Treat your favourite person to a delicious date night dessert for Valentine’s Day or any other time!

Cherry ripe cheesecake

Recipe and image courtesy of McKenzie’s; mckenziesfoods.com.au

Serves 10

Cheesecake

  • 250g plain chocolate biscuits
  • 1/2 cup McKenzie’s moist flakes coconut
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp McKenzie’s gelatine powder
  • 500g cream cheese, diced and softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 200g dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 1/2 cup pitted cherries, chopped

Chocolate sauce

  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 80g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Fresh cherries, for serving

Line the base and sides of a 20cm cake pan with removable base with baking paper. Place biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs have formed. Add coconut and butter, mixing until just combined. Press into the base of prepared pan and refrigerate until required.

Pour boiling water over gelatine and stir. Microwave for 25 seconds until mixture is just boiling. Set aside to cool.

Place cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add cooled gelatine mixture and mix in well. Add the melted chocolate, mixing until well combined. Remove from mixer and fold in whipped cream and cherries. Pour over the biscuit base and refrigerate for 2 hours until set and firm.

For chocolate sauce, heat cream and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar has dissolved and cream is hot. Pour over chocolate and slowly stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before drizzling over cheesecake. Top with cherries.


Vegan vanilla sponge cake with cream ‘cheese’ icing, maple and pomegranate by Katrina Meynink

Vegan vanilla sponge cake with cream ‘cheese’ icing, maple and pomegranate by Katrina Meynink

Serves 12

  • 330g flour
  • 320g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 190ml almond milk
  • 120ml aquafaba (the liquid from a tin of chickpeas)
  • Arils of 1 pomegranate
  • Dried lavender and petals (optional), to scatter
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

Icing

230g vegan cream cheese, softened (available from most supermarkets and specialty grocers)

80g (1/2 cup) icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins.

Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, briefly whisk together the vegetable oil, vanilla bean paste and almond milk then slowly pour into the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Place the aquafaba in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat for 10 minutes or until firm peaks form. Add the batter and whizz ever so briefly (about 3 seconds) to just combine – enough to incorporate the ingredients, but not so much that the aeration of the aquafaba mixture is lost.

Divide the cake batter between the prepared tins and bake for 35 minutes or until the sponges are light-golden and springy to the touch.

For the icing, place the cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Spread 1 cake with half the icing, then gently sandwich with the remaining cake. Spread the remaining icing over the cake. Top with the pomegranate and dried lavender and petals and drizzle over the maple syrup to serve.

Recipe extracted from Good Food New Classics, edited by Ardyn Bernoth, published by Simon & Schuster Australia, RRP $39.99. Photography and food styling: Katrina Meynink.


Jaffle apple pies with salted caramel sauce

Jaffle apple pies

Serves 4

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • Butter, for spreading
  • 385g can pie fruit apples
  • Raspberry jam, for spreading
  • Ground cinnamon, for dusting
  • Ice cream, to serve
  • Icing sugar, to serve

Salted caramel sauce

  • 220g (1 cup) sugar
  • 70g butter
  • 185ml (3/4 cup) pouring cream
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

To make the salted caramel sauce, melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. If you haven’t done this before, simply stir with a wooden spoon and don’t panic if the sugar gets a little clumpy. Just keep going until the sugar melts and turns a dark amber. The colour is super important when you’re first starting out, as sugar can burn pretty easily, so keep an eye on it and watch for that gorgeous amber colour.

As soon as it gets to that point, add the butter and stir for 2–3 minutes or until melted. You can use a whisk if you find the butter is separating from the sugar.

While continuing to stir, add the cream in a thin, steady stream. Cook for a further minute and watch the mixture bubble up in the pan. Remove from the heat and stir through the salt and cinnamon. Don’t skip this step – the salt is what makes it so amazing! Allow the sauce to cool while you make the pies.

Preheat your jaffle maker.

Get the puff pastry out of the freezer when you’re ready to use it (you don’t want it to go all floppy as it just doesn’t cook as well). Cut each pastry sheet into four squares about the same size as a slice of bread.

Butter one side of each pastry square and place four of them, butterside down, in the jaffle maker (if your jaffle maker only cooks two at once you’ll need to do this in batches). Spread a couple of spoonfuls of apple over the pastry and add some jam if you want extra sweetness or even just a sprinkle of cinnamon. Place the remaining pastry squares on top, butter-side up. Close your Jaffle maker and give it a good 10 minutes or so, until the pastry is golden. That’s it!

Serve the pies with your favourite ice cream and a dusting of icing sugar. Pour over the caramel sauce and get back to the couch!

Recipe extracted from Confidence in the Kitchen by Emmylou MacCarthy, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Mark Roper.

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