FIG & HONEY CHEESECAKE

January always seems to feel like a bit of a blur - lots of time spent planning, goal setting, sorting tax returns and implementing changes to the way we want to eat after an indulgent Christmas period. I don’t believe in diets - they do more harm than good - but I want to be more conscious about what I eat and aim to have more of a balance. For me, that means trying to eat lots more greens and probably a bit less meat. One thing I won’t be cutting out though are desserts, which brings me on to today’s cheesecake recipe.

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I’m fully aware how much fat and sugar can get loaded into a classic cheesecake with huge quantities of cream cheese and double cream, so I’ve created this fig and honey cheesecake in collaboration with Frylight cooking spray which is naturally lower in saturates and contains no cholesterol. I’ve used a couple of sprays of Frylight Creamy Coconut Oil to grease the base and sides of the tin instead of using butter. This not only limits adding extra fat but the flavour also complements the coconut oil used in the biscuit base. Simple swaps like these reduce calories without compromising on flavour.  You can find out more about Frylight and see the full range here

I love this cheesecake because it leans more towards a German style as it’s made with quark. Quark is a naturally low fat soft cheese with a similar texture to greek yoghurt and is great for cooking and baking. 

Not as sweet or dense as an American style cheesecake, a slice of this feels much more fresh and light. I’ve still got lots of jars of stem ginger left over from Christmas that I’m trying to work through so I added a bit of the syrup into the filling and decorated with chopped bits which adds a little kick that I love. This is a great dessert  to make in advance; chill it overnight and then decorate once you’re ready to serve.

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R E C I P E

I N G R E D I E N T S

Base
Frylight Coconut Oil Cooking Spray
150g Digestive Biscuits
2 teaspoons Caster Sugar
2 tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted

Filling
500g Quark
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
100g Honey, plus extra to drizzle on top
2 tbsp Stem Ginger Syrup
30g Cornflour
2 Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
175g Sour Cream
Pinch Sea Salt

2-4 Fresh Figs, quartered, to decorate
Chopped Stem Ginger, to decorate

M E T H O D

Preheat Oven to 180C/Gas 4. Spray the base and sides of a 20cm round springform cake tin with Frylight. 

Crush the digestive biscuits together with the caster sugar in a food processor until fine or place them in a plastic food bag and bash with a rolling pin. Pour in the coconut oil and stir until the biscuits are evenly coated. 

Press the biscuit mix firmly into the cake tin and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Turn the oven temperature down to 160C/Gas Mark 2.

Make the filling by whisking together the quark, vanilla, honey and ginger syrup until smooth. Mix in the cornflour followed by the eggs and yolk. Fold in the sour cream and the sea salt and pour the mixture into the cake tin. 

Bake the cheesecake for 45-55 minutes until the edges are firm but there is still a little wobble in the middle. Once cooked, turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar whilst the cheesecake cools inside for 30 minutes. This helps prevent the top from cracking.

Once cooled, remove the cheesecake from the oven and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before decorating with fresh figs, chopped stem ginger and a drizzle of honey. 







CHRISTMAS CINNAMON MERINGUES

Every Christmas I make a pavlova. Crispy meringue with a chewy interior piled high with double cream and fresh fruits. It sits firmly as one of my top 3 desserts and is often a go-to when I’m making pudding for a crowd. People seem to get a little nervous when it comes to making meringues but i promise you, they’re not as scary as they look. Make sure the bowl you’re whisking the whites in is completely grease free - i do this by wiping the inside with a kitchen towel and some lemon juice. once baked, let them cool in the oven to prevent major cracking. And if all else fails, just go wild with the cream and no one will spot any mishaps.

These individual meringues are made with Schwartz Ground Cinnamon which I stirred into the fluffy egg whites before baking giving them a rich, warm flavour. You can make these as big or as small as you please and top with them whatever you have to hand. And if you need some more inspiration and recipes from Schwartz and myself for the big day, head here.

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R E C I P E
serves 4-6

Ingredients

325g (11oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) egg whites, from 5 medium eggs
1½ tsp Schwartz Ground Cinnamon
300ml (½ pint) double cream
Figs, oranges, choice of berries, to decorate


M E T H O D

Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC, 374ºF, Gas Mark 5 and line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Pour the sugar into a deep roasting tray and heat in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to Gas mark 1/140C

Start whisking the egg whites on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer until thick and frothy. With the mixer still running, add in the hot sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue whisking for 5 - 7 minutes.

Once you’ve added all the sugar, add in the Cinnamon and whisk briefly. The mixture should be smooth, glossy and doubled in size.  Spoon 6 - 8 dollops of meringue on the baking trays and bake for 1 hour. 

The meringues are done when they easily lift of the baking paper with a firm exterior. Let them cool in the oven for 30 minutes before removing from the oven to cool completely.

Serve with lightly whipped double cream, your choice of fresh fruit and a dusting of cinnamon. 

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This post was sponsored by Schwartz and all opinions remain my own.