Chocolate Concrete and Pink Custard Cheesecake – A School Dinner Classic Updated

I regularly make chocolate concrete as it is a firm favourite in my home, especially for my son. (The recipe for that is HERE). I tend to serve it either on its own or with plain custard, although I used to love the pink custard that accompanied it in school. I know the school pink custard was in fact hot blancmange, but I can’t remember if it tasted of strawberries or raspberries. It had such a subtle berry taste so we all called it pink custard rather than naming it by it’s flavour.

Whilst eating a piece of chocolate concrete recently I realised it would make a perfect base for a cheesecake, and so decided to make one with a topping based on the school pink custard. I didn’t want it to have a very strong flavour either, to keep it similar to the school pudding. Well, as similar as it can be with cream cheese included!

I thought long and hard about how to add the berry flavour and decided that as it is based on a childhood pudding, I would use another childhood favourite in the mixture… strawberry Angel Delight. I was going to puree some fresh strawberries but thought they might add too much flavour, and it would be easy to keep it subtle with Angel Delight. Don’t judge it until you have tried it! It helped to make the cheesecake topping the perfect texture too – creamy but set so that it can hold it’s shape when cut. I had a tub of it so used some of that for this recipe. I know the packets you can buy have 59g in so at first I tried it using that amount, but the flavour was far too subtle. For me it was perfect using 75g. If you can’t find the tubs, you can buy 2 packets and use the remainder of the 2nd one to make an extra dessert with milk, or keep it ready to make this recipe again.

The topping is a no-bake cheesecake topping as I’m not a fan of baked versions. But obviously the chocolate concrete has to be baked, so its a half-no-bake cheesecake. I added some fresh cream and chocolate-dipped strawberries for extra scrumptiousness, but you can leave those off if you prefer. The cheesecake is delicious with or without the decorations.

Some schools served chocolate concrete with mint custard rather than pink. You can easily adapt this recipe to make a mint version if you prefer. You would just need to swap the Angel delight for a few drops of peppermint extract to taste, and a touch of green food colouring. You could then add After Dinner mints (After Eights), mint Matchmakers, or mint Aero balls to decorate. I will be trying that version very soon!

It is best to make it in a springform tin or a loose-bottomed deep cake tin, to make the removal of it easier. I used a loose-bottomed 20cm (8 inch) cake tin for mine. Obviously if you use a bigger tin, your layers will be shorter. You can either line your tin with foil making sure you smooth out any creases, or line with baking parchment. If doing it with parchment, only grease the tin very slightly to keep the paper in place, and don’t grease on top of the paper.

CHOCOLATE CONCRETE AND PINK CUSTARD CHEESECAKE

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CONCRETE BASE:

100 g unsalted butter, melted

115 g granulated sugar

150 g self raising flour

20 g cocoa powder

1 medium egg (the smallest one you have), beaten

 

FOR THE PINK CUSTARD CHEESECAKE TOPPING:

560 g cream cheese (I used 2 x 280g tubs of Philadelphia)

300 ml double cream

75 g strawberry Angel Delight

60 g icing sugar

 

TO DECORATE (OPTIONAL)

100 ml double cream

Fresh strawberries

Melted chocolate (either milk or dark, and white)

 

TO MAKE THE BASE:

  • Preheat the oven to 160C. Line your tin with either foil or baking paper (see last paragraph before the recipe).
  • In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and the sugar together. Add the flour and cocoa and mix well. The mixture will be very stiff. Finally add the beaten egg and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, spread it around so it covers the bottom and press down firmly right up to the edges. Use your fingertips to sprinkle a few drops of water over the surface.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes. (It will feel a bit soft when you take it out of the oven but will firm up as it cools). Leave in the tin to cool completely.

 

TO MAKE THE CHEESECAKE TOPPING:

  • In a large bowl mix the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and creamy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until soft peaks form (when you lift the whisk the cream will form little peaks and the tips will fold back over).
  • Add the cream to the cream cheese mixture, then add the Angel Delight powder and whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Spoon this mixture on to the cool chocolate concrete base, and use a spatula to spread it evenly up to the edges of the tin.
  • Place in the fridge and leave until set (around 2-3 hours).
  • When set, carefully open the tin (if springform), or push up from underneath the tin (if loose-bottomed) to remove. Very gently peel the foil or paper off the cheesecake and place on to a serving plate.

 

TO DECORATE (OPTIONAL):

  • Wash and dry the strawberries. Dip them in to the melted milk or dark chocolate, and place on a sheet or parchment paper on a plate. Put the dipped strawberries in to the fridge until the chocolate has set.
  • Drizzle the melted white chocolate over the strawberries using either a spoon or a piping bag with a tiny hole cut in the end. Place back in the fridge for around 10 minutes.
  • Gently whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then place in a piping bag with the nozzle of your choice, and pipe on to the top of the cheesecake around the edge. Top with the chocolate-dipped strawberries.

 

By the way, my other half was appalled that I kept the leaves on the strawberries. Oops! I keep them on to make it easier to hold the strawberries both for dipping and eating! If you prefer yours without the leaves, just cut them off beforehand.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know if you make the strawberry or the mint version!

 

If you fancy trying another scrumptious cheesecake recipe, try THIS CHOCOLATE AND BAILEYS CHEESECAKE. Although this one is strictly for adults only! Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Chocolate and Baileys Cheesecake

I know we’re 9 days into 2018, but as this is my first post of the year I’ll take this chance to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

The year started badly for me, with all 3 of us getting flu. I’ve had bad colds before but this was my very first time getting flu. Not bad for 43 years, but it is definitely something I wouldn’t want again thank you very much! When I started to feel a bit better I decided to make my favourite CHOCOLATE AND BAILEYS MOUSSE to cheer myself up. It looked yummy as always, but sadly I quickly discovered my taste buds had gone so I didn’t enjoy it. Yesterday I finally got my taste back so thought I would make it again as I missed out before, but when I went to my cupboard I realised I didn’t have enough gelatine. Not to be put off, I made a no-bake cheesecake based on it instead. Oh my word, it was soooo scrumptious! I absolutely love the mousse, but think the cheesecake is even better!

Literally anyone can make this, it is that easy, and no stage of it can go wrong, so you are guaranteed a delicious creamy dessert. The actual preparation is very quick too but it does need a few hours to firm up in the fridge. It can be made the day before you need it, in fact it is perfect if left in the fridge overnight. I had a slice of mine today as a mid-morning treat and it was even nicer than yesterday (and it was amazing yesterday)!

I like a thick biscuit layer on my cheesecakes, but if you prefer a thinner base just use reduce the ingredient quantities that I used. Or, rather than just pressing them on the bottom of the pan like I did, spread them up the sides too and press firmly into place. The advantage of the thick biscuit layer though (don’t judge me for this, I’m only human hehe) is that you can eat a piece of it on the go! Most of the time I am civilised and eat cheesecake with a spoon or dessert fork, but sometimes, just sometimes, I really really want some but am in a rush or busy with a million things to do. So it is perfect to be able to cut a piece and pick it up to eat it just like a piece of cake! Ok I’m a savage, but I’m ok with that 🙂

 

CHOCOLATE AND BAILEYS CHEESECAKE

FOR THE BASE

250 g digestive biscuits (which is 17 McVities ones)

110 g unsalted butter, melted

 

FOR THE CHEESECAKE TOPPING

460 g full-fat cream cheese

75 g icing sugar, sifted

220 ml double cream

3 tbsps Baileys

3 Cadbury Flake bars

 

FOR THE DECORATION

150 ml double cream

1 tbsp Baileys

1 Cadbury Flake bar

 

  • BISCUIT BASE: Line a 20cm cake pan (springform is best for cheesecakes for easy removal) with foil. Completely cover the inside of the pan, pressing the foil down well to get rid of large creases.
  • Place the digestive biscuits in a food processor and blitz until the biscuits have turned into small crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, place the biscuits in a ziplock bag, press the bag to remove any air before closing, and bash them with something like a rolling pin until you have small crumbs.
  • Add the melted butter to the biscuit crumbs and mix well. Tip the crumb mixture into the foil-lined pan, spread the crumbs to cover the base, and press down firmly with the back of a spoon. Make sure you go right up to the edges. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • CHEESECAKE TOPPING: Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat until it is smooth and creamy. Add the icing sugar and mix well.
  • In another bowl, whisk the 220 ml double cream until it is quite firm and thick.
  • Add the whisked cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold them together, using a spatula or large spoon.
  • Add the Baileys and continue folding the mixture until it is well combined and smooth. (It will be lovely and thick but with no lumps).
  • While the Flake bars are still in their packets, use your fingers to roughly crush them up. You want to make a mix of sizes of chunks so don’t overdo it. Tip the chocolate into the cheesecake mixture and fold in gently until evenly distributed.
  • Spoon the cheesecake mixture on to the chilled biscuit base and use a small spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly up to the edges. Place the cheesecake in the fridge and chill for at least 3 hours (preferably more or overnight).
  • DECORATION: Remove the cheesecake from the pan using the foil to lift it out, then carefully peel the foil off the cheesecake, and place the cheesecake on to a serving plate.
  • Place the 150 ml double cream and the 1 tbsp Baileys into a small bowl and whisk until it reaches soft peak stage. The cream will be thick but still creamy and when you lift your whisk out, small peaks will form but the tips of the peaks will fold back over.
  • Spoon the cream mixture into a piping bag fitted with your choice of nozzle, and pipe the cream on the top around the edge. I piped 16 rosettes on mine (hold the piping bag vertically with the nozzle just above the cheesecake and squeeze the bag slowly until the cream mixture makes a pretty shape on the top… repeat all the way round).
  • Take the Flake bar out of it’s wrapper and carefully cut it into pieces. Place one piece on to alternating cream rosettes, and crush up the remaining chocolate. Sprinkle this all over the cream decorations.
  • Serve and enjoy! Or return it to the fridge until it is needed.

This cheesecake will keep well in the fridge for a few days, as long as the cream and cream cheese would still be in date. I hope you love this as much as I do!

 

 

 

 

Peach Schnapps and Raspberry No Bake Cheesecake Hearts

One of my all-time favourite desserts has to be a no-bake cheesecake. So simple to make, yet with so many different flavour combinations to try. My favourite up until now has been THIS ROSE AND PISTACHIO CHEESECAKE but I think I’ve now come up with a worthy contender for the title of my number one recipe.

I was kindly sent a fantastic mini hearts pan to use from The Little Cook Shop and I’ve used it in a few recipes now as it is so versatile. (See HERE and HERE for a couple of other recipes using it). I was going to make one big cheesecake but decided that mini hearts ones would be much nicer, especially as the topping was going to be bright red. I was also going to make a peach puree to mix in but decided to use peach Schnapps instead. I used Archers as I always have a bottle in the house. You can’t beat Archers and lemonade on a Summer’s evening!

The secret of a no-bake cheesecake is in the pan you use. Never make one in a pan that has a fixed base, or else you’ll have a nightmare trying to get it out in one piece (unless you line it with strong foil first and lift it out). That is why this heart pan is so perfect. Each heart has a loose base so that you can easily push the cheesecakes out of the pan when they are set. It is such a good quality pan and washes up so easily too. I really can’t recommend it highly enough!

I made these cheesecakes yesterday and half of them disappeared very very quickly. I’ve eaten another one today and it tastes just as good, if not better! These will keep well in the fridge for a few days, but I doubt you’ll have any left after two!

PEACH SCHNAPPS AND RASPBERRY NO-BAKE CHEESECAKES

160g digestive biscuits (about 10 biscuits)

60g unsalted butter, melted

150g full-fat cream cheese

30g icing sugar

85ml double cream

2.5 tbsp Peach Schnapps, or more for a stronger taste

150g fresh raspberries, rinsed

30g caster sugar

0.5 tsp lemon juice

extra raspberries to decorate if required

  • To make the biscuit base, either blitz the digestives in a food processor, or place them in a ziplock bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and mix well until completely combined.
  • Divide the mixture equally among the heart shaped cavities, and press down firmly with the back of a teaspoon until flat and well-compacted.
  • Place in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
  • Place the cream cheese and icing sugar in to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Place the double cream in to another bowl and whisk until it reaches soft peak stage. (This means that peaks will form when you lift the whisk out of the cream, but the tips of the peaks will fold back down).
  • Add the cream to the cream cheese and fold in until combined. You’ll notice it becoming thicker as you do this. The more you fold, the thicker it will become. Add the peach schnapps and keep folding to mix it in well, until smooth. (Taste a tiny bit at this stage and add more schnapps if required).
  • Divide the mixture between the hearts. I found it easier to use a piping bag to make sure I covered the bases completely. Use a small palette knife or spatula to level the tops, then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set. The longer the better.
  • While the cheesecakes are in the fridge, make the raspberry sauce: Press the raspberries through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the seeds (or blitz in a food processor and then pass through the sieve). Pour the seedless raspberry juice into a small saucepan, add the sugar and lemon juice, mix, and place over a low heat on the hob. Let the mixture come to a boil, stirring regularly, and keep on the heat until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • When the cheesecakes are set, remove from the fridge and push the bases up from underneath to release them from the pan. Use a knife to gently ease the metal heart base off the biscuit. Place on to a serving plate.
  • Stir the sauce until smooth and pour in to a disposable piping bag. (If the sauce has thickened too much, just mix in a little bit of boiled water that has cooled down). Cut a tiny end off the bag to make a very small opening. Drizzle the sauce over the cheesecakes, and add a raspberry on top of each if required to decorate.
  • Enjoy!!!

As these are so small with a decent amount of biscuit base, they are easy to pick up to eat. Or you can be more civilised and use a spoon, of course.

You could substitute the Schnapps for any flavour or alcohol you prefer. I can think of many cocktail-inspired cheesecakes to try with various alcohol and fruit toppings. I’m looking forward to making many more!

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 cliché! 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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