Two simple and wonderful desserts today that are ideal with seasonal fruit. It is that time of year when I look forward to Pat Clarke’s fresh fruits. The first recipe has Spanish roots where it is known as Crème Catalan.
It is similar to the French crème brûlée, except it’s not cooked in the oven and is quicker and easier to make. It is actually quite light, lighter than the baked raspberry swirl cheesecake.
This cheesecake is delicious with raspberries. Again, it is easy to make and looks fabulous. You can experiment with lemon zest and different fruits. Some people like more of a citrus taste. If you have any left over it will keep well in the fridge covered with clingfilm.
It is much nicer at room temperature so give it half hour is you are taking it from the fridge.
Crème Pots with seasonal berries
Serves six to eight
6 egg yolks
150g (5oz) honey
40g (1 ½ oz) cornflour
900ml (1 ½ pints) milk
1 cinnamon stick
Rind of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 orange
2 tbsp demerara sugar
Seasonal berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries
1 Place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl with the honey. Using a hand-held whisk, beat for five minutes, until thickened. Tip in the cornflour and mix until well combined.
2 Place the milk in a small pan with the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange rind. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for five minutes. Strain the milk, discarding the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange rind, then gradually whisk the warm milk into the egg and honey mixture.
3 Place in a clean pan set over a low heat. Cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool, then pour into individual dishes or ramekins and chill for at least 4 hours (or overnight is best) to allow the custard pots to firm up.
4 When ready to serve, sprinkle the tops evenly with the demerara sugar and caramelise with a blow torch or under a preheated hot grill. Arrange on plates with a nice selection of seasonal berries to serve.
Baked raspberry swirl cheesecake slices
Makes 12 slices
300g (11oz) digestive biscuits
150g (5oz) butter, melted and cooled
275g (10oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) raspberries, plus extra to serve
1 tsp arrowroot powder
3 x 300g (11oz) packets of cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 x 200ml (7fl oz) carton of sour cream
Icing sugar, to dust
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6). Line a 20cm x 30cm (8in x 12in) rectangular tin with non-stick baking paper.
2 Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs. Add the cooled melted butter and blitz again to combine. Tip into the tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon to cover the base, then bake for 10 minutes to set. Leave to cool.
3 Meanwhile, tip 25g (1oz) of the sugar and the raspberries into a small pan. Mix the arrowroot powder with 1 tablespoon of cold water and add this to the pan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bubble for one to two minutes, until the sauce has slightly reduced but the raspberries are still just holding their shape. Set aside to cool.
4 In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese with an electric hand-held whisk until smooth. Add the remaining sugar and whisk again. Add the flour, vanilla, eggs and sour cream and whisk until smooth and well combined.
5 Pour half of the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base, then spoon half the raspberry sauce on top in small blobs. Cover with the remaining cheesecake mix and smooth the surface with a spatula. Drizzle the remaining raspberry sauce over the top.
6 Then use the end of the spoon to ripple it into the cheesecake. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 110°C (225°F/gas mark ¼) and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for 1 hour, then leave for another hour with the door ajar.
7 Finally, leave at room temperature until completely cool, then chill for at least 3 hours (or even better, overnight).
8 To serve, cut the cheesecake into 12 slices and arrange on plates with some fresh raspberries and a light dusting of icing sugar.