When I saw this advertised on This Gal Cooks, I knew I had to get in on the action. I am not known amongst my friends and family for being very innovative in the kitchen, but there was something about cooking with champagne that REALLY appealed to me! I wonder what that was?!
The premise of 'Spiked' is simple, you have to adapt/invent a recipe involving the featured alcohol of the month, produce the food and then write up a recipe post. I am linking this recipe up to their link party and through doing this I can be judged. It's just a shame my Blackberry and Champagne Cheesecake with a Champagne jelly 'lid' couldn't be sent through the post, because trust me my lovelies: this tasted AMAZING!
- 250grams of soft biscuits - I used Digestives
- 75g of ground almonds to give it a nuttier taste.
- 80g of butter
- 100ml of Champagne
- The zest and juice of one orange
- 200g of Blackberries
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cornflour mixed with a small quantity of water.
- 500g of Mascarpone
- 300ml of double cream
- 150g caster sugar
The Champagne Jelly
- 400ml of Champagne
- 4 sheets of fine leaf gelatine
- 80g caster sugar!
There are quite a lot of ingredients, but the recipe is really simple.
1. To make the base, bash or blend the biscuits to a crumb. Mix the almonds through evenly. Melt the butter and then mix with the biscuits until well-coated. Press into a spring release cake tin (making sure you have greased it slightly) as hard as possibly. Chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
2. Wash the berries and place in a wide-based pan. Add the juice, champagne, sugar and zest into the pan with the berries. Bring to the boil on a low heat. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes. The fruit should keep its integrity. Strain the corn flour into the mixture and then cook gently until the fruit is coated in the liquid. The liquid won't disappear without you making jam, so take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
3. Soften the Mascarpone by leaving it at room temperature for a while. Using a mixer, beat the double cream and sugar together until stiff. Add the Mascarpone and then beat again until stiff. When the fruit mixture is cooled, spoon the blackberries (with a tiny amount of the cooking liquor) into the cheesecake mixture and then fold through until rippled. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
4. Use the two hours to drink the remaining 200ml of Champagne.
5. Soak the fine leaf gelatine in a bowl of cold water. Always add it to the water and not the other way around. It needs to soak for 5 minutes or so, leaving you time to finish your drink and start the syrup. Again, on a low heat, place half of the Champagne (200ml) into a pan with the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes until heated and slightly thicker. Squeeze out the gelatine of excess water and then dissolve it in the pan. Take it off the heat and then pour the other half of the Champagne into the syrup mixture. This will give your jelly the 'fizz' of the alcohol so be careful not to stir it too vigorously. Champagne should have some bubbly fun! Leave the jelly to cool, but not set. You don't want to melt your cheesecake either.
6. Leaving the cheesecake in the fridge, use a jug to pour the champagne jelly evenly over it. If you pour it outside the fridge and then move it, the level of jelly can become uneven or spilled. It will need to chill for ages before it sets, unless, like me you stick it in the freezer for 30 minutes to help it along.
7. I strained the cooking liquor and put it in a jug to use as a fruity sauce. This was a great plan.
P.S. I made champagne jellies with the leftover jelly mixture using an ice-cube tray. I put a blackberry in each one. Yum!
Here's the whole cheesecake - it will easily feed 12!
Removing the cheesecake involved a warm knife and a steady hand. I had a warm knife and wonky hand so the cream smooshed a bit on the sides. I did, however, try the recipe out on my best friend and parents.
My best friend consumed an entire slice in less than 30 seconds. She said it was "delicious".
My dad, the fussiest dessert love, and very likely to give honest feedback thought it was "probably one of the best cheesecakes" he'd ever had.
And my mum ,who normally hates cheesecake and eats two nibbles smothered in cream, not only ate a WHOLE slice, but asked me to leave her one for Monday.
Result! I hope you get a chance to make my cheesecake recipe. I'll warn you, it's not the cheapest option, but PERFECT for treating your dinner-party guests, family and close friends in this increasingly grey winter.
What would you have cooked with Champagne if you had the chance?