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Chocolate and lavender cheesecake with ice cream.

You may not have noticed, but the weather's been a touch hot recently.

So this week's recipe is for a chilled cheesecake with a twist. It uses fresh lavender which you may have in your garden. If you haven't your neighbour might, or possibly your neighbour's neighbour. But I'd recommend asking first before clambering over the garden wall.

The recipe calls for two lavender heads per portion, which are the flower tips at the end of the stems, smaller than a marble.

The following recipe is for two individual portions, made in moulds such as pastry cutters or, as I use, 4in lengths of drain pipe. But it could be multiplied up to make a larger sliceable cake.

We often serve this in the restaurants with a thyme ice cream, but a good vanilla ice cream would work equally well.

4 digestive biscuits

20g unsalted butter

150g mascarpone cheese

100g good quality dark chocolate

2 lavender heads

50ml organic double cream

Caster sugar to sweeten Two scoops of ice cream

In a food processor, or in a bowl and using the end of a rolling pin, blitz the digestives to a crumb. Melt the butter and mix it into the biscuits, then, on a large plate or baking tray, line the base of the moulds with the biscuit mix ensuring it's well pushed down and compacted before chilling in the fridge for half an hour or more.

Meanwhile, pour the cream into a pan, add the lavender and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Bring slowly to the boil, remove from the heat and allow to cool before pouring through a sieve to remove the lavender heads.

Place the chocolate in a glass bowl that can sit safely on top of a pan of simmering water but without touching the water. Once the chocolate's melted, remove the bowl and mix in the mascarpone cheese and then the lavender-infused cream. Taste and add a little more sugar if needed but don't make it too sweet.

Spoon this mixture into the prepared moulds and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

To serve, place the cheesecake on to the service dish and carefully remove the mould. Place a ball of ice cream on top and, if you wish, garnish the plate with a few summer berries.

* For other recipes of ours go to www.oldfieldsrestaurants.com

Oldfields Restaurants: 18 Claypath, Durham, (0191) 370-9595 and 9 Osborne Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, (0191) 212-1210.
COPYRIGHT 2006 MGN Ltd.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2006
Words:411
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