Tag Archives: chocolate ganache

Vanilla Cheesecake, Chocolate Ganache, Raspberry Jelly


No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

Everyone needs a trusty ‘bring-a-plate dessert’ that will wow people with its flavours, texture and look. This cheesecake in my humble opinion, does just that.

A buttery crumb base; soft chocolate ganache; creamy and tangy cream cheese, all contrasted with a tart raspberry jelly disc.

These can be prepared quickly and you can even purchase premade crust trays which will save you one step of this dessert. If you can’t find Graham Crackers, look for digestive biscuits and it will achieve the same flavours. (watch this space for a Graham Cracker recipe!)

For the cream cheese filling, I tested with a mixture of cream cheese, Mascarpone and cream. This is because the traditional recipe calls for either condensed milk or lots of cream cheese. I find those tend to be really dense and rich and I prefer something lighter. Mascarpone cheese gives me this effect. The liquid double cream is whipped in after the cream cheese, mascarpone and icing sugar has been whipped smooth and soft; the cream loosens it up slightly, allowing it to set perfectly.

You can probably add the chocolate ganache to the cream cheese mixture – we did toy with the thought of swirling it in (a recipe for another day! ). Today we will leave it clean, with a layered look – it turned out really well.

Lastly it was time to bring out my trusty Silikomart silicone tourbillon
mould, to create the spiral jelly discs. I used Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder and gelatine leaves to make the jelly, you can always use a different flavour to change things up.

What flavour should I make next? I will think about that while tucking into a piece of this cheesecake 😉

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

Ingredients

8 servings

Graham Crackers crust

  • 250g Graham Crackers or digestive biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • Or a premade crust

Cheesecake

  • 250g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 92g (3/4 cup) icing sugar
  • 100g double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Fresh As Jellies

  • 35g Fresh As Raspberry Powder
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 4 leaves gelatine (silver grade), soaked in ice cold water

Chocolate soft ganache

  • 175g dark chocolate (70% or above cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
  • 200g double cream (35% fat)

Method

Graham cracker crust

  1. If using a ready made crust shell, you can skip this and move to making the ganache.
  2. Otherwise, crush crackers or biscuits to fine crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, or in a sealed zip lock bag, and crushing them with a heavy rolling pin.
  3. Add melted butter and mix till mixture binds together.
  4. Pour crumbs into a 9″ lined springfoam baking pan or tart pan with a removable base, pressing the mix down with a tall straight glass. Make sure the layer is even, and press crumbs up against the sides as well with your hands.
  5. Chill in the fridge to firm up.

Chocolate soft ganache

  1. Place chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stiring; stir till homogenize and thick.
  3. Pour a 1cm-thick layer into the chilled cake base. You can test by vertically inserting a clean flat tipped spatula into the base – lift up and you can see how deep the chocolate went with the mark on the spatula.
  4. Return to the fridge to chill.

Cheesecake layer

  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and mascarpone cream together, until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Beat in icing sugar, double cream and vanilla till smooth and no lumps.
  3. Scoop into crust base.
  4. Smooth with an offset spatula.
  5. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Fresh As Jellies

  1. Place water into a pot and add the sugar and Fresh As freeze dried Raspberry powder in, whisking to dissolve completely.
  2. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
  3. Remove from the heat and add drained gelatine leaves.
  4. Pour into moulds and refrigerate for 3 hours till set.

Assembly

  1. Add raspberry jelly disc on top of cheesecake as garnish.
  2. Cut with a warm but dry knife.

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

Peanut butter Macarons


This one has been a long time coming. I have been saving my best peanut butter for these and finally it was time to open the jar of Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter. These are made in Nelson, New Zealand with only two ingredients: Peanuts, salt. Yes no added sugar! The nuttiness of the peanut butter matched nicely with the dark chocolate.

You can pair them with any colour shells of your choosing, but I’m particularly drawn to the purple and blue combination.

Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder
a few drops of violet and blue gel colouring, separately.

Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.

I paired these with a peanut butter flavoured dark chocolate ganache.

Filling Ingredients:
100g whittaker’s dark chocolate
100ml full cream
4 tbsp good quality peanut butter

Instructions:
Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Stir until you have a thickish ganache and add peanut butter in. Stir and let it cool and thicken in the fridge. Spread or pipe a teaspoon of ganache on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.

The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze well too (up to 3 months).

Tiramisu macarons


In thinking about new flavours for macarons, I find myself drawn to desserts that we like and thinking whether there can be a macaron version. A while ago I made a coffee macaron and on reflection I thought it reminded me of Tiramisu, an all-time favourite dessert in our household. Today I decided to make macarons based on our Tiramisu recipe. I made these with chocolate shells paired with a rum chocolate ganache and a coffee jelly. J is not allowed to go near the coffee so I made some with just the chocolate ganache, without the strong coffee jelly.

Macaron shells
150 g almond meal
140 g icing sugar
10g valrhona cocoa powder
58 g egg whites (about 1.5 egg)
1 g meringue powder
150 g caster sugar
38 g water
2-3 drops of each of brown coloring gels
58 g egg whites extra

Put the first lot of egg whites into your stand mixer.
Clip the sugar thermometer according to manufacturer’s instructions to a milk saucepan. Put the water and caster sugar in and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Some recipes say you should stir this gently – I’ve found that so long as I didn’t splash the sugar around, I won’t even have to stir. Use a clean pastry brush to brush down the side of the saucepan to avoid any crystallization if the liquid splashes up. Increase the heat and bring to the boil.
To make coffee-coloured shells, I added brown gel colourings to my Italian meringue. The amount depends on the strength of your gel, what depth of colour you desire and how it mixes with other ingredients. Practice is the only way to test it out. I scrapped 2-3 tiny balls out using a tooth pick.

Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 70°C. You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches this temperature, add the meringue powder to the egg whites and whisk in medium until it becomes frothy.

Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C (soft ball stage), take the saucepan off the heat, decrease the mixer speed to medium and slowly trickle the sugar syrup in, down the side of the bowl. (Be warned not to get the syrup onto the whisk as you will then have spun sugar.) Increase speed to high and whisk until the bowl is warm to touch, about 8 minutes.

20120409-072001.jpgAdd the extra egg white to the almond meal mix, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to thoroughly combine it.

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Continue combining the mixture to soften the meringue. To achieve “macaronnage”, I mixed the batter about 18 times.

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Wait 30 minutes for the skin to form.

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I fan-baked them at 125°C, for 18 minutes (longer than normal as cocoa ones need more time to cook).

Once out of the oven, the macarons were left for 2 minutes on its trays before I checked them. They peeled off the baking paper quite easily. I then slid the whole sheet off the baking sheet onto my cool marble counter top. This causes a thermal shock and will make it even easier to peel off.

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I paired this with a rum chocolate ganache, and the recipe follows:

120g chocolate, chopped
100ml cream
1 tbsp rum

Melt cream in a pot and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes until the chocolate melts. Mix the rum in till the ganache is smooth. Cool in the fridge for 60 minutes until firm for piping.

Coffee jelly
3 heaped tsp Moccona coffee granules
4 tbsp sugar
100ml hot water
1.5 gelatine sheets

Let the sheet bloom in a bowl of 250ml cold water for a a few minutes.

Dissolve the sugar and coffee granules in the hot water.

Squeeze the water from the bloomed gelatine sheet and add the sheet into the coffee mix, stir to completely dissolve the sheet. Cool in fridge to set.

This recipe makes plenty, so save some in an airtight box for later!

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In the meantime, I used a small icing spatula to lift off thin sections of the coffee jelly. I placed these on one pair of the domes and the chocolate ganache onto the other pair of the domes.

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These need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the ganache to flavour the shells, so don’t eat it yet! These can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months – just wrap a few of them (4 or 6) with cling film wraps and place them in a airtight box. Bring them out an hour before serving to allow them to return to room temperature. The moisture will cling to the cling film and not your macarons.

The one in the left is the chocolate flavour.

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Where as the one on the right has the coffee jelly layer. My tasters said they were yum! Although the coffee jelly is quite strong when tried on its own, it achieves a striking balance when paired with the rich ganache and sweet shell. Hm-mmm!

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Blueberry macaron


Once again I delegated the task of choosing our next macaron flavour to J. ‘What colour macaron should we make this time?’

‘er. Teal!’ ( that being my favourite colour)

Hm how can I get this colour without buying the actual colour gel? A bit of blue and yellow should do the trick! Read my basic macaron recipe:

Macaron shells
90 g almond meal
60 g macadamia meal
150 g icing sugar
58 g egg whites extra

Italian meringue
58 g egg whites (about 1.5 egg)
1 g meringue powder
150 g caster sugar
38 g water
5 drops of blue coloring gel
2 drop of yellow coloring gel

Instead of sifting, I blitzed the almond meal and icing sugar until it is a fine powder.

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Put the first lot of egg whites into your stand mixer.
Clip the sugar thermometer according to manufacturer’s instructions to a milk saucepan. Don’t let it touch the bottom of the pan. Put the water and caster sugar in and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Some recipes say you should stir this gently – I’ve found that so long as I didn’t splash the sugar around, I won’t even have to stir. Use a clean pastry brush to brush down the side of the saucepan to avoid any crystallization if the liquid splashes up. Increase the heat and bring to the boil.

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To make teal-coloured shells, I added the gel colourings to my Italian meringue. The amount depends on the strength of your gel, what depth of colour you desire and how it mixes with other ingredients. Practice is the only way to test it out. I scrapped tiny balls out using a tooth pick. I used the Wilton brand of gels.

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Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 70°C. You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches this temperature, add the meringue powder to the egg whites and whisk in medium until it becomes frothy.

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Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C (soft ball stage), take the saucepan off the heat, decrease the mixer speed to medium and slowly trickle the sugar syrup in, down the side of the bowl. (Be warned not to get the syrup onto the whisk as you will then have spun sugar.) Increase speed to high and whisk until the bowl is warm to touch, about 8 minutes.

20120420-121504.jpg Look at that colour! Isn’t it gorgeous?

Add the extra egg white to the almond meal mix, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to thoroughly combine it. Continue folding the mixture to soften the meringue. To achieve “macaronnage”, I mixed the batter about 18 times. Don’t over do this.

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Scoop the mixture into a piping bag (stand the piping bag in a tall glass if you can’t quite scoop and hold the bag at the same time) with a 12mm plain tip. Holding the bag slightly above the tray, pipe from the centre of each template circle to make a 4cm round. Keep it just within the border of each template circle. Do so without moving your tip to ensure your round is actually round in shape. At the end of piping each round, flick your tip from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock quickly to end the piping action. The tip on top should drop back and result in a smooth top. Decorate as you wish the top of the macarons.

Leave the macarons at room temperature for at least 30 minutes until a skin forms. It might take longer in humid days. Preheat your oven to 135°C around 20 minutes into this step (you know your oven best – I use fan force and have it on at 125°C). Test the skin by gently touching the side of a macaron with your fingertip – it should not be sticky. This is important as the skin lifts while the macaron cooks, resulting in the all important ‘foot’! Today I waited for 40 minutes for a nice skin to be formed.

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I fan-baked them at 125°C, for 18 minutes. As I have 3 sheets in total, I decided to bake the first in by itself, and then this time add the two last trays in after 6 minutes to see if that changes the results. The macarons in the trays that were baked last were a little bit stickier than the sheet that went in first but still ok with an extra minute in the oven. I think I will stick with baking them individually next time and only resort to time-cutting measures if I run out of time again.

Once out of the oven, the macarons were left for 2 minutes on its trays before I checked them. They peeled off the baking paper quite easily. I then slid the whole sheet off the baking sheet onto my cool marble counter top. This causes a thermal shock and will make it even easier to peel off.

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I paired this with a chocolate ganache, and the recipe follows:

150g chocolate, chopped
150ml cream
3 tbsp blueberry jam

Melt cream in a pot and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes until the chocolate melts. Add blueberry jam to the chocolate. Mix till the ganache is smooth. Cool in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm for spreading. Use an offset spatula to spread some ganache in the centre of the shells, being careful not to put too much. Once you have half of the shells done, take each top shell and put it on top of one with the ganache, with a twisting motion.

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These need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the ganache to flavour the shells, so don’t eat it yet! These can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months – just wrap a few of them (4 or 6) with cling film wraps and place them in a airtight box. Bring them out an hour before serving to allow them to return to room temperature. The moisture will cling to the cling film and not your macarons.

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Results: I will definitely add the blueberry jam as a separate layer from the ganache next time, as my dear guinea pigs (aka my lovely colleagues) said they couldn’t taste the flavour.

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Blackcurrant macaron with grape jelly and chocolate ganache


We went up to the Matakana Farmers Market last weekend and tried some gorgeous local produce. I was really inspired by the produce and picked up some macadamia meal and grape gelly for my next macaron taste adventure. I made some simple variations to my basic macaron recipe:

Macaron shells
90 g almond meal
60 g macadamia meal
144 g icing sugar
6 g freeze dried Blackcurrant powder
58 g egg whites extra

Italian meringue
58 g egg whites (about 1.5 egg)
1 g meringue powder
150 g caster sugar
38 g water
2 drops of Rose coloring gel
1 drop of Violet coloring gel

I substituted 6 g of icing sugar with 6g of freeze dried Blackcurrant powder and did something I haven’t done before – instead of sifting, I blitzed the almond, macadamia meal, icing sugar and Blackcurrant powder until it is a fine powder.

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Put the first lot of egg whites into your stand mixer.
Into a milk saucepan, put the water and caster sugar in and dissolve the sugar over a low heat. Some recipes say you should stir this gently – I’ve found that so long as I didn’t splash the sugar around, I won’t even have to stir. Use a clean pastry brush to brush down the side of the saucepan to avoid any crystallization if the liquid splashes up. Clip the sugar thermometer according to manufacturer’s instructions. Increase the heat and bring to the boil.
To make reddish-coloured shells, I added the gel colourings to my Italian meringue. The amount depends on the strength of your gel, what depth of colour you desire and how it mixes with other ingredients. Practice is the only way to test it out. I scrapped tiny balls out using a tooth pick.

Cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 70°C. You should monitor your sugar thermometer, and as it reaches this temperature, add the meringue powder to the egg whites and whisk in medium until it becomes frothy.

Once the sugar syrup has reached 118°C (soft ball stage), take the saucepan off the heat, decrease the mixer speed to medium and slowly trickle the sugar syrup in, down the side of the bowl. (Be warned not to get the syrup onto the whisk as you will then have spun sugar.) Increase speed to high and whisk until the bowl is warm to touch, about 8 minutes.

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Add the extra egg white to the almond meal mix, then add the meringue and use a large spatula to thoroughly combine it. Continue folding the mixture to soften the meringue. To achieve “macaronnage”, I mixed the batter about 18 times. Don’t over do this.

20120411-205653.jpg

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Today I waited for 30 minutes for a nice skin to be formed.

20120411-210028.jpg

I fan-baked them at 125°C, for 18 minutes. As I have 3 sheets in total, I decided to bake the first in by itself, and then this time add the two last trays in after 6 minutes to see if that changes the results. The macarons in the trays that were baked last were a little bit stickier than the sheet that went in first but still ok wit an extra minute in the oven. I think I will stick with baking them individually next time and only resort to time-cutting measures if I run out of time again.

Once out of the oven, the macarons were left for 2 minutes on its trays before I checked them. They peeled off the baking paper quite easily. I then slid the whole sheet off the baking sheet onto my cool marble counter top. This causes a thermal shock and will make it even easier to peel off.

20120411-210111.jpg

I paired this with a chocolate ganache, and the recipe follows:

150g chocolate, chopped
150ml cream
Melt cream in a pot and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes until the chocolate melts. Mix till the ganache is smooth. Cool in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm for piping.

In the meantime, I used a small icing spatula to lift off thin sections of the grape jelly. I placed these on one pair of the domes and piped the chocolate ganache onto the other pair of the domes.

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These need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the ganache to flavour the shells, so don’t eat it yet! These can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months – just wrap a few of them (4 or 6) with cling film wraps and place them in a airtight box. Bring them out an hour before serving to allow them to return to room temperature. The moisture will cling to the cling film and not your macarons.

This reminds me acutely of Ribena, my favourite childhood drink (actually still is!).

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