Monday, 5 May 2014

Experimentation towards Indulgence (Brownie-based Cheesecake)

Recently I undertook a carb-free eating plan. This meant not only were you expected to avoid your normal complex carbs, but all your sugars as well.

No Sucrose
No Glucose
No Fructose
No Lactose.

For someone who quite literally lives on sugar such a suggestion was untenable (also for those I live with) and so I quickly began scouring the internet for dessert recipes that contained none of the above.
The result was a cheesecake with a butter nut base and strangely unsweet flavours.
It didn't take long to discover that Matcha without the milk and sugar wasn't Matcha, and pumpkin is really only marginally tolerable when combined with your typical pumpkin pie spices. Even then it was an acquired taste. Lemon Cheesecake worked as it tasted like Greek yoghurt which meant it was great for breakfast (not the first time I've eaten dessert at breakfast), but didn't really help with finding something to fill the sugar void.

Life without chocolate was proving difficult, so I'll admit it may have been one of the first things to be re-allowed.
From there, cheesecakes became alot easier, though Dad did admit to finding them just a little too dark and bitter even for his liking.

In the process of all this though I found a fool-proof, adaptable cheesecake recipe that worked with pretty much anything.
So, the next change (by now well and truly eating normally again) was to the base.
Why use a nut/biscuit base when you could bake a whole brownie and dump the cheesecake on top of that?
So, one rich chocolate brownie, baked and compressed, a layer of sour cherries or blackcurrants, topped with a very simple vanilla cheesecake later...

**I haven't made this in ages so it may need updating. However from memory the recipe is as follows...
Cheesecake Top
1 packet philadelphia cream cheese - softened
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp honey or 2tsp vanilla essence
1 egg

1 670g jar of sour cherries or blackcurrants (drained) or equivalent in weight of fresh sour fruit.

Brownie Base
½C sugar
½ C/100g butter
3 tbsp water
1½ C choc chips/chipped chocolate
1½ tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
1¼ C flour (plain)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
optional: 1½ C choc chips or nuts

Preheat the oven to 150ºC
Combine the sugar, butter and water and bring to a boil in the microwave.
Add chocolate and vanilla. Stir until choc is melted and mixture smooth.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.
Gradually blend in the combined and sifted flour, baking soda and salt
Spread half the mixture into a lined springform tin. (The brownie will rise and you only want it to be about an inch thick when cooked).
The remainder of the mixture can be cooked as a normal brownie.

Bake at 150ºC for 30 minutes. You want it to look relatively cooked all the way around and in towards the centre. If it is slightly gooey its okay as it will firm up as it cools.
When you pull it out of the oven turn the oven up to 180ºC
As the brownie cools compress it with the bottom of a glass or mug.

Cheesecake top
Whisk together the cream cheese and milk until smooth and lump-less. And the egg and honey/vanilla and Whisk well until well combined.
Sprinkle the drained cherries/fruit on top of the cooled brownie (leave a 1cm border where there is no fruit). You want the fruit to be hidden completely between the brownie and cheesecake if possible.
Pour the cheesecake mixture on top. 

Bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes. The edges should look set but the middle still gooey.
Allow to cool and set in the fridge overnight.

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