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 Concrete Recipe using Food Thoughts Finest Organic Cocoa

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I was over the moon to recently be sent some Finest Organic Cocoa from Food Thoughts. I get through A LOT of cocoa in my house… chocolate cake, brownies, cookies, and did I mention chocolate cake? If I’m honest, I have never really thought about the cocoa I usually buy. Until now, that is!

I’ve heard people talk about “Dutch processed” cocoa but wasn’t really sure what that was. I’ve now discovered that it means the cocoa has been washed in a potassium carbonate solution which reduces the cocoa’s natural acidity. A lot of people say this cocoa tastes smoother. Personally I prefer the more natural taste of chocolate, and so this Food Thoughts one is perfect. It is 100% pure natural cocoa powder, unsweetened and gluten-free. Just as nature intended. Heaven!

I wanted to try it in a recipe which relies on a very chocolatey flavour, so it had to be chocolate concrete (or chocolate crunch, depending on where you live). This was easily my favourite school dinner pudding, and remains a firm favourite family pudding today. We used to have it at school served with pink custard, which I’ve since found out was actually hot pink blancmange. Who knew? A lot of people have told me that pink custard is wrong… it has to be green mint custard. Again, it seems that it depends on where you live as to how it was served. I’ll stick with the pink though! I only found out how to make chocolate concrete a few years ago, when a lovely retired dinner lady gave me the recipe. I’m eternally grateful! I have made this recipe with both Dutch processed, and with this yummy Food Thoughts natural cocoa powder. The difference in colour hit me first. Dutch processed cocoa is a lot darker than natural, where natural is a much redder shade of brown. The main picture is using Food Thoughts cocoa. The next picture uses Dutch processed:

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I prefer the natural cocoa colour. Tastewise, I again prefer the natural cocoa. For me it tastes more chocolatey and indulgent.

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CHOCOLATE CONCRETE

155g unsalted butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

30g cocoa powder

225g self-raising flour

170g granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top

  • Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 12 x 7 inch tin with butter.
  • Mix the sugar and melted butter together, then add the flour and cocoa powder. Mix well until you have a stiff consistency and it is all well combined. Gently mix in the beaten egg.
  • Transfer the mixture to the greased tin, press down using the back of a metal spoon and flatten the mixture firmly into the tin, making sure you press the corners down well too.
  • Dip your fingers into cold water and sprinkle lightly on top of the mixture. Bake in the top half of the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little bit of granulated sugar. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then cut into pieces of desired size, and cool on wire racks. This will make it harden too.
  • Serve on its own or with any flavour of custard to be transported back to your childhood school dinnertimes.

If you want to try Food Thoughts Cocoa for yourself, it is only available in Sainsburys at the moment, but they will be expanding it to more supermarkets in the future. Enjoy!

I was sent this cocoa free of charge to sample and bake with. All views are my own though as honesty is always the best policy.