Jenn, the Leftover Queen started a Royal Foodie Joust - a fun online creative cooking 'competition'. How it works is that three ingredients are selected and you have to use all three ingredients in creating something delicous to eat. The three ingredients for the July competition were
- a dried fruit
This is my very first time on a web cooking competition and my initial thought was to make a chicken casserole infused with dried apricots and almonds and then smothered in cheese. My lovely wife, who loves cheesecake, suggested I do an Apricot Walnut Cheesecake.
Why are cooking decisions always so difficult??!! I decided to do the dessert rather than the chicken casserole as ultimately what matters is the 'partakers' of my food rather than any cooking joust..... especially since my 3 year old princess, Sarah, absolutely loves my cheesecake!
I wanted to make the cheesecake special and a little out of the ordinary. Since nuts were involved, I decided to make an almond meringue for the base of the cheesecake. I then boiled dried apricots and then pureed it into a paste to add into the cheese mixture.. For garnishing, I covered the top with chopped apricots and walnut praline.
This is my recipe.
Apricot Walnut Cheesecake with Almond Meringue Base
3 Eggs whites
150 g castor sugar
150 g ground almonds
500 g Cream Cheese
4 eggs + 2 yolks (lightly beaten)
200 g castor sugar
3 tbsp self raising flour
1 tbsp corn flour
200 ml sour cream
200 ml thickened cream (unsweetened)
6 oz + 2 oz Dried Apricots
1 cup water
For the Praline
4 tbsp sugar
Whip eggs whites and sugar till stiff. Fold in ground almonds.
Spread meringue mixture into a lined and greased springform
Bake in preheated 170C oven for about 40 minutes or till meringue is cooked.
Remove from oven and cool slightly. Remove springform and greaseproof paper from meringue. Allow to fully cool.
In a medium saucepan, combine 6oz dried apricots and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes so the apricots are soft and the water is almost absorbed. Remove from the heat and cool. Once cool, puree in a food processor.
Cream the sugar and cheese till light. Add in the sour cream and mix well. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and continue beating till smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it forms soft soft peaks.
Fold in the sifted flour into the cheese mixture and add pureed apricots. Mix well and then fold in the whipped cream.
Place the almond meringue back in the springform tin and pour cheese mixture into pan. Bake for 20mins at 180C and then reduce heat to 160C and bake for another 40 mins or till done. Remove and let cool
While cake is baking, make the caramel by melting 4tbsp sugar with a little water and leaving it on high heat till it starts to caramelise and turn brown. Quikly add in the nuts and stir to combine. Pour out onto a baking tray to solidify - mixture will be lumpy. Chop remaining dried apricots as well.
Once cake is cooled, chop the praline and sprinkle over the cake together with chopped apricots. Place cake in fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
Want to see what the other entries are like? Visit the July Royal Food Joust
I had a lot of fun with this and I think its a great idea. Looking forward to the next Joust!