Ocean Grove holiday house presented a challenge when it came to baking a cake. Strange equipment, an unfamiliar oven and minimal pantry aren't ideal baking conditions. Not to mention the memory of hot summer days last year, and family members who eat gluten free and nut free. Cheesecake was the answer.
no bake vanilla cheesecake (with cream cheese) that mum had loved recipe and the other was a showstopper berry ice cream cheesecake made with ricotta cheese.
It is the berry cheesecake that I am featuring here. As you can see in the above pictures it was quite a bit of work because of all of the layers. It had to be made the day before to freeze it overnight, but also so that we could relax on my mum's birthday. We used gluten free biscuits in the base but due to a mix-up the gingersnaps ended up on the vanilla cheesecake rather than the berry one.
Nigella's rocky road crunch. The kitchen was busy but full of fun. I regret to say that I didn't get any photos of the rocky road crunch so below is a work in progress picture. It might look at mess but it was so so so delicious and went rather quickly at the lunch.
Flowers were selected, cakes brought along, salads made and at 8.30 in the morning Susie's boyfriend started cooking the meat in his webber bbq. Crazy carnivores! Our vegetarian sausages didn't have to start cooking quite so early but were nicely charred!
carrot and sunflower seed salad. However I managed to get caught up at the rehearsals of the kids' song and forget I was toasting sunflower seeds on the stovetop. Luckily Chris was looking after them. Then I discovered that the lemons had been used up in gin and tonics so I headed out to the supermarket for more and for some birthday candles. Unfortunately I didn't take any kids because they would have loved the snake on show by the reptile handler.
However there was a problem. We followed the recipe. This involved freezing the cheesecake overnight and moving it to the fridge 30 minutes before serving. It was frozen so hard that we could barely slice it. We had reduced the sugar which made it not sweet enough when frozen. The recipe for the cheesecake intended it to be frozen like ice cream but I would not serve it this way again.
While it looks better when sliced as a frozen cheesecake, it tasted so much better when kept in the fridge rather than the freezer. In fact while I loved the vanilla cheesecake I found the cream cheese really heavy and much preferred the lightness of ricotta. I did notice that the top layer was quite creamy but the other layers with lots of berries were less so.
I am sending this cheesecake to Jibber Jabber for her monthly blog event, Love Cake. This February the theme is For the Love of Cake as in romance and birthdays. This cheesecake looks perfect for Valentines Day but it serves so many that it is not quite right for an intimate dinner for two. It is better for birthdays or even an Australian Christmas dessert.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: GF chocolate cake and GF blueberry lime poppy seed cake
Two years ago: Lamingtons at the beach
Three years ago: Lorne - beach, bush and eating out
Four years ago: CC Soba noodle salad
Five years ago: Camera Birthday Cake
Six years ago: Birthday chocolate cake and crazy computers
Seven years ago: Polenta and Tomato Comforts
Berry ricotta cheesecake
Slightly adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly, January 2015
250g gingersnap biscuits
100g butter, melted
500g frozen mixed berries, thawed
4 cups ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
fresh berries and mint leaves to serve
Grease and line 22cm springform tin.
Crush biscuits into crumbs and mix with melted butter. Press into prepared tin. Chill to firm up.
Puree thawed berries. Set aside.
Beat the ricotta with sugar with electric beaters. (Our ricotta was from the deli (not from a tub) and was thick so it didn't get really creamy.) Beat cream in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold cream into ricotta.
Divide ricotta mixture into three bowls. Mix 1 cup of the berry puree into one bowl, 1/2 cup into second bowl and 1/4 cup into third bowl. (We had to tweak slightly to make sure that there was a noticeably colour difference between each layer. A little more in the darkest and a little less in the lightest.) Any extra puree can be set aside for serving
Spread the darkest colour over the chilled biscuit base. Meanwhile place the other two bowls of mixture in the fridge. Set in freezer for at least 2 hours or until firm. (Ours took longer.) Once firm, spread the medium coloured layer on top. Return to freezer until firm. Spread remaining layer on top. Freeze overnight.
Remove from freezer to fridge on the day of serving. This cheesecake was best chilled rather than frozen but if you want it frozen, it still needs to thaw for longer than the 30 minutes that the AWW suggested. Arrange berries and mint leaves on top just before serving. Serve with any remaining berry puree.
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