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Posts Tagged ‘Mascarpone’

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

October 2, 2009 1 comment

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcake

I’m not sure if this says more about my shopping than my cooking habits, but I seem to be forever coming up with ways to use up leftover mascarpone. Of course, depending on how you look at it, this isn’t a bad thing since these new inventions are usually sweet treats.

Overwhelmed with new cupcake recipes and techniques this month, from my recent book purchase, and a feature in this month’s Sainsbury’s Magazine, I drew inspiration from these and elsewhere, but ended up going my own way. In this case, these are plain vanilla cupcakes with a light and creamy strawberry-cheesecake-esque topping. Sometimes, I do think that vanilla cupcakes are the way to go, if you’re adding a good frosting, since, if nice and moist, they offer a comfortingly bland yet satisfying backdrop to a delicious topping. Although, having said that, on any given day I’m equally likely to make flavoured cupcakes that complement their frosting – one of the best things about these pretty little treats is they’re so adaptable, to what you have in the house, to a special event, and not least to your current mood.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

This is a fairly standard cupcake mixture, which made enough for 9 muffin cases, my preference for cupcakes, but would equally, with the cooking time adjusted, make 12 smaller but perfectly formed cakes in standard cases. The frosting is, of course, adaptable – cupcakes seem to be the thing right now, and I reckon more recipes I see seem to call for a cream cheese frosting, so mascarpone wasn’t much of a stretch, since I had it anyway, and although I think this adds more of a cheesecake-yness, if you will, you could use Philadelphia-type soft cream cheese, full fat please, if you so wish.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcake 2

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (makes 9)

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 100g self raising flour

For the Strawberry Cheesecake Frosting

  • 125g mascarpone (at room temperature)
  • 50g butter (at room temperature)
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • a little pink food colouring (optional)
  • 2 digestive biscuits (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 9 holes of a muffin tray with muffin cases (or 12 holes with smaller fairy cake cases).

Put the butter and sugar into a bowl, and cream together until pale and fluffy, with an electric handwhisk or mixer.

Continuing to beat, add an egg, until incorporated, then a spoonful of the flour, incorporate, then the final egg, and incorporate that too. (Adding the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of flour between, reduces the chance of the batter curdling.) Finally, add the vanilla and milk and beat some more.

Add the flour, and mix in well, but briefly, either with your mixer on a low speed or by hand, since overworking the batter once the flour is added may affect the rising of your cakes.

Divide the mixture between the waiting cases, ensuring they are not more than two thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking at 20, until the sponge is lightly golden, springs back if you gently touch it, and/or an inserted skewer or similar emerges clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, or even while they’re baking, make your frosting. Put the mascarpone, butter and icing sugar into a bowl, and beat together, slowly at first, and even if completing the job power-assisted, I would start of with a spoon to avoid the dust-cloud of icing sugar you may otherwise get. Once combined, turn up the mixer and continue beating until quite light and fluffy.

Force the jam through a sieve with the back of a spoon, and then scrape the now bit-free jam from the reverse of the sieve. Add this to the frosting, beat it through, and then taste, and add a little more jam if you think you need it. If you wish to add a little pink food colouring, do so now, and again beat, until you have an even colour. If your frosting seems too runny, add a little extra icing sugar, and then chill in the fridge until your cupcakes are completely cold and ready to be iced – this will also help the frosting firm up a little after all of the beating.

When you’re ready, top the cupcakes with the frosting. Bash, whizz or otherwise pulverise the digestive biscuits into crumbs, and scatter over to decorate. These will keep in a sealed container, in the fridge if its warm, for a couple of days, although do please bring them back to room temperature to eat. 

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Creamy Red Pesto Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Creamy Red Pesto Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes

It seems everyone I know is growing tomatoes this year! We only moved into our house in May, and we’ve been concentrating our effort, and budget, on getting the inside how we want it. This means that the garden’s been on the back burner for this year, figuring that next Spring we’ll set to work on it ready for enjoying it next summer. Hopefully, we’ll be able to grow some vegetables, spurred on by the small pot of cherry tomato plants, donated by my mother and nurtured by the OH, we have going on in one corner of the patio right now. And they’re fruiting! At least, they’re covered with tiny green tomatoes waiting to get red in the sun. So far, we’ve had one each, but hopefully more are on the way! Anyhow, like I said, everyone else seems to be growing tomatoes, and I received a huge bowl of bright red baby ones from the MIL who has more than she knows what to do with.

One of my favourite things to do with cherry tomatoes is to roast them and eat them whole, and this recipe is based on one in the May 2009 BBC Good Food Magazine, which caught my eye as it’s served with roasted baby tomatoes. Yum! I’ve made a few changes, of course, which include using red pesto instead of the suggested green, and upping the quantities of tomatoes. I served this with some plain (read: slathered with butter) new potatoes.

Creamy Red Pesto Stuffed Chicken, with Roasted Tomatoes (serves 2)

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons red pesto
  • 45g mascarpone
  • olive oil
  • 50g breadcrumbs (2 ish slices white bread, crust removed, whizzed into crumbs)
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • handful pine nuts
  • handful fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly oil a shallow baking dish, large enough to hold the chicken breasts and tomatoes.

Using a small, sharp knife, slit along the fat side of each chicken breast to make a little pocket.

Mix together the pesto and mascarpone until well combined. Spoon half of the mixture into the pocket in each chicken breast, carefully pushing in as much as you can, and then closing the pocket and smoothing down the mascarpone. You probably won’t be able to fully close the breast up again, but a little leaking during cooking is fine.

Tip the breadcrumbs onto a plate of shallow bowl, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and then lightly mix with your hands. Brush each chicken breast on both sides with a little oil, then lay onto the breadcrumbs, pile some onto the top and gently push down so both sides are coated – but not too hard, you’re looking for a light crumb, not a compacted crust.

Place the chicken breast into the prepared dish then scatter the tomatoes amongst. Drizzle some more olive oil, maybe two tablespoons or so, over everything, and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the breadcrumbs begin to turn golden and the chicken is cooked through.

Scatter over the pine nuts and cook for another two minutes. Then artfully scatter over some basil leaves, et voila! Enjoy.  

Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce

August 21, 2009 Leave a comment

This sauce is amazing! Quick, easy and at the same time rich and indulgent. Based on a recipe in May’s BBC Good Food Magazine, with a few minor tweaks. Their suggestion is to have this with gnocchi and spinach, although it would be equally great with pasta. This is also a good standby supper, as you’ll likely have most of what’s needed in the house, or at least I do, perhaps having to pick up a tub of mascarpone on my way home.

Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce (serves 2)

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 250g tub mascarpone (i.e. 125g, but by eye rather than by weighing)
  • Fresh basil and freshly shaved or grated Parmesan to serve

Finely chop the garlic. Heat the oil in a large-ish frying pan and fry the garlic for a minute or two until beginning to colour. Tip the tomatoes into the pan, and simmer for 5-10 minutes until reduced a little.

Stir in the mascarpone, and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes until all incorporated. Stir into 400g cooked, drained pasta, or a 500g pack gnocchi, cooked as per packet instructions, perhaps with a 200g bag of baby spinach leaves tipped into the boiling water for the last minute of cooking, and drained well. Scatter over freshly torn basil leaves and freshly shaved or grated Parmesan, and eat immediately!