I’ve recently gone on a bit of a cookbook spree and added a good few to the admittedly poor selection I had at home. So look out for more cookbook reviews and recipes coming to my blog very soon… But for now I thought I’d kick off with Cheesecake by Hannah Miles.
As you all know, I am a HUGE cheesecake fan! And not just of eating them, but making them too…so much so that I tend to make chocolate cheesecakes more than non-chocolate ones even though I can’t eat them myself. I’ve had so many flavour ideas flying around in my head recently and have started experimenting with new combinations. Then I discovered Cheesecake by Hannah Miles – a cookbook dedicated only to cheesecake recipes! I knew I had to buy it straightaway, especially as it featured some of the flavours that I wanted to try out. Hannah Miles was a MasterChef finalist in 2007 and has since published 14 cookbooks, including this one.
It features 60 cheesecake recipes in total, divided up between 6 sections – Classic, Fruity, Candy Bar, Gourmet, Party, and Around the World. So you’ll easily find something to suit every taste and occasion, and also stumble across a few exciting new flavours along the way too! But first Hannah starts off with a nice short introduction about the different ingredients you can use to make a cheesecake and some helpful tips for common problems, like how to prevent cracks forming in baked ones.
Onto the recipes themselves, and it’s pleasing to find that they’re all clear and easy to follow, making it accessible to everyone. There’s nothing I hate more than a cookbook that includes a recipe without a photo of the finished product! So I was happy to see that this one includes a mouthwatering picture for every single recipe.
The cheesecake recipes that caught my eye straightaway include:
- Simply Vanilla Cheesecake – a crowdpleaser and classic that is delicious served with a mixed berry coulis
- Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake – this is a flavour that I’ve yet to make, but one that I love so it went straight to the top of my ‘to make’ list!
- Coffee Cheesecake – yes I’ve developed a bit of a coffee addiction recently, so spotting this recipe was perfect! I’m thinking of adding crushed walnuts to the base when I make it too for an extra crunch and as a bit of a play on a coffee and walnut cake
- Peach Melba Cheesecake – if only for the glossy, pretty presentation
- Lemon Meringue Cheesecake – the first of Hannah’s cheesecake recipes that combine two classic desserts…I just know it’s going to be a winner!
- Tropical Coconut Cheesecake – I’ve been keen to make a pina colada inspired cheesecake recently so will be taking inspiration from this recipe
- Peanut Brittle Cheesecake – it’s got peanut butter in it. Enough said.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding Cheesecake – my all-time favourite dessert in cheesecake form! YES PLEASE!!
- Profiterole Cheesecake – how ridiculously indulgent does this sound?!
Chocolate fans don’t worry, there’s also plenty of naughty cheesecakes in the following flavours too – Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road, Chocolate Hazelnut, Brownie, Chocolate Toffee Crunch, Chocolate Chilli, Chocolate and Ginger, Black Forest, and Tiramisu!
I had go at making a few of the cheesecakes from the cookbook too, and started with the Caramelized Banoffee Cheesecake. I’m not very experienced or confident with baked cheesecakes, but decided to give this banoffee inspired one a try anyway as it looked so delicious in the book!
Admittedly mine doesn’t look as pretty as I had some problems with the caramelised banana topping. I also ended up with a soggy biscuit base after cooking it in the water bath; so a top tip for this one is to make sure you wrap it in cling film properly! However, my Mum and brother both loved the cheesecake and happily sampled a couples of slices each for me (I couldn’t try any myself as I was ill!), although we had plenty leftover as it easily cut into about 20+ slices!
Next up was the Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake. It was deliciously light and creamy, and I loved the bursts of raspberry flavour from the syrup and hidden raspberries too! And you can make it yourself too by following the recipe below…
Serves 8. Made using an 20-cm round loose-based cake pan
For the raspberry ripple sauce:
- 125g raspberries
- 100g white sugar
For the biscuit base:
- 150g digestive biscuits – the base was too wet so we added a couple more biscuits to get the right texture
- 90g butter, melted
- 125g raspberries
For the filling:
- 250g mascarpone cheese
- 250ml crème fraîche
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar – we used 4 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- To make the raspberry sauce – simmer the raspberries and sugar with 60ml of water for about 5 minutes (it actually took about 10 minutes for us) until syrupy, then pass through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and set aside to cool.
- To make the biscuit base – crush the biscuits to fine crumbs in a food processor or place in a sandwich bag and base with a rolling pin.
- Transfer the biscuit crumbs to a mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter. Press the buttery crumbs into the base of the prepared cake pan firmly using the back of a spoon.
- Arrange two thirds of the raspberries for the base in a ring around the edge of the pan, then sprinkle the rest out over the centre of the base.
- To make the filling – whisk together the mascarpone and creme fraiche until smooth, then sift over the icing sugar. Add the vanilla bean paste and whisk again. Taste for sweetness, adding a little more icing sugar if necessary.
- Drizzle a little of the raspberry sauce over the raspberries on the base, then pour half of the sauce into the filling mixture and gently fold through until the mixture has thin ribbons of raspberry sauce running through it.
- Spoon the filling mixture over the biscuit base. Place spoonfuls of the remaining raspberry sauce on top of the cheesecake a small distance apart, then swirl them through the mixture using a fork or a knife to make a pretty ripple pattern.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours until the cheesecake has set, then serve – we served ours with extra raspberries and raspberry sauce
I love this cookbook and it’s gone straight to the top as my favourite one. If you’re a cheesecake fan then you have to buy this cookbook asap! Buy it online at amazon here or find it in your local book shop…either way, go grab yourself a copy now! Happy cheesecake making!
Other cookbook reviews coming soon include Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour, Noodle! by Mimi Aye, Wahaca – Mexican Food at Home by Thomasina Miers, and Gok Cooks Chinese by Gok Wan.