Thursday, 14 March 2013

Winter strawberries


Trip to Arroyo's greengrocer had a surprise in store. A good one, luckily.

Of course Spanish strawberries have nothing on the Finnish or the English ones but can these really be the same watery, bland imported strawberries I've been cursing in the  middle of the Finnish winters?




And as good as they are just on their own or with some vanilla flavoured cream...




...I could only think of one thing: New York and cheesecake. And since I'm trying to exercise some restraint and portion control, I made individual ones using 8 cm diametre ring moulds. I used Campurianas- local biscuits that are somewhere between oat biscuits and gingerbread.

The base for the filling was the cheesecakey filling I made for the cannolis, but as I was admiring the beautiful berries in all their royal red glory (listen to me waxing lyrical  and giving Nigella a run for her money...) something flipped in my brain, leading to the following process: tomatos are red and taste great with basil, which is green. Ergo, strawberries, which are red, too, must go well with mint. You know,  since it's green.

Normally when making cheesecake I add to the cream cheese mix some raisins that I've fattened up in Cointreau /orange juice. A thinly sliced pear is another favourite, especially if you add some cardamom and/or cinnamon into the cream cheese.

Makes 2

Base:

6 biscuits
1 tbsp butter, melted

Mince the biscuits in a food processor (or employing the good old-fashioned smash 'em with a rolling pin 'til they bleed- method). and stir in the melted butter. Line the molds with baking parchment, place on a baking tray and add a spoonful of the mixture. Press tightly. The exact amount depends on the size of your molds and the desired thickness of the base. Bake in 180° for 5 minutes. Meanwhile make the filling. 

Filling:

150 g cream cheese
1 tbsp sugar 
1 tsp vanillasugar
dash of lemon juice
1,5 tsp fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 egg

Mix the ingredients and spoon into the molds. Bake for 15 minutes. If you don't want the surface to get any colour, cover with foil.

And this is how it turned out. You think I was done? Oh, no...




Did I have to start getting all cheffy? Oh, yes...


Strawberry coulis:

4 large strawberries 
slightly less than 1 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tsp orange juice

Blizz the strawberries, combine with the rest of the ingredients and serve with the cheesecake.




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