Blackberry, fig and hazelnut cheesecake

When figs are in season I am always looking for news ways to cook with them. Whether they are in salads with a few slithers of parma ham, shreds of fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of thick balsamic or simply baked in the oven until bursting, finished with a crumble of amaretti. During the short few months when they are about I l always like to pick some up that are nearly past their best and make them into a compote for my breakfast topping.

This weekend they were to be the shiny glory in a blackberry cheesecake. By adding hazelnuts to the biscuity base the pudding had a bit more crunch and added a little something. A perfect ending to a Sunday roast.

Blackberry, fig and hazelnut cheesecake

Seasonal fruit at its best

Seasonal fruit at its best

Serves 12

  • 150g digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 40g chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 200g greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs runny honey
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 150g blackberries, smashed with fork
  • 5 ripe figs, each one cut into 8 slices

Start by lining and greasing a 20cm round tin, with a removable base. Mix the crushed digestives, 30g of the hazelnuts and melted butter. Press the biscuit mix into the the tin using the base of a glass to pack it down. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Whisk together the cream cheese, yogurt, honey, lemon zest and vanilla paste in a bowl. Add some more honey if you like it sweeter. Stir the blackberries into the cream cheese very gently, trying to achieve a rippled look.

Once the base is chilled pile on the  blackberry cream cheese mix and put back into the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

When ready to serve remove the cheesecake carefully from the tin. Lay the sliced figs on top however you wish and sprinkle over the last few chopped hazelnuts.

A light cheesecake, seasonal and vibrant.

Blueberry and pistachio galette

Blueberry and pistachio galette

Blueberry and pistachio galette

Well, it has been a while and I am sorry for that. New job, trip to New York and just general laziness are my excuses! Fear not as one of my new year resolutions is to put more posts up and experiment more with my cooking. So first things first, a sweet treat to perk us up during this snowy weather.

As the snow falls, all I want to do is get in my kitchen and make some comforting treats

As the snow falls, all I want to do is get in my kitchen and create some comforting treats

This pudding couldn’t be simpler, it is now one of my favourites and is incredibly versatile. Puff pastry and fruit, what’s not to love about that!

Most of the ingredients are staples that your would have in your kitchen and whatever fruit or nuts you have in your cupboards can be put on the top. Today I used blueberries and pistachios but you could do apple and blackberries with walnuts, rhubarb and ginger, or plums and pecans. Or even dried figs with pomegranate seeds scattered over once out of the oven. Your choice!

Blueberry and Pistachio Galette

Serves 8
  • 300g puff pastry
  • 200g blueberries
  • 1tsp caster sugar
  • 50g shelled pistachios, crushed in a pestle and mortar

Vanilla almond frangipane

  • 60g unsalted butter, diced
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • half tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
Preheat the oven to 200c. Put a large baking sheet in the oven.
Start by putting the butter and sugar in the small bowl of a food processor and whizz until pale and creamy. Add all but 1 teaspoon of the egg along with the vanilla paste. Add the ground almonds and flour and blend until just incorporated. Cover and chill in the fridge.
Roll out the pastry into a large rectangle, to the thickness of a £1 coin, about 20cm x 30cm.With the trimmings make the border, brush the edges of the pastry base with water and lay the borders (about 1.5cm wide) on the base. Chill in the fridge on a piece of baking parchment.
In a small bowl lightly crush the blueberries with a teaspoon of caster sugar.
After 10 or 15 minutes, take the pastry and the frangipane out of the fridge.Spread the frangipane over the pastry, leaving the borders clear. Scatter over the crushed blueberries and the pistachios. Gently press down into the frangipane. Brush the leftover beaten egg over the border.
Put on the heated baking sheet in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crisp. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before tucking in, with ice cream, cream or just as it is.
Tuck in...

Tuck in…

Fig, walnut, Serrano ham and goat’s cheese salad with a pomegranate dressing

Bursting with colour, this salad is a showstopper

Figs are one of my weaknesses in life, I can’t get enough of them. Last year when on holiday in France there were two fig trees blossoming with the beauties, they were just dropping off the branches. Understandably I was … Continue reading