Sticky cranberry white Christmas cheesecake – gluten free

For those of you who remember that kids’ party stalwart – the Chocolate Crackle – here is one adaptation all dressed up for Christmas!  I made it in a large round springform cake tine (around 24cm) as I wanted the base to be thin – the white chocolate and copha set quite hard and if it was too thick you would never get through it.  This is a lovely, oozy mixture, you will get your fingers messy, when eating it, so keep those napkins handy!  If you want it less sticky, dial back the amount of lemon juice you add, but you will need some to offset the sweetness of the white chocolate and condensed milk.

Sticky cranberry white Christmas cheesecake

 

Base:

125g copha (solidified white vegetable fat);

100g white chocolate;

2 cups gluten free puffed rice.

 

Filling:

395g tin condensed milk;

225g block cream cheese;

1 tbs lemon juice;

170g dried cranberries.

 

To decorate:

Gluten free red chocolate balls and spearmint leaves.

 

Method:

Spray the springform pan with olive oil, lightly and set aside.

Cut the copha into smaller cubes (as it takes longer to melt than the chocolate does) and combine in a heatproof bowl with the white chocolate.  Microwave on high for 30 second bursts, shaking the bowl in between bursts, and stirring the mixture as it melts.  Once melted, stir to combine, add the puffed rice and mix vigorously.  It doesn’t matter if you crush some of the rice.  Press into the springform pan and put in the fridge while you prepare the topping.

Cut the cream cheese into chunks, and mix or blend with the condensed milk.  Add the lemon juice and mix until smooth.  Fold through the cranberries.  Spoon over the base, and allow to set at least four hours.  Decorate when ready to serve.

 

You can either cut this into squares for finger food (sticky) or into small wedges so that it can be eaten with a spoon.  It is less messy to eat with a spoon, but the base is more resistant to a spoon than to teeth, so it ends up being easier to pick up in your fingers and take a bite anyway.

It may be messy, but it is very tasty!

The whole slice

Queen Pudding – gluten free

My mother tells me that my grandmother used to make this all the time.  At Christmas time, you tend to get nostalgic and think of your childhood, so I made a version using my home made berry sauce, rather than a bought jam.  There isn’t a huge amount of sugar in this, so it isn’t as “bad” as it could be :).

Queen pudding

Queen pudding

2 cups milk;

1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (or cake crumbs if you have them, it will be sweeter if you use cakecrumbs);

2 eggs (use three if you want more meringue on top);

2 tbs white sugar; plus 2 tbs caster sugar for the meringue.

1/2 quantity of berry sauce.

 

Preheat a fan forced oven to 160 celcius (180 if not fan forced).   Lightly grease a deep pie dish, and put half the milk in the dish with the breadcrumbs to allow this to soak while you are making the custard.  Using another baking dish big enough to put the pie dish in, and with room to get your hands in to lift the dish out later, put enough water in the big dish to come 1/2 way up the sides of the pie dish and put the pie dish into the big dish – this is your water bath.  This stops the custard cooking too quickly on the outside and not cooking on the inside.

Put the egg yolks only into a medium sized, heavy based pan, and reserve the whites in a separate bowl for later.  Add the sugar and milk, and stir until well combined.  Put on a low heat and stir constantly until the custard thickens (to check – turn over the spoon and quickly run your finger over the back of the spoon.  If the line remains, then the custard is thick enough).  Pour the custard into the milk & breadcrumb mixture and stir to combine, place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes – to test the custard, insert a knife into the custard, if it is cooked it will hold its shape.  Leave the oven on.

While the custard is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff, then add the caster sugar and beat again to combine.  Set aside.  If you only use two egg whites, you will get a rustic top, where there are dobs of meringue and not total coverage of the pie.  If you want a more full coverage, use three egg whites.

Spread the berry sauce over the top of the custard.  Spread the meringue over the top, creating little peaks, and place back in the hot oven for about five minutes until the tops of the peaks start to brown.

 

 

Berry sauce – gluten free and versatile

I had a couple of punnets of berries in the fridge – you know how it goes, they look yum when you are shopping so you buy them, but somehow don’t “get around” to eating them!  So rather than let them go off and throw them out, I made a quick sauce, which I could then use on various desserts.  It wasn’t thick enough to call a jam, more like a “chunky coulis”.  You could probably use any berries, but I had blueberries and strawberries, and combined they were delicious.

Berry sauce

Berry sauce

1 Punnet (250g) blueberries;

1 Punnet (250g) strawberries;

2 tbs sugar;

Around 1/2 cup water, use your judgement, you want enough to put a good layer on the bottom of the pan so the berries and sugar don’t stick, without adding too much water and making the end product too watery.

 

In a medium sized, heavy based pan, combine all ingredients and stir to roughly combine the sugar.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a high simmer.  Simmer the berries for approximately 15 minutes, until they are soft and start to break up.  Roughly mash the larger berries (the blueberries will break up quickly but the strawberries will mostly keep their shape).  You don’t want a puree, but you want the strawberries to be in smaller chunks.  Allow to cool, then put in an airtight jar and keep in the fridge.  It should keep for a couple of weeks, but not indefinitely if you haven’t sterilized the jar like you would when bottling jam.

Use as required in desserts such as Queen Pudding, cakes, or as a chunky coulis or flavouring for panna cotta.