December 11, 2011

little cheesecake pots

the run-up to Christmas is hectic. even without kids, well, one kid who s now more out of the house than in... it s hectic.

making Christmas cards, buying gifts, decorating the house, deciding on a menu (although the past years it s been a yummy collaboration with my mom-in-law), well, you know how it is.

which is why this easy little sweet pot is such a joy to make, and to eat.

if you re a fan of cheesecakes, but don t want to make a whole cake and wait for it to cool until set, here s a solution:



100 gr digestive biscuits, crushed
30 gr butter, melted
300 gr Philadelphia cream cheese
3 tablespoons lemon curd
handful of fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon of sugar


1. mix the crushed bisuits with the melted butter and divide between little pots or ramekins (just to make a crust, as thin or as thick as you like) and leave to chill in the fridge until set
2. mix the cream cheese with the lemon curd and taste. adjust by either adding a little more lemon curd or sweeten with a little icing sugar
3. divide between the pots or ramekins and chill
4. heat the fresh or frozen raspberries with a little splash of water and the sugar until the fruit just collapses, leave to cool
5. when ready to serve, divide the raspberries between the pots and dive in ;-)

sweet and simple, but just that little bit indulgent, just enough to get one thru these crazy days.

in case i don t get to post before the end of this year, let me wish you a Merry Christmas and may 2012 bring you all you ever wanted, and above all, happy cooking days!

December 5, 2011

sugary cinnamony goodness

when the days are getting shorter and colder, it s nice to have a little something that brings warmth and cosiness.

filled with yeasty sugary cinnamony goodness, at the moment, it beats just about everything, even the French toast with soft brown sugar that mom used to make, for a lazy weekend breakfast.

there are quite a few foodie blogs out there that have the most beautiful pictures with a well-defined recipe (Hungry Girl por Vida, Joy the Baker, Annie's Eats are among the best).

so i am not going to give you the whole story in pics. (reason one being that i like to use natural light and i m not getting much of that here these days, reason two being that i also have a full-time job and i only get to take reasonable photos during the weekend, and reason three, these gals i mentioned above already took such beautiful pictures, i really can t top that, so do please have a look-see). but i will write down my version of the recipe.

there are those who will say never to mix cup measurements with metric, but i did, and i often do (because i do have those cups and spoons as well), and it works for me.



for the dough:

2 3/4 cups or 350 gr all-purpose flour
1/4 cup or 50 gr fine white caster sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
60 gr unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the filling:

1 cup or 200 gr fine white caster sugar, or you could use unrefined cane sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, optional
60 gr unsalted butter, melted


1. mix 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast and salt and set aside
2. beat the eggs and set aside
3. melt the butter with the milk, add the water and leave to cool until lukewarm
4. add the milk/butter/water mixture to the flour mix, and beat in with a wooden spatula
5. add the eggs and mix in, then add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour
6. i use the Richard Bertinet technique for working the dough, which is a whole lot different to the traditional method of stretching and kneading on a work surface, but works brilliantly for a rather wet dough like this one (ofcourse the traditional method of kneading is fine too, but you might just be adding too much extra flour to the dough - due to flouring your work-surface - which would make it quite heavy in the end)
7. once soft and pliable, shape the dough into a ball and leave to prove in a bowl, covered with either a clean towel or plastic wrap, for about an hour or until doubled in size
8. once risen, knock it back a bit and roll out to a rectangle of approx. 30x50 cm
9. mix the sugar with the ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg (if using)
10. brush the melted butter all over the dough and sprinkle all over with the sugar and spice mix
11. cut the rectangle into 6 strips horizontally as well as 6 strips vertically
12. stack the squares on top of each other to make six decks of dough
13. put these side by side in a prepared loaf tin (i used a 28x12x8 cm old-fashioned one)
14. leave to prove again for another 45 minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 175-180°C
15. bake for about 30-40 minutes until nicely browned
16. leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before carefully loosening the sides with a pallette-knife and taking out the bread to cool down some more (if you can resist the temptation to eat straight away)

what can i say that hasn t been said before... this one is a definite winner, although i ve been thinking i might like to add some chocolate nuggets, or maybe add some ground cardamom seeds?

before baking


ps. huge huge thank you to LKB for letting me in on 'the secret' ;-)