Monday, March 7, 2011

Blueberry and Ginger Cheesecake

blueberry & ginger cheesecake

Hi everyone! I just got back from a lovely week in Tasmania, spent semi-relaxing (the three hour hike up to beautiful Wineglass Bay was far from relaxing, but well worth the exhaustion and ended up being the highlight of the trip), eating at some beautiful places and road tripping around the state, enjoying the rugged scenery with the boy and our hire car, a little red Barina that we called Florence. But more on that shortly, I have lots of photos to resize!

This summer felt like it went past in the blink of an eye, starting off with mild temperatures and wet weather, culminating in a couple of weeks of 35°C+ days (and nights!) It’s always a little bittersweet at this time of year. While I love autumn more than any other season, I find it hard to say goodbye to summer fruits and long warm days. I was also ridiculously busy for most of the summer, so I didn’t get a lot of time to enjoy these things, let alone cook with all my favourite fruits. Therefore, the next few weeks will be all about catching up before the stone fruit season is over!

Blueberries are another of my favourite summer fruits, and I was captivated by this recipe that I saw in Donna Hay’s recent Christmas issue. You must all know how I feel about ginger by now, and the combination sounded perfect. While I followed the recipe pretty closely, I spruced it up a little by adding a vanilla bean to the cheesecake filling and omitting the cream.

It turned out beautifully, an interesting take on a normal cheesecake, serving it in "sandwich" form between slabs of headily spiced gingerbread (although next time I would roll it out slightly thinner). This results in a dainty little sweet that would be equally perfect for afternoon tea or dessert. Blueberries and cheesecake are best friends and make for a stunning summer dessert. Give this recipe a try before summer is over!

Blueberry and Ginger Cheesecake
Adapted from Donna Hay magazine
Serves 8-10

• 125g butter, softened
• ½ cup brown sugar
• ½ cup golden syrup
• 2 ½ cups plain flour, sifted
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
• 500g cream cheese
• 1/3 lemon juice
• 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
• ½ cup icing sugar, sifted, plus extra to serve

Blueberry Swirl
• 275g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
• 3 tablespoons caster sugar
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the blueberry swirl mixture, place the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until thickened. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 190° (375°F). Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup, flour, ginger and baking soda and mix to form a smooth dough. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the dough is firm.

Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick. Cut into two 20x30 rectangles. Place on baking trays and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add lemon juice, vanilla seeds and icing sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes or until well combined and smooth. Place 1 rectangle in the base of a 20x30cm slice tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Spoon the cheesecake mixture over the base, top with blueberry mixture and lightly swirl with a spoon to marble. Top with the remaining gingerbread rectangle and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until the filling is set. Remove from the tin and slice with a serrated knife. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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