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Cheesecakes are the latest fad around here. Everyone’s talking about them, everyone’s ordering them on coffee dates, everyone’s looking up recipes to try them at home but it is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea to go out there, bake a great cheesecake and get it right every time. And this is where these no-bake versions will seem almost Godsent so that you can actually have your cake and eat it, right away. These no-fuss mini cheesecakes, from Tastes Lovely, have the usual buttery crumb crust paired alongside a light, creamy filling and topped with a good measure of homemade blueberry sauce. Assembled in small Mason jars, they can be made days ahead so that you can open your fridge and reach for one whenever you need to have cheesecake without even having to turn the oven on.

MINI BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKES

Ingredients:

For the Blueberry Sauce

650g fresh blueberries

1/4 cup cold water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Crumb Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon white granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

For the Cheesecake Filling

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold

450g cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Method:

  • For the blueberry sauce, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Reserve 1/2 cup blueberries for garnish.
  • Add remaining blueberries, water, sugar and cornstarch to the saucepan. Mash with a potato masher.

  • Cook for about 4 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from heat to allow it to cool.
  • Stir in lemon juice and set aside. Once it is room temperature, cover and keep in fridge until required.

  • In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar and stir it to combine.
  • Slowly drizzle in the melted butter with 1 hand, and stir to combine with a fork using the other hand.

  • When well mixed, it will look like wet sand. Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons of crumb mixture into each jar.
  • Press the crumbs in an even layer at the bottom of the jar using medium pressure and set them aside.

  • For the filling, beat the cold heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, Greek yogurt and powdered sugar.

  • Start at low speed, slowly increase to high as sugar gets incorporated. Beat for 2 minutes until creamy.
  • Add in half of the whipped cream to cream cheese mixture. Then add other half of the whipped cream.

  • Gently fold in so that it stays somewhat light and airy else it will be too thick once it cools in the fridge.
  • To assemble, spoon about 1/3 cup of the cheesecake on top of graham cracker crust in the mason jars.

  • Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the blueberry mixture on top of the cheesecake. Cover jars with the lids.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour so that they firm up. Top cheesecake with fresh blueberries and serve.

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

Are you still relying on boxed pancake mix for deliciously light and fluffy pancakes? Though I make pancakes on a regular basis, I always like to go with buttermilk to give them the characteristic airy texture as in this great recipe from Savory Sweet Life. It makes me doubly happy when I can get my hands on some genuine buttermilk [I was lucky to find Danone Cultured Buttermilk from the dairy aisle at Shoprite Tamarin] but you can simply shake some full cream milk with lemon juice or vinegar. It does not matter if you cannot flip them over like a pro but once you are done, stack your pancakes high on a hot plate and serve with butter or maple syrup and you will forget all about boxed pancake mix.

BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup low fat buttermilk

2 eggs, room temperature

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

4 tablespoons caster sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

4 tablespoons liquid milk

Method:

  • Blend buttermilk, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a blender at a medium low speed until well combined.

  • Slowly add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and continue to blend till smooth.

  • Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the batter has the consistency of honey or cake mix batter.

  • Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and coat with butter. Pour 1/3 cup batter onto the pan.

  • Watch for pancake to form bubbles on the surface and for griddle side of the pancake to turn golden.

  • Gently but quickly flip pancake over, cook for 30 seconds until golden. Repeat until batter is used up.

  • Stack pancakes between sheets of parchment paper. Serve with maple syrup. Makes 16-18 pancakes.

Buttermilk Pancakes

If you love dense, buttery cakes with lots of flavor, this rich cannoli pound cake from Stellina Sweets is definitely gonna make it on your hit list. The cake will rise tall with a lovely cracked top if you bake it in a narrow loaf pan so be sure you do just that. The combination of pistachios, chocolate, citrus zest and ricotta cheese may take you a while to get there, especially if you are using raw unshelled pistachios as it might take well over an hour to shell, chop and roast before you can add them to the batter.

I dare say that you will be nicely rewarded for every ounce of hard work you put in as the finished cake tastes amazing and smells heavenly. Since I’m not familiar with the famous Italian cannoli – a deep fried, crisp cylindrical shell, filled with sweetened ricotta with the ends dipped in a mixture of chocolate and pistachios, which I hope to try at some point –  I cannot honestly say whether the pound cake version matches up to the authentic stuff but I would urge all of you to go ahead and make it anyway so that you can be your own judge.

CANNOLI POUND CAKE

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour

1 cup (170 grams) mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup (60 grams) pistachios, chopped small

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sweet marsala wine

1 cup (250 grams) whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 or 2 pinches allspice

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Method:

  • Place rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray a 8 x 4½” pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  • Line the pan with parchment paper, such that it overhangs on the long sides, and spray the parchment.

  • Whisk together the flour, chocolate chips, and chopped pistachios in a medium bowl and set this aside.

  • Combine sugar and orange & lemon zests in a bowl and rub zest thoroughly into the sugar using fingers.

  • The mixture will be fluffy and citrus-scented and flecked throughout with bits of orange and yellow zest.

  • Add the olive oil, marsala, ricotta cheese, and eggs; whisk to combine into a fairly homogenous mixture.

  • Sprinkle baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice on top, and whisk to combine everything together.

  • Use a spatula to gently fold the flour/chocolate/pistachio mixture into wet ingredients until just blended.

  • Scrape batter into pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Transfer it to wire rack and cool cake in the pan for about 15 minutes. Pull parchment up and out of pan.

  • Let cake cool to room temperature on the rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired for a festive look.

  • The cake will keep for at least 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes 10-12 servings.

Cannoli Pound Cake

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