December saw my brain shift into overdrive. Yep, I'm very talented.
I had recipes, measurements, cookies and butter coming out of every pore in my body. I had blisters on my hands from chopping like a mad woman. Dreams (nightmares) of forgotten ingredients and missed commitments. And there was pumpkin found in places pumpkin should not be found.
Through all this annual self-imposed mayhem, there was my sister's birthday feast. Catered by moi.
There was sweet coral prawn and coconut cocktails with vibrant pink borscht soup shots that put a smile on your face. There was whole baked trout and baguettes with lashings of French butter, and there were tiny pots of Eaton Mess filled with tangy rhubarb and oh so sweet meringue sitting beside French cheese and big fat cherries.
And then there was cake......
Berry Ice-Cream Cheesecake
(recipe adapted from Donna Hay)
160g mixed nuts | 2 tbsp almond meal | 65g unsalted butter, melted | 1 litre good quality vanilla ice-cream | 250g cream cheese, room temperature | 125g fresh or frozen mixed berries | 2 tbsp caster sugar | fresh berries, to serve
- Line a 20cm springform cake tin with glad wrap with enough overhang to cover the top of the cake completely.
- Place the nuts and almond meal into a food processor and process until coarsley chopped. Add the butter and process until just combined. Place the mixture into the bottom of the prepared tin and press down firmly. Freeze for 15 minutes or until firm.
- Meanwhile, to make the filling, place the mixed berries and sugar into a medium pot of high heat and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes or until the berries have softened. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cold.
- Place the cream cheese and cold raspberry mixture into a food processor and process until smooth. Add the ice-cream and again, process until smooth.
- Working quickly, remove the base from the freezer, spoon cheesecake filling into the prepared tin, cover with the edges of the glad wrap (ensuring the cake is completely covered) and smooth the top, returning to the freezer for 1-2 hours or until firm. To serve, remove the tin and top with the mixed fresh berries.
NOTE: This recipe does contain refined sugars, so to eliminate, swap the caster sugar for either rice malt syrup, pure maple syrup or raw honey and use a refined sugar free (perhaps home-made) vanilla ice-cream.