Food: cheese­cake & rice

Us­ing one recipe we cre­ate five scrump­tious vari­a­tions that taste as good as they look

DRUM - - Contents - BY CAR­MEN NIEHAUS PIC­TURES: ME­GAN MILLER

ILOVE cheese­cake and ex­per­i­mented for a long time to find the per­fect fill­ing –thick and creamy but not too sweet (my recipe doesn’t in­clude cream and only a small amount of su­gar).

Now I use the same ba­sic recipe to cre­ate all kinds of in­ter­est­ing al­ter­na­tives that are easy to make.

CARAMEL CHEESE­CAKE

MAKES: 1 MEDIUM-SIZE CHEESE­CAKE PREPA­RA­TION: 10 MIN CHILL­ING: 15 MIN BAK­ING: 1 HR 35 MIN CRUST 500ml (2c) cake flour 160g cold but­ter 100g chopped pecan

nuts or wal­nuts wa­ter BA­SIC FILL­ING 3 tubs (230g each) smooth or creamed cot­tage cheese, or cream cheese 15ml (1T) corn­flour juice and zest of

1 lemon 3 ex­tra-large eggs 2 egg yolks 125-180ml (½-¾c)

su­gar a pinch of salt 5ml (1t) vanilla

essence TOP­PING 250ml (1c) brown

su­gar 60ml (¼c) wa­ter or

drained ap­ple syrup 1 can (400g) mini

ap­ples Pre­heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm spring­form cake tin with non­stick spray.

1 CRUST Pulse the flour and but­ter in a food pro­ces­sor un­til it re­sem­bles bread­crumbs (or rub the but­ter into the flour us­ing your fin­ger­tips). Add the nuts, then add just enough wa­ter to make a stiff dough. Press onto the bot­tom and up the sides of the bak­ing tin. Prick and chill for 15 min­utes. Bake for 5 min­utes then re­move from the oven.

2 BA­SIC FILL­ING Mix all the in­gre­di­ents in a large bowl un­til smooth. Pour into the crust.

3 Lower the oven tem­per­a­ture to 110°C and bake the cake for 1½ hours un­til just done but still wob­bly in the mid­dle.

4 Switch off the oven and let the cake cool down, then chill in the fridge un­til needed.

5 TOP­PING Spoon the su­gar into a heavy­based pan and add the wa­ter or ap­ple syrup. Heat on high un­til the su­gar has melted and turned a golden caramel colour. Don’t stir (you can shake the pan a few times). Watch care­fully as it can quickly be­come too dark and then has a bit­ter taste.

6 Put the base of the pan in cold wa­ter to halt the cook­ing process. 7 Work­ing quickly, dip the ap­ples in the caramel. Ar­range on the cheese­cake and pour any left­over caramel syrup over. VARI­A­TION For a lower-carb ver­sion, re­place the su­gar with sweet­ener such as xyl­i­tol, the flour in the crust with ground al­monds and the wa­ter with whisked egg white. Don’t add the top­ping, or dec­o­rate with fresh fruit.

BAKLAVA CHEESE­CAKE

MAKES: 1 MEDIUM-SIZE CHEESE­CAKE PREPA­RA­TION: 20 MIN BAK­ING: 1 HR 30 MIN COOK­ING: 7 MIN GRILLING: 2-3 MIN CRUST 10 sheets phyllo

pas­try 125ml (½c) but­ter,

melted FILL­ING 1 x batch of ba­sic fill­ing, us­ing just 125ml (½c) su­gar TOP­PING 180ml (¾c) su­gar 250ml (1c) wa­ter 1 cin­na­mon stick finely grated zest

of 1 lemon 200g pecan nuts TO SERVE ground cin­na­mon

for sprin­kling full-cream yo­ghurt Pre­heat the oven to 110°C. Grease a 12cm spring­form cake tin with non­stick spray. 1 CRUST Brush but­ter on eight of the pas­try sheets and stack on top of one an­other. Trans­fer to the pre­pared cake tin.

2 FILL­ING Beat all in­gre­di­ents to­gether and spoon into crust.

3 Brush but­ter on the rest of the pas­try sheets, stack them and put on top of the fill­ing. Bake for 1½ hours, turn oven off and leave to cool.

4 TOP­PING Cook the su­gar, wa­ter, cin­na­mon stick and lemon zest in a saucepan for about 7 min­utes or un­til syrupy, then add the pecan nuts.

5 Spoon syrup over the cooled cake. Switch on the oven and grill the cake un­til the nuts start turn­ing a darker brown.

6 TO SERVE Sprin­kle cin­na­mon over and serve with yo­ghurt. (Turn over)

ONE RECIPE, FIVE WAYS BAKLAVA CHEESE­CAKE

CARAMEL CHEESE­CAKE CHOCO­LATE CHEESE­CAKE

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