Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chocolate crunch cheesecake.

Cheesecake does not need eggs! A while ago I found a fairly bland plain egg-free cheesecake recipe that tasted like an ordinary cheesecake. There was nothing particularly unusual about it. I guess eggs in a cheesecake are used for richness and flavour rather than as functional part of the mix. To test this theory I decided to try omitting the eggs from one of my favourite cheesecake recipes, and yes it worked perfectly.

Just a word of warning with the biscuit crumb base. It is not so easy to find a safe commercial biscuit. We ended up using McVities Digestives. These are completely egg and nut free (though always check the label in case this changes). The original recipe called for a chocolate ripple biscuit, so I've suggested adding some cocoa to compensate. Alternatively you could make a shortcrust base for the cheesecake, flavoured with a little cocoa.

Also for the chocolate coated honeycomb; if you are buying confectionery in Australia you are looking at either a Cadbury Crunchy or a Nestle's Violet Crumble. This means including an ingredient with traces of eggs and nuts. Hannah has had some problems with Cadbury's chocolate in the past (skin on her face becoming reddened and itchy) but was ok eating this. It is possible to make one's own honeycomb, something I remember doing when I was a kid with my mum. I attempted the recipe I had and ended up with a seething mass of burnt toffee. If any readers can advise on a successful recipe I'd be most interested.

And a word of warning: this is very rich - small slices at a time please!

125g biscuits, crushed
2 tbs cocoa (if the biscuits are not chocolate biscuits)
60g butter, melted
500g cream cheese
1/3 cup castor sugar
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup cream
1 tbs flour
45g bar Chocolate coated Honeycomb, finely chopped

Caramel Filling:
30g butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbs sweetened condensed milk
1 tbs golden syrup
2 tbs hot water

150g chocolate, chopped
¼ cup cream

Combine crumbs and butter, and press into base of 20cm spring-form. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Beat cheese, sugar and rind until smooth. Add cream and flour, beat until smooth.

Place spring-form tin on oven tray, pour ½ the cheese mixture into tin, sprinkle with honeycomb. Spoon caramel filling over honeycomb, top with remaining cheese mixture. Bake in slow oven about 1 hour or until firm.

Spread topping over cheesecake, refrigerate until set, decorate with extra cream and berries.

Caramel filling:
Combine all ingredients in a pan, stir over heat without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Boil without stirring 4 minutes or until deep caramel colour, cool 10 minutes.

Topping: Melt chocolate with cream in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, cool to room temperature

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Show on radio national about allergies

The other day Background Briefing on Radio National had a 50 minute program focused on allergies, including a look at the recent change in theory about avoiding early introduction of peanuts to small children. It is worth a listen. It can be listened to as streaming audio or down loaded as an MP3 for a few weeks, there is also a transcript which I think stays up a bit longer.