Everyone loves cheese cake and brownie. Its not that difficult to make, but there are some tricks, which takes these two easy desserts to a whole new level. I always apply my own twists to everything I make. The crumb base of this cheese cake is very different. My brownie recipe itself is very indulging, but I added an extra crumb element and a decadent salted caramel sauce to give this brownie the look and taste of a restaurant quality dessert. You can try these as your Eid special desserts.
New York cheese cake with almond crumb
This amount makes a 6 inch cheesecake
For the crumb base:
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp cold butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp water
For the cake mix:
1 packet Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup sour cream or thick yoghurt
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanila extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
To make the crust, mix the flour, almond meal, salt and brown sugar together and rub in the cold butter with your finger tips. It should resemble wet sand. Sprinkle two teaspoons of cold water and mix it roughly.
In a six inch springform cake tin, pour the mixture and press it tightly to achieve an even surface. Once done let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is light brown. Once its brown, take it out of the oven and let it cool down.
Lower the temperature of your oven to 350°F/175°C.
To make the cake batter, make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. First, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat it again for two minutes. Add one egg at a time and mix well. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the sour cream, lemon juice, flour, vanilla and beat well. Make sure there are no lumps left.
Wrap the cake tin in two layers of aluminium foil. Pour the batter in the cake tin. Put the tin in a deep tray and pour hot water in the tray about 2cm deep.
Bake it for 50 to 60 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the temperature of the oven. After 50 minutes, check the cake by shaking the tray slightly. The cake should have a slight wobble but should not appear runny in the middle. If it seems too runny, bake it for a further 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the cake is set, turn off the oven and let the cake cool inside, keeping the door slightly open. Allow it to stay this way for about an hour. Once its cooled, keep it in the fridge for at least 5 to 6 hours to set.
Once set, slide a knife around the edges of the cake and slide it off the tin. Decorate with your favourite berries and fruit toppings.
*If you don't have sour cream, hang plain yoghurt in a piece of cheese cloth for about an hour to get rid of extra water and use this as a substitute. For the topping, you can use blueberry or strawberry pie fillings. It is available in the superstores.
*If you want to make a biscuit layer, then smash some graham cracker or digestive biscuits. Take about 2 cups of crumb and mix 4 tablespoons of melted butter with the crumb. Press it on the bottom of the tin and bake for 5 to 10 minutes.
Brownie with almond crumb and caramel sauce
This makes a 6 inch brownie
For the brownie:
1/2 cup chocolate (60% dark chocolate)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond meal
1 tbsp coco powder
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped pecan or walnuts
For the almond crumb:
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cold butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup walnut or pecan finely chopped
Salted caramel sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cream (Heavy cream or any cream that you have)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Preheat your oven to 320°F/160°C. Line a six inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a small bowl combine the flour, coco powder, almond meal and baking powder. In another bowl melt the butter, sugar and chocolate over simmering water. Stir until everything is well incorporated. Set it aside and let it cool down for five minutes.
Once cooled, add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix it well and then add the dry ingredients. Make sure everything is fully combined. Pour the batter in the cake tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the brownie is just firm. Don't over bake it. Let it cool down.
For the crumb, preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix all the dry ingredients and then rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles wet sand.
Spread out and press the mixture thinly on the parchment paper and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until it is light brown. Once brown, let it cool down completely and then crumble. Set it aside.
To make the sauce, melt the sugar and butter in a small pan. Let it come to a boil and caramelize slightly. Add the cream and mix it well. Simmer for two to three minutes. Before taking it off add the salt.
Keep the sauce warm until you serve.
To serve, sprinkle the crumb on a plate. Place a piece of the brownie and drizzle it with the warm caramel sauce. Add some fruit to balance the dish with some acidity. Vanilla ice-cream goes great with this too.