domingo, 23 de maio de 2010

Cheesecake pots with blackberry swirls

I love these cheese cake pots, a simple cheesecake batter baked in small pots or ramekins without crust. The result is a cheese cake that looks like more like little puddings. I make them very often because they are extremely easy and fast to make. I must confess that I the part I don´t like in cheese cakes is the crust, the biscuit or pastry based dough is always the down side for me.

Donna Hay, an Australian journalist and editor, has a quite famous version of this dessert, but it does not call for eggs and is totally bake free. But I rather add eggs and bake my cheese cake pots. I prefer egg based cheese cakes in general. I have never really tried anyone of Donna Hay's recipes but I have notice that her magazine and books have become quite popular outside Australia too. I saw her recipe the other day and decided to make this one, totally inspired by hers.

Cheese cake pots with blackberry swirl

200 grams of light (reduced fat) cream cheese at room temperature
125 ml of sour light (reduced fat) cream at room temperature
60 grams of sugar
3 tablespoons of honey
1/2 vanilla extract
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon of tapioca flour or corn starch
80 ml of blackberry purée (see below)


Butter five shallow ramekins or creme brulée pots and set aside. In a bowl whisk cheese, sour cream, sugar and honey. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time and whisk until well incorporated. And finally add the starch. Divide the batter among the buttered ramekins or pots. Add three to four teaspoons of blackberry purée to the batter, in each one of the ramekins, and using a skew make some swirls. Bake the pots at 180C/350F in a pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly set, the center will remain wobbly. Let the pots cool completely. Serve chilled.

Blackberry purée

100 grams of blackberries thawed (I used frozen as the fresh ones live far away from here!)
30 to 50 grams fo sugar
splash of lime juice


Put the blackberries, the sugar and the lime juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and let the mixture go to a boil. Remove from heat and process with a hand mixer and pass the mixture through a sieve. Let it cool completely before using the purée to make the swirls.

segunda-feira, 17 de maio de 2010

Kvaefjord cake and the Norwegian spirit

Today, 17th May, Norway celebrates its most important day in history, it is Norway's National Constitution Day. More than celebrate its constitution, the 17th May is also the day Norwegians celebrate the birth of Norway as an independent unified nation. In May 17th 1814, after 432 years under Danish rule, the Norwegians became independent from Denmark and were allowed to released their own Constitution. The independence didn't last very long though, before the end of 1814 the Norwegians were forced under Swedish rule and remained unified to Sweden for nearly 100 years. During those years, under Swedish rule, Norway lived a life similar to that of Scotland, had the status of a country, the structure of a country, the constitution, but was not independent to act accordingly internationally or politically. Norway was ruled by the Swedish king, was not allowed to establish embassies, neither trade independently and had no political influence in the international scene whatsoever.

The Swedish king allowed Norway to keep its Constitution and the constitution was celebrated every May 17th as symbol of Norwegian independence and the birth of the nation. In June 7th 1905 Norway peacefully became independent from Sweden, crowned its own king and since then has followed the independent track. After more than 520 years of Danish and Swedish domination the Norwegians love and praise their independence as their greatest accomplishment and aim to remain this way. This need of independence certainly explains why Norwegians despise the European Union and wish to remain independent and it is exactly the independent spirit of the Norwegians that makes me love and admire them.

Around here there is a cake called Kvæfjordkaka read it as: Cake from the Kvae Fjord as a reference to the municipality where it was created Kvæfjorde.

This cake is known as Norway's national cake and is one of the cakes served on May 17th. The Kvae fjord cake was created in the years of 1920 and elected as one of the best cakes of all times in 1930. In 2002 it was elected Norway's National Cake in a poll organized by Norwegian television NRK. My darling Per says that this cake has different names around the country, but around here it is called Kvaefjorde cake.

Kvæfjord Cake

6 egg yolks at room temperature
150g butter at room temperature
150g sugar
150g flour
70 ml milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


6 egg whites
400g sugar
50 g almond roughly processed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

350 ml double cream
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

How to:

Butter a 30X40cm cake pan, line parchment paper, butter the paper and set aside. Heat oven at 180C.

In a large clean metal or glass bowl whisk butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time and keep whisking to incorporate yolks completely. Add part of the flour and mix to incorporate, add milk and keep mixing. Add second part of flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix some more to get a soft homogeneous batter. Spread batter in prepared pan forming a thin but leveled layer and reserve.

In a large bowl whisk egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar, in three or four parts, and continue to whisk until the whites have turned a stiff meringue. Add almonds (or hazelnuts) and vanilla extract (if using) and using a spatula mix softly to incorporate. Spread a thin layer of the meringue mixture over the raw cake batter on the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 180C or until a stick inserted comes out dry. Let the cake cool completely to add the filling and the frosting.

Divide the cake in two halves. Whip cream into a heavy chantilly and cover one part of the cake with the chantilly and some fruits (if using) and put the other half of the cake over the frosted one. Add more cream and fruits to the cake and serve it refrigerated.

Serves 8 to .10

The cake is cooling down

by the window...

The cake is halved....

One part goes to the plate and the other one waits...

the bottom layer gets a thin layer of cream and strawberries...

The second layer is positioned over the bottom layer...

more whipped cream and fruits to cover the second layer...

My Kvæfjord cake is ready to go to my in-laws lunch...

My cake being served at our family lunch table...
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