Ed Smith, whose previous books include The Borough Market Cookbook and the marvellou On The Side is back with his latest publication - Crave.
Crave is a book where the recipes are arranged by flavour - so you can focus on creating the dish you really fancy in the moment. The book features six different flavour profiles including "Fresh & Fragrant", "Tart and Sour" and "Chilli and Heat".
As a preview of the book, we've headed straight for the "Cheesy and Creamy" section to learn how to make the dessert of the moment, Basque Cheesecake.
Honeyed Basque cheesecake by Ed Smith
The burnished, Basque-style cheesecake has become something of a food media darling in recent years. Indeed, I wondered if it was too clichéd and of the moment to include a version here. However, this is the only kind of baked cheesecake I enjoy, and I’m certain that when it stops being *A Thing*, it will still be deliciously satisfying in its cream-cheesy, bronze-top-yet-wibbling-middle way. It’s also very easy* to make (essentially: mix the ingredients put them in the oven and burn).
So here is ‘my’ version, which is emboldened with honey to a level that should support rather than dominate the dairy; although it’s still worth saying that the more characterful the honey, the better the end result.
Delicious with poached or roasted seasonal fruit like rhubarb, quince, pears and plums, but also excellent on its own.
* You could make this by hand and elbow grease, but the recipe assumes you have a stand mixer.
- Butter, for greasing
- 600g (1lb 5oz) full-fat soft cheese (without additives or stabilizers – check the ingredients)
- 120g (4¼oz) golden caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 300ml (1¼ cups + 1 tbsp) double (heavy) cream
- 2½ tbsp good-quality raw runny honey
- Scant ½ tsp flaky sea salt
- 40g (1½oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
This recipe requires baking paper and a 20cm (8in) spring-release cake tin. You could squeeze it into a smaller (16cm/6¼in) tin for a deeper, gooeyer result, but make sure the baking paper collar clears the cake tin sides by 5–6cm/2–2½in).
Butter the base and sides of the cake tin, then line with baking paper to leave 4–5cm (1½–2in) of paper above the edges of the tin. The paper doesn’t need to be neat, a rippled fluting is fine.
Collate and measure all the ingredients before starting. Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F, and set a rack a touch higher than the middle, ensuring the tin and its high-sided lining will fit.
Load the mixing bowl of a stand mixer with the soft cheese and sugar, and use the paddle attachment at medium speed to beat and cream them together until the sugar is fully incorporated (it’ll take about 2 minutes). Keep the mixer at a medium pace and break the eggs in one by one, adding the next only once the previous egg is fully incorporated. (Tip: crack each egg first into a bowl then tip that into the machine to avoid spending time fishing shells out the cake mix.)
Pause. Scrape the sides down, then return the mixer to medium speed and add the cream, honey and a pinch of salt.
Allow the machine to keep beating the mix for 1 minute more, then slow it right down (but don’t turn it off) and sprinkle in the sifted flour one tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to medium again for a final 60 seconds, then pour the custardy batter into the lined tin.
Place the filled cake tin on a baking sheet and slide into the oven for 40 minutes if you’d like a slightly gooey centre; 45 minutes if the priority is a browned top. Whichever you choose, at that moment remove the puffed-up and burnished cheesecake from the oven and leave to completely cool (and sink), before serving at room temperature or below.
This keeps well for 2 days if covered and stored in a cool place or the fridge.
Why do we choose to cook the things we do, when we do? Most of the time, it is simply so we can eat what we really fancy; a subconscious response to a constantly fluctuating state of mind and appetite that's influenced by mood, season, weather, memory, occasion, outside events and internal feelings.
Ed Smith helps his readers home in on their cravings (whatever the reason for them) by organising his recipes within six cleverly conceived flavour profiles: fresh and fragrant chilli and heat tart and sour curried and spiced rich and savoury; and (best of all?) cheesy and creamy.
Plus, win a copy of the book!
Want to win a copy of Crave? Here's how to enter.
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