Monday, 11 April 2011

K is for... Kumquat kasblotz and kulfi




A kasblotz is a baked german cheesecake with a pastry base with a soft cheese filling. I used a mixture of Ricotta and Quark (just to make it extra German). I made a kumquat syrup which I set with a vegetarian gelatine to go on the top. I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of kumquats and this cheesecake did nothing to change my mind. If, on the other hand, you love these strange little citrus fruits, this cheesecake is the pud for you. 

Kumquat kablotz 


for the shortcrust pastry base


5oz/ 125g unsalted butter
4oz/ 100g icing sugar, sifted
9oz/ 225g plain flour, sifted
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp cold milk
The seeds from 1 vanilla pod 
A pinch of salt

I often make shortcrust pastry in the food processor - it really is the work of seconds to make the dough. If you don't have one, don't panic, it will only be the work of minutes nonetheless, but make sure your butter is at room temperature if doing it by hand - it doesn't seem to matter if it's used straight from fridge in a machine.

Blitz together the butter and sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until a dough begins to form. Tip it out on to a large sheet of cling film, pat it down slightly and pop it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour. 

Preheat your oven to 180 C (160C Fan)

I used a deep, loose bottomed 8" cake tin for my kasblotz. Roll out the pastry and lay on top of the loose bottom of your tin. Cut around the edge so you have a fairly neat circle, place a sheet of baking parchment over the top and scatter over some baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and take off the parchment and beans and pop back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the pastry is a pale golden but not quite crisp (it will be cooked again). Trim off any rough edges and place the pastry topped loose bottom on a wire rack to cool.

for the kasblotz filling

1/2 lb/ 225 g Ricotta
1/2 lb/ 225 g Quark
4 fl. oz/ 125 ml double cream
4 large eggs, beaten
The seeds of 1 vanilla pod
The zest of 1 lemon
4 oz/ 100 g caster sugar

Turn the oven down to 160°C (140°C Fan) and pop the kettle on

Beat the cream and cheese together until smooth and then gradually beat in the eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. Place the cold pastry crust back inside the tin and place a sheet of foil underneath the base of the tin, scrunching up the sides so it stays put. Do the same again, so water won't get in. Place the cake tin inside a roasting tin. Pour in the cheese mixture and then pop the roasting tin in the oven and pour boiling water from the kettle halfway up the sides of the cake tin. Bake for about an hour and a half or until the kasblotz is just set in the middle. Remove from the water bath and leave to cool completely.

for the kumquat top

10 oz/ 250 g kumquats, finely sliced
10 oz/ 250 g caster sugar
8.5 fl. oz/ 250 ml water
The seeds of 1 vanilla pod
2.5 grams of agar agar (or 3 leaves of gelatine, soaked in water until soft for non-veggies)

Place the sugar, vanilla and water in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the kumquats and leave to simmer for about half an hour or until the kumquat slices have turned slightly translucent. Remove from the heat and leave the kumquats to cool in their syrup to allow the flavours to infuse.

Once cool, remove the kumquat slices with a slotted spoon. Carefully tuck a sheet of clingfilm around the top of the cooled cheesecake, so that the kumquat jelly won't leak down the sides. Let the clingfilm drop over the edges of the tin and then lightly oil the clingfilm. Prettily place the kumquat slices over the top of the cheesecake.

Stir the agar agar into the kumquat syrup and stir over a medium heat until the liquid comes to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool. Once cool, pour the liquid over the kasblotz and pop in the tin to set.

Once set, place the cake tin on an upturned bowl and use a sharp knife to help release the kasblotz from the tin. Then use a blow torch or hairdryer to warm the sides of the tin to help it slide off more easily. Carefully remove the clingfilm and then push the sides of the tin down to remove it. Use a palate knife to transfer the kasblotz on to a serving plate and then heat your palate knife in boiling water, dry it and trace it round the kasblotz' edges for a neater finish.


Kulfi


Several of K night's guests declared this to have been the nicest kulfi they had ever tasted. Result!

1 tin (410 g) evaporated milk
The same volume again of double cream 
4 cardamom pods, bruised
1 oz/ 25 g caster sugar
8 oz/ 200 g pistachio nuts, chopped  

Place the evaporated milk, cream and cardamom in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce. Stir in the sugar until dissolved, remove from the heat and pick out the cardamom pods. Stir in the nuts and pour into kulfi moulds if you have them (I don't) or a tupperware box. Once cool, pop the lid on and stick in the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving.


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