Change is something we should all embrace, and keeping up with the times is as important when cooking as anything else, although do they really have to change the shape of a Barbie doll? Where will it end? Will they give the blond bombshell more realistic careers with appropriate outfits like occupational therapist, call centre worker and primary school teacher?
At least the whole thing has inspired me to look at our own menu, and as a respectful nod to change, we’ve brought our cheesecake up to date.
First make the cheesecake mixture by combining the cream cheese, creme fresh, sugar, eggs, juice of one lemon, and 2 tsp of lemon zest. Cook over a bain Marie until the runny mixture firms up to a thick yoghurt texture; set a side. When cool transfer to a piping bag.
For the shortbread first make sure the butter is lovely and soft. Mix the yolks with the sugar and add the butter beating until combined. In a separate operation whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder, and now add the egg/butter mixture. Ideally refrigerate for an hour, but if you don’t have time spread direct onto a bakery tray that has first been covered with baking parchment, and place in a pre-heated oven at 190oC for between 8 to 10 minutes.
For the caramelized apple, place the water and sugar in a pan, heat until it has turned to a caramelized colour; add the apples and keep turning for about 4 minutes or until al dente; set aside.
For the apple puree: put the apples on a bakery tray which has first been covered with baking parchment. Place in a pre-heated oven at 190oC for approx. 20 minutes or until completely browned; remove, liquidize and place in a piping bag before setting aside.
For the stewed apples: Pour the cider into a pan, add the apple cubes and cook until al dente (about 3 minutes); set a side.
For the gel and caviar; first mix the gelificant and apple juice in a pan; bring up to the boil and pour into a measuring jug. Keep half for the gel, which is made by pouring the liquid onto a rectangular plate; it will set within seconds, set a side. For the caviar take the remaining apple/gelificant fluid, put into a squeezy bottle, and drip into the cold vegetable oil. Beads of apple jelly will form in the oil. Pass all the oil through a sieve, retain the beads and then set aside.
To assemble the dish, pipe a line of the cheese mixture along the horizontal line of the gel. Roll over to form what looks like a stick of rock, and cut away from the rest of the apple gel; place in the center of the dish. Squeeze extra cream-cheese mix either side. Now add three squeezes of the apple puree around the piped cheese. Add one caramelised apple wedge, the apple cubes, and then crumble the short bread on top. Finally top the dish with the apple caviar.
Apple Cheesecake, Cinnamon Shortbread, stewed and caramelised apples, apple caviar
For the cheesecake mix: 227g cream cheese, 240g creme fresh, 100g sugar, 2 large eggs, juice of one lemon, 2 tsp. lemon zest.
For the salt butter shortbread: 198g soft unsalted butter, 6 yolks, 200g caster sugar, 281g flour, 12g baking powder, 30g cinnamon powder, 4g coarse salt, 1 tbsp. vanilla extract.
Caramelized Apple: 1 whole granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters, 75ml water, 100g sugar
Apple Puree: 2 granny smith apples
Stewed apples: 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunky dice, 1 bottle of cider.
For the apple gel, and caviar: 250g Apple Juice, 12.5 Gelificant VegetalEn Pols Soso (order from www.hbingredients.co.uk), 300g vegetable oil.