The in-laws recently returned from the States laden with ‘candy’. I had to resist the urge to cram it all down my throat in one go, and decided to turn some of it into a cheesecake.
There was all sorts in there. Pop Tarts (are they still around over here? The most absurd excuse for breakfast ever), Baby Ruths, random chocolates and quirky flavour M&Ms: peanut butter; and pretzel. Both were interesting and the peanut butter ones have that moreish salt/sweet character.
I thought I’d whack some of the Cookies ‘n’ Cream Pop Tarts *COUGHoreoCOUGH* in the base and was surprised how well they worked. With the aforementioned peanut butter M&Ms providing a little burst every so often, the peaches were helping offset some of the guilt and help cleanse the mouth.
Not an everyday treat, but very enjoyable.
M&M cheesecake (serves 6 – 8):
For the base:
2 Cookies & Cream Pop Tarts
50g Bourbon biscuits
15g butter, melted
For the filling:
150ml double cream
150g cream cheese
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 bags Peanut Butter M&M’s
1 tin of peaches, drained
- Whizz the Pop Tarts and biscuits together to dust and stir in the butter. Pack into an 18cm springform tin and place in the freezer.
- Whisk the cream, cream cheese and sugar together until completely smooth, then stir in the M&M’s. Pour this on top of the biscuit base, cover and leave in the fridge for at least two hours.
- Before serving, arrange the peaches on top.
I love the Great British Menu. There’s plenty wrong with it – enforced friction between the chefs, pointless “out and about” sections, and we all know it should be 1 x 1 hour show a week but the chance to see the top tier of British chefs cooking their guts out is always fascinating. This year’s show has a Comic Relief theme.
One chef was new to my radar this year, Mary-Ellen McTague. A Fat Duck graduate, her influences were clear to see. I found her bath of beans particularly amusing, and am sad to see it won’t feature at the final banquet.
When Sainsbury’s asked me to come up with a Red Nose Day cookie, this playful starter was at the forefront of my mind. Picking up a recipe for “bacon and banana cookies” from her mentor’s book Heston Blumenthal at Home the idea of a play on a Full English was there.
Topped with sweets this is a silly biscuit – that’s the point – but the bacon element is genuinely interesting. Go for a sweet cure bacon and it’s not so jarring, but it’s really worth a go.
Full English breakfast cookies (makes about 20):
5 rashers smoked bacon
120g butter, diced
260g caster sugar
220g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs
Fried egg sweets and orange jelly beans, for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and lay the bacon on top. Bake for 10 minutes, then pat dry with kitchen paper. When cool cut into tiny pieces.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour, baking powder and soda with a pinch of salt until mix until a smooth dough is formed. Mix in 1 egg at a time, then stir in the bacon pieces.
- On a greased tray spoon out small blobs 10cm apart and bake for 8 – 10mins or until the the cookies are browned. As soon as they are out of the oven press a fried egg and a few jelly beans into the surface to melt in. Leave to firm up on the tray for a couple of minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.