Monday, 27 April 2015

Tiramisù Mini Cheesecakes (Wheat Free)

Good Monday all my wonderful readers! I apologise timely for the lack of Friday recipe, and I have no reasonable excuse: I was busy socialising. I had a party on Saturday night though, and I made some very tasty mini cheesecakes, and these ones were a twist on the classic retro dessert tiramisù!

Fluffy sponge base, silky vanilla cheesecake with a coffee syrup swirl, topped off with some whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder... it is sinfully delicious, and actually very similar to a normal tiramisù, bar the raw egg.

Each person who has eaten one of these morsels has said to me that the coffee flavour in a cheesecake is very unusual, but very nice. The coffee is swirled in, making it quite subtle and not overpowering, but good and intense in some pockets where the syrup has collected.

This is what the cake looks like without the cream and the cocoa dusting...

Without the cream and cocoa dusting that makes this a 'tiramisù' cheesecake, it's a simple and elegant coffee swirl cake, which is equally delicious.

I love mashing up classic desserts, and if you've been following my blog regularly you will have noticed many varieties of dessert mash-ups, which mostly revolve around ice cream and cheesecake, which are my two favourite desserts. However, I have done a nice Neapolitan Coconut Ice mashup, which is neither cheesecake or ice-cream related.

But anyway, back to the actual making of this concoction. This was my second attempt at this particular recipe, the first one failing on account of a botched base sponge: I had both used the wrong sort of cake, and forgotten the baking powder. Thus, they were tough and stodgy, and dislodged themselves from the cream cheese layer. Fail.

I then put my thinking cap back on, and remembered that traditionally tiramisù is made with savoiardi biscuits (or lady fingers), which are little fingers of fatless sponge. I slightly enrich my fatless sponge with sunflower oil to make it more flexible, but it's still very light and airy. It worked much, much better, and even the cream cheese layer and the swirl worked out a bit better the second time too. I think the practise run did me good.

☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat
☑ Nuts

☒ Eggs
☒ Dairy
☒ Gluten
☒ Refined sugar products

For 12 muffin sized cheesecakes:

For the sponge cake bases:
  • 1½ ounces (40 grammes) white spelt flour
  • ½ ounce (15 grammes) cornflour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ ounces (40 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) sunflower oil
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 tablespoons (30 millilitres) milk, or water

For the vanilla cheesecake filling:
  • 8 ounces (225 grammes) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 tablespoons (30 millilitres) natural yoghurt, cream, or milk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) vanilla essence, or the seeds of one vanilla pod
  • Pinch of salt

For the coffee syrup:
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) caster sugar
  • 2 fluid ounces (60 millilitres) strong coffee
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) white rum or Marsala

To serve:
  • 8 fluid ounces (240 millilitres) whipping cream
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons (15 or 30 millilitres) icing sugar
  • Cocoa, for dusting
  • Optional: Grated dark chocolate, or decorating


    To make the bases:
    • Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mk.4). Line a 12 hole muffin tin with large paper cases and set aside.
    • Get a large mixing bowl and a smaller bowl, and separate the egg, putting the white in the large bowl and the yolk in the smaller bowl. To the yolk, add the oil and the milk and mix well until smooth and fully combined.
    • Using an electric mixer, beat the white until it forms soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, beating all the while. Beat until it forms stiff peaks. (Once you have finished beating, you will need to wash the beaters as you'll be using them later to whip egg white again).
    • Pour the yolk mixture into the whites and gently fold together. It should still be as fluffy and as increased in volume, but a little more yellow.
    • Sieve in the spelt flour, cornflour and salt, then fold very gently until you get a batter that is relatively thick. Divide the batter between the 12 cases; it won't seem like much, but it rises quite a bit so don't worry.
    • Bake the bases for 8 to 10 minutes, or until set and slightly springy to touch, and the faintest of golden brown. Remove from the oven, set on a wire rack, and reduce the oven temperature to 150ºC (300ºF, Gas Mk.2)

    When your bases come out of the oven, immediately prepare the coffee syrup:
    • In a saucepan, heat the sugar and coffee over a low heat until this sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bubbles are a little less rapid and the syrup has visibly thickened slightly.
    • Remove from the heat and, if using, mix in the rum or Marsala.
    • Using a pastry brush, gently dab some of the syrup onto the little sponge bases. If you don't have a pastry brush, use a spoon to sprinkle half a teaspoon's worth of syrup on each sponge.

    Now, make the cream cheese layer:
    • Like with the bases, you will need two bowls, both about the same size. Separate the egg, putting the white in one bowl and the yolk in the other.
    • To the yolk, add the cream cheese and mix until smooth and creamy. Gradually add half the sugar to the cream cheese mixture, mixing between additions, so the cream cheese doesn't turn runny. Gently stir in the yoghurt and vanilla.
    • Using an electric mixer once more, whip the egg white as before, gradually adding the remaining sugar and the pinch of salt.
    • Once the white is beaten to stiff peaks, gently fold it into the cream cheese mixture in two additions. You'll have a lovely light batter.
    • Divide the batter between the 12 cases, spreading out evenly. Give the tray a firm tap on the work surface to even out further and release any trapped air bubbles.
    • Pour about a teaspoon (5 millilitres) of coffee syrup into the centre of each cheesecake and then, using the tip of a knife or a chopstick, swirl the syrup into the cream cheese layer. Don't overdo it, or you'll end up completely mixing the syrup in and losing the swirl effect.
    • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until set around the edges and a little bit jiggly in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes in the tray before transferring the cakes carefully to a wire rack.
    • Chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Serve chilled.

    To serve:
    • Whip the cream and icing sugar to stiff peaks using , and then use it to fill a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe a little rosette on each cake, and dust with some cocoa powder. If you like, you can sprinkle some grated dark chocolate on top too for that extra decadence factor.

    Now, as you've probably read, there are quite a few steps involved in making these, but none of these steps is very complicated. But the result is delicious and well worth the effort. These are a great little morsel to bring along to a party, because everyone can have a serving of cheesecake without the hassle of cutting up or plating up.

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