Who ate all the pies? My year of pies ~ Pickled cherry cheesecake

I still had some pickled cherries left over from the summer so thought I would give my dear friend Emma Shearer’s baked cheesecake recipe a go. I added some more lemon and pickled cherries to the actual filling. If you don’t have any pickled cherries, they are easily bought and you could also swap it out for any of your favourite preserved fruit. When summer rolls around in your neck of the woods, my recipe for pickled cherries is here in the diary too. They are really easy to make and perfect for sweet or savoury dishes.

Pickled cherry cheesecake

Pickled cherry cheesecake

For base
1 cups butternut snaps, blitzed to crumbs
80 g butter, melted
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For filling
1 kg cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
60 ml thickened cream
1 cup caster sugar
2 tbs pickled cherries and 1 tbs for the top
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs vanilla
5 eggs
2 tbs plain flour or buckwheat for gluten free alternative

Bring the cream, cream cheese, eggs and sour cream to room temperature. Grease the spring form pan and line the base with baking paper. Use a 24cm pan for best results. Preheat oven to 155°C.

To make biscuit base, mix the biscuit crumbs, butter, sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Using your hands, press mixture into the base of the lined pan, then freeze for 20 minutes to firm.

Now blitz the cream cheese, cream, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, zest and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, then add flour and process until smooth. Mix in the pickled cherries. Spoon over the biscuit base and tap the pan on work surface  moving it around in a circle to remove any air bubbles and create a smooth top. Bake for 50 minutes or until firm but still a little wobbly in the centre.

Turn off the oven and, with the door slightly ajar, leave for a further 30 minutes. Cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve spoon the remaining pickled cherries on top of the cheesecake.

Orange cake with zesty syrup and cream cheese icing

It’s orange season and if you are lucky enough you have your own tree or at least a neighbour with one! I use oranges for everything at this time of year. On my meats as a glaze, in salads, with roast veggies and in my deserts. This delicious gluten free orange cake is so easy and really quite scrumptious. It is quite dense so don’t be surprised by its weight. I am a little bit greedy and make a syrup and icing for this one. You can choose either too but I would advise just doing both. After all if a jobs worth doing, its worth doing properly.

Orange cake with zesty cream cheese icing

Orange cake with zesty cream cheese icing

2 oranges
3 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
For the syrup
zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tbs caster sugar
2 tbs water
For the icing
100g cream cheese
2 tbs icing sugar
½ orange, zest and juice

Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Grease a 20 cm spring form cake tin and line it with baking paper. Place the oranges in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes. Coarsely chop the oranges (both skin and flesh) and remove the seeds.

Place the chopped oranges in a blender with a splash of cold water and pulse until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and pale. Add the oranges, almond meal, flour and baking powder and fold to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool while you make the syrup.

For the syrup, add the orange juice and sugar to a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes syrupy. Make the icing by beating with an electric hand mix the cream cheese, icing sugar, orange zest and juice.

Gently poke holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer and then spoon the syrup over it. Once cooled lather on the cream cheese mix and decorate with some edible flowers live the rosemary and fennel in the photos.

Who ate all the pies? My year of pies ~ Pickled cherry pie

This is a wonderful pie recipe to use your pickled or preserved cherries from the summer time. If you don’t have any or can not get your hands on any, my recipe is below – perfect for all of you in the Northern hemisphere coming into summer but sadly down under you may have to wait until the winter has passed. You could substitute the cherries with other fruit if you can’t wait!

Pie crust

Pie crust
2 ½ cups flour
1tsp sugar
1 cup butter, cold and grated
Pinch salt
¼ to ½ cup cold water
1 cup almond flakes for top
Small handful nuts or more almonds for blind baking
1 tbs honey

In a food processor pulse the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles bread crumbs. Add part of the water and pulse again. Add enough water so as when you squeeze the mix it hold together. I suggest doing the water a tablespoon at a time as you do not want to over mix.

Turn out the dough onto some cling wrap and make the dough into a disk shape. Place in the fridge for an hour.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out so it fits into your pie dish enough to hang over the sides. Wrap the pastry around your rolling pin and unroll over the dish, gently pushing the pastry into the sides of the dish. Prick the pastry a few times around the dish with a fork. Any leftover pastry can be frozen. Now preheat your oven to 180.C and put your pie case back in the fridge until ready to use.

Blind bake your pie case by placing some baking paper on the inside of the crust and filling it with some almonds and a drizzle the honey which you can use on the top of the pie later. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust begins to go golden brown. If any of the pastry puffs prick with a fork a little more.

Once the pie crust is ready remove and fill with the cherry filling. Don’t put too much of the liquid in or it will go soggy. If you would like a sweeter filling, sprinkle the cherries with some brown sugar at this point. Now cover the filling with the flaked almonds and some of the blind baked ones too for texture. Bake in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with creme fraiche or cream.

Pickled Cherries
1 kg cherries
6 strips orange zest
350 g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
500 ml (2 cups) white wine vinegar
180 ml (3/4 cup) water
10 cloves
2 cm piece of fresh ginger, smashed
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cardamon pods, bruised

Wash the cherries and remove the stems and pips. Keep the cherries as whole as possible. Combine all of the ingredients except the cherries in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cherries and cook for 10–15 minutes, or until tender. If not using in the pie, place into sterilised jars and stock up for the winter.