No-Bake Rose and Pistachio Cheesecake

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With Christmas already becoming a distant memory, thoughts turn to Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, you just can’t escape it. The lovely people at Monin UK asked me if I would like to come up with a recipe suitable for this romantic day, and I immediately knew what I would make. People often say that oysters are the food of love. Well they’re wrong. It’s cheesecake! Fluffy, creamy, indulgent cheesecake. Not the baked ones either. You just can’t beat a no-bake cheesecake. And if you’re going to make something so heavenly, you don’t want to settle for a thin, easily crumbled base and an inch of cheesecake topping, oh no! You need a thick base you can taste, and you need lashings of creamy topping. If this looks too much for you, you can just half the ingredients to make a more delicate version, but I’d recommend going the whole hog and trying it this way. Or you could just use a bigger tin than I used.

As you all know by now, rose is my absolute favourite flavour and perfect for Valentine’s day. Don’t give someone a single red rose. That’s too clichĂ©! Make them a beautiful rose cheesecake instead. Decorate it with rose petals, and you’ve just won my heart 🙂 I didn’t just want rose on its own though. I wanted another delicate taste, and pistachio pairs beautifully with rose. I’ve included pistachio nuts in the base and the topping but you can leave them out if you want. The pistachio syrup flavour is gorgeous. I only added the actual nuts for a bit of yummy texture. You could make this cheesecake using different flavoured syrups if you prefer but be careful if you do… not all are suitable as some of the more sour ones (such as pomegranate and cranberry) can curdle the mixture. I was toying with the idea of delicately colouring the layers (green for the pistachio and pink for the rose) but decided that if you accidentally add too much you’ll be left with a very garish looking dessert. So I’ve kept it simple this time, but feel free to colour the layers gradually if you want.

NO-BAKE ROSE AND PISTACHIO CHEESECAKE

FOR THE BASE

250g digestive biscuits

110g unsalted butter

30g pistachio nuts

FOR THE TOPPING

2 x 280g tubs full-fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)

100g icing sugar, sifted

300ml double cream

50g pistachio nuts

3 tbsp Monin Pistachio Syrup

3 tbsp Monin Rose Syrup

Rose petals, to decorate

  • To Make the Base: line a 7 inch loose-bottomed deep cake tin or springform cake tin with foil, carefully making sure you press as many bumps out as possible. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan, making sure it doesn’t burn. Blitz the biscuits and pistachios in a food processor until they become crumbs. Alternatively, place them into a ziplock bag, and bash them with a rolling pin.
  • Pour the crumb mixture into the pan with the butter and mix until well combined. Tip this mixture into the cake tin, cover the bottom completely, and then use the back of a spoon to press the mixture down firmly. Place into the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up.
  • To Make the Topping: Place the cream cheese into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and gently whisk it to loosen it up a bit. Add the sifted icing sugar and whisk until combined.
  • In another bowl, whip the double cream until it reaches soft peak stage. (When you lift the beater or whisk,  the cream will form a slight peak but the tip of it will fold back down).
  • Add the cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold in with a spatula until well combined. Place half of this mixture into another bowl (or back in the bowl you whipped the cream in to save dishes).
  • Place the pistachio nuts into a food processor and blitz until roughly chopped. Alternatively chop by hand with a sharp knife. Tip these into one of the bowls of cheesecake mixture, along with the pistachio syrup. Fold in well with a spatula until completely combined. You’ll notice it thickening as you fold it. Pour this on top of the cheesecake biscuit base, and smooth it down until level. Place into the fridge until the next part is ready to use.
  • Pour the rose syrup into the bowl with the remaining cheesecake mixture and fold in well with a spatula. Again, you’ll notice it thickening. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and gently spoon this layer on top. Spread until it has covered the first layer and is smooth and level. Place back into the fridge for at least 5 hours to set (overnight would be perfect).
  • Remove from the fridge. Gently remove from the tin and peel off the foil very carefully. It should hold it’s shape easily by now. Place onto a serving plate and scatter rose petals around the top. Serve and enjoy!

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I used a range of large and small petals but you can use whichever you prefer. Or you can use pistachios or even chocolate curls if you prefer. Although I made this with Valentine’s Day in mind, it is perfect for any occasion really.

I’d recommend buying Monin Syrups either from Udal Supplies Ltd or from Next Day Coffee. Just click on their names to go straight to their websites.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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Black Forest Hot Chocolate Bundt Cake

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I have 2 addictions in life… Nordic Ware bundt tins and the Costa Coffee Festive menu drinks, in particular the Black Forest Hot Chocolate. The Nordic Ware addiction is an all year long one, but sadly the Costa Coffee one is limited to one month a year when the Festive menu appears. Or at least it was! Tassimo coffee machines were selling ridiculously cheaply in the Black Friday sales online a few months ago so we bought one. As soon as my sister found out, she went online and bought me the exact syrups that Costa use in my favourite drink so I could make them at home too! (She bought me the rose one too as everyone knows I adore rose in all forms… flower, scent, and flavour). She even bought me the bottle pourer as well to make drizzling the cherry syrup easier!

Anyway I’m waffling. In case you’ve never tried one this is what the Black Forest Hot Chocolate looks like:

Picture courtesy of Costa

A delicious hot chocolate mixed with blackberry syrup, topped with slightly sweetened fresh cream, drizzled with a yummy cherry sauce and chocolate curls sprinkled on top to finish. Sheer indulgent heaven! I was making one at home and the idea came to me to make a cake version of it! I had the syrups so started planning. I decided to make it as a bundt and thought a flat-topped tin would be best so that I could pipe cream on top, so I made it in the Star shaped tin. Until now THIS has been my favourite bundt recipe that I have created, but I have to admit the Black Forest one has knocked it off top spot for me.

I was asked once why I use buttermilk in my bundts whereas other people use yoghurt. It is just personal preference. Both serve the same purpose but I always have buttermilk in the fridge. Buttermilk, like yoghurt, reacts with bicarbonate of soda, causing harmless carbon dioxide gas. This gas helps bakes to rise and makes them light and fluffy. I use it in scones all the time for that reason too. Enough science, here’s the recipe. It looks like a huge list of ingredients but most of it is store cupboard essentials.

BLACK FOREST HOT CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

FOR THE CAKE:

250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

190 g golden caster sugar

190 g soft light brown sugar

340 g plain flour

half level tsp bicarbonate of soda

half level tsp salt

1 level tsp baking powder

25 g cocoa powder

4 large eggs, beaten

200 ml buttermilk

200 g milk chocolate (or a combination of dark and milk chocolate), broken into pieces

8 tbsp (120 ml) Monin blackberry syrup

FOR THE DECORATION:

250 ml fresh double cream

1 level tbsp icing sugar

Monin Cherry syrup

extra chocolate

  • Grease a 10-12 cup bundt tin well with Cake Release, or melted butter and flour. (Or you could try this in normal cake tins). Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy.
  • Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, and leave until almost completely melted, stirring once or twice. Remove from the heat and stir until totally smooth. Leave to cool slightly.
  • In another bowl, sieve together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa). I like to quickly mix with a spoon after sieving cocoa and flour together to make sure it is thoroughly combined and there are no white powders left.
  • In a large jug mix the wet ingredients together (beaten eggs, buttermilk, melted chocolate and blackberry syrup).
  • Add half of the wet ingredient mixture to the butter and sugar and beat well until combined. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture and gently fold in with a large spoon or spatula. Fold in the last half of the wet ingredients, followed by the remaining dry ingredient mixture until completely combined. (This was the perfect amount of blackberry syrup flavour for me and tasted the same as how Costa serve it. However, taste a bit of the mixture and if you like it stronger add an extra tbsp of syrup now).
  • Pour into your prepared tin until no higher than three quarters full, then place in the centre of the oven and bake for around 50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. (Don’t worry if the top has cracked, it will be on the bottom when served). Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • When it is completely cool, place on to a serving plate.Whisk together the cream and icing sugar until it forms very soft peaks. (When you pipe cream it thickens rapidly in the piping bag so don’t over-whisk it now). Spoon into a piping bag and pipe on to the top of your bundt however you prefer. I just did simple rosettes. Nothing fancy. Pipe more around the bottom as well. (If your bundt tin design allows, pipe extra cream around the sides too).
  • Drizzle Monin cherry syrup all over the cream letting it come down the sides too. Use a potato peeler to make curls of chocolate (just “peel” down the side of a row of chocolate) and sprinkle them on top to finish. Or you can crumble a Flake on top.

And there you have the cake version of the famous drink. Obviously it is EXTREMELY calorific so probably best just to make it for special occasions!!! My Other Half ate 2 slices straight after each other, and said it tastes just like the drink. My son polished off a slice in record time too and said it was delicious. I put a picture of it on Twitter and have to admit I was overwhelmed by the response to it, so I hope you like it as much as we do.

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Obviously as there is fresh cream on top, this cake needs to be stored in the fridge. Remove it for a while before serving so the cream isn’t too cold. It is best eaten on the same day as cakes in fridges tend to go hard quickly. Or you could make the cake and only put the cream and decorations on individual slices when you serve them. That way you can keep the cake in an airtight container.

The best place to buy Monin syrups is from Udal Supplies. You can find the blackberry syrup HERE and the cherry one HERE. If you want the bottle pourer for easier drizzling of the cherry one on top, that can be found HERE.

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I have contacted Costa and asked if they would mind me making cake versions of more of their best-loved drinks. Let me know in the comments what your favourites ones are 🙂