of philadelphia cream cheese left from a recent batch of Bexy's excellent red velvet cupcakes a few days earlier. Was thinking some kind of cheesecake style recipe. I knew I had some berries in the fridge as well (it may surprise you to hear its not all fatty boom-boom in our house... we are daily smoothie drinkers too : )
All I needed was a biscuit base. Was thinking a short bread as we had the ingredients. I found a good shortbread recipe on the trusty BBC website. I followed that to the T - and cut / baked them as small round biscuits so as to serve as mini cheesecake bases. The cheesecake and blueberry sauce was a simple mix and assemble job, tasting as I went. Turned out really well. The biscuit base was delicious and still warm, slightly soft with the right amount of crunchy.
This is isn't the most refined dessert I've ever produced - but I cant deny the exhilaration of whipping up a dish with what's on hand in quick time. That's always entertaining.
Short Bread (Make 6 - 8 small round biscuits)
55g caster sugar
180g plain flour
Heat the oven to 190C. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth. Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1cm/½in thick. Cut into rounds or fingers and place onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with icing sugar and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Bake in the oven on greaseproof paper for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
Cheese Cake topping / Blueberry sauce (makes 4 servings)
200g cream cheese
3 tbsp icing sugar
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
Handful of strawberries (for decoration)
(You could also add cream / vanilla essence if you fancy for added richness. I didnt have any)
300g blueberries (or blackberries)
2 tbsp caster sugar
Splash of crème de cassis or water
Icing sugar to dust
For the lemon cream cheese, put the cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and beat until smooth. Taste - add more icing sugar if you like it sweeter or more lemon juice if you like it more tangy. Put into fridge to cool while you finish other steps. Top your strawberries and cut into halves / quarters. Set aside for assembly. Tip the blueberries into a medium-hot pan and add the 2 tbsp sugar and a splash of cassis or water. Cook for a minute until the blueberries are slightly soft.
Assembly - place the bicuit round on your plate. Spoon a dollop of your cream cheese mixture. Top with fresh strawberry / blueberry. Can be symettrical or just dropped randomly. Spoon the blueberry sauce around the plate. Dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately.