Stun family and friends this festive season with a fun twist on cheesecake from our favourite new book, Pleesecakes..
Recipes Joe Moruzzi & Brendon Parry
Photography Kris Kirkham
If there’s ever a time of year to indulge it’s now. For most of us, winter – and Christmas – means we get to eat more cake and not feel guilty about it (kind of). So we’ve chosen three excellent, exciting no-bake cheesecake recipes from the brand-new cookbook, Pleesecakes, so you can keep dessert interesting this season (as if it wasn’t already). Enjoy!
Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Brie & Cranberry
You’ll need: 4 mini cheesecake moulds or a mini cheesecake tray (12 compartments)
Base: 120g (41/4oz) cream (savoury) crackers • 40g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted • 40g (scant 1/3 cup) mixed seeds • Filling: 400g (14oz) cream cheese • 180g (61/4oz) brie, chopped into small chunks • 120g (3/4 cup) cranberry sauce • leaves picked from 3 fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra for topping • salt and pepper • Topping: 80g (1/4 cup) cranberry sauce • 160g (51/2oz) Brie • 20g (3 tbsp) fresh cranberries • a small sprig of redcurrants (optional) • 20g (3 tbsp) walnuts
Whizz the crackers to a fine crumb in a food processor (stick ’em in a sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin if you haven’t got a processor). Add the melted butter and give it a good stir to make sure that all the biscuit is nicely coated, then mix in the seeds. Divide evenly between the moulds, press down gently to make your base and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, brie, cranberry sauce and thyme, with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once you’ve given it a good mix, spoon it into the moulds and level off with a palette knife. Stick ’em back in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. Once set, remove from the fridge and take them out of the moulds. To decorate, simply scoop on a dollop of cranberry sauce, a healthy chunk of brie, some fresh cranberries, a few walnuts, a few redcurrants, if using, and a sprig of fresh thyme.
You’ll need: 6 mini cheesecake moulds or a mini cheesecake tray (12 compartments)
Base: 180g (6¼oz) mince pies • 90g (3¼oz) plain digestive biscuits • 30g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted • Filling: 600g (1lb 5oz) cream cheese • 120g (cup) caster (superfine) sugar • 240g (8½oz) mincemeat • 3 tsp ground cinnamon • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg • 3 tsp mixed (apple pie) spice • 240ml (1 cup) double (heavy) cream • Topping: 180g (6¼oz) mincemeat • 40g (1½oz) brandy cream, optional
• 6 x mini mince pies (30g/1oz each) or Christmassy chocolates • 6 x candy canes • 10g (¼oz) meringue, crushed (optional)
For the base, simply whizz up the mince pies and digestive biscuits in a food processor until you have a fine crumb. Add the melted butter and give it a good stir to make sure that everything is nicely coated. Divide evenly between the moulds, press down gently to make your base and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Add the mincemeat, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice, and mix together thoroughly. Whip the cream until you have stiff peaks and fold it gently into the mix. Spoon into the moulds and level off with a palette knife. Stick ’em back in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. Once set, remove from the fridge and take them out of the moulds. Top with a spoonful of mincemeat, a dollop of brandy cream, if you like, a mini mince pie or some Christmassy chocolates and a candy cane, and you can also add a sprinkle of crushed meringue for that authentic snow effect!
Almond & Orange Cake
You’ll need: 20cm (8 inch) deep springform cake tin (pan)
Base: 350g (2 cups) pitted dried dates • 150g (generous 1 cup) almonds • 75g (generous 3/4 cup) macadamia nuts • Filling: 500g (4 1/4 cups) cashew nuts (ideally soaked overnight) • 400ml (scant 1 2/3 cups) coconut milk • 60ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds • zest of 1 large orange • 20ml (4 tsp) orange extract • 5ml (1 tsp) almond extract • Toppings: 3 ½ large oranges or blood oranges, segmented • 20g (4 tbsp) flaked (sliced) almonds • zest of 1 orange • 10g (1 tbsp) coconut sugar
Grease the cake tin (pan) and stick the kettle on. You want to soak those cashew nuts in boiling water for at least an hour – preferably overnight. Then, soak your dates in boiling water for 10 minutes. While the dates are soaking, whizz the almonds and macadamia nuts to a semi-coarse texture in a food processor. Strain the dates into a sieve and squeeze out any excess water. Throw the dates and nuts for the base into a bowl and mash and scrunch them with your hands, until the dates have broken down and the mixture all binds together. Grab your cake tin and spread the base mixture evenly across the bottom with the back of your hand. Whack it in the freezer for 15 minutes while you crack on with the rest. Drain the cashews (making sure they’re soft), then chuck them into a food processor, along with the coconut milk, maple syrup, ground almonds, orange zest, and orange and almond extracts. Give it a blast for a good 5 minutes, until you have a nice smooth consistency. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, tap it on a hard surface to remove any air bubbles and level off with a palette knife. Stick it back in the freezer for at least 3 hours to set. Once set, remove from the freezer and take it out of the tin. To decorate, lay the orange segments in a spiral pattern on top of the cake, starting from the outside and working inwards. To finish off, sprinkle with almond flakes and coconut sugar and orange zest. Done and dusted – there you have it, a decent-tasting vegan cake. Big up. Allow to defrost in the fridge for 3-4 hours before serving.
Pleesecakes by Joe Moruzzi & Brendon Parry, £15;