Monthly Archives: January 2014

Harvest & Celebration

Quark & Pomegranate Cheesecake :: The Scandinavian Baker

I adore cheesecakes. All varieties are delicious, but my true love lies with a continental cheesecake.

It was my birthday this week and cake was definitely in order. Given it’s still hotter than hades at The Scandinavian Baker HQ, I decided to abandon the oven again and adapt a Finnish favourite, the Rahkapiirakka – a baked cheesecake made from quark cheese – and give a tasty twist to a great summer standard.

Quark is big in Scandinavia – it’s a fresh, soft-set cheese that sits somewhere between ricotta, Turkish yoghurt and fromage frais and well and truly in the realm of delicious. It comes in all variety of flavours and is eaten as a snack as much as it is used in cooking.

The addition of the quark makes this cheesecake wonderfully light and cuts through the richness a little. You should begin the recipe the day or at least morning before you need it to allow enough time for it to set.

Quark & Pomegranate Cheesecake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

375 grams of cream cheese – softened

250 grams of quark

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

200 grams of digestive biscuits

75 grams of unsalted butter

Juice and rind of 1 lemon

1 heaped teaspoon of ground cardamom

1 pomegranate

Home Grown Pomegranate :: The Scandinavian Baker

Combine the roughly broken biscuits, ground cardamom, half of the lemon zest and softened butter in a food processer. Blitz until the mixture resembles damp sand.

Press the biscuit mixture into a lined 23cm spring form cake tin. Place the tin into the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.

Quark & Pomegranate Cheesecake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Filling

This couldn’t be easier. Place the softened cream cheese and quark in to a stand mixer. If you have a beater with a spatula edge, use it to cut down on the times you need to scrape the mixture down from the sides.

Mix on a low speed until well combined. Add the lemon zest and condensed milk. Pour in the lemon juice and beat until creamy and smooth.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, cover with cling film and return to the fridge overnight for at least 6 hours to set.

Digestive Biscuit :: The Scandinavian Baker

Prior to serving cut the pomegranate in half and over a bowl using the end of a wooden spoon beat the skin to remove the seeds. With any luck the ruby jewels will fall into the bowl and not all over the floor.

Sprinkle the seeds on top of the cake and present to your wide-eyed guests, basking in the accolades you’re sure to receive! Enjoy

(If worst come to worst and it’s too hot even for cheesecake this recipe would also make a great base for ice cream with the biscuit base crumbled though – tasty!)

Quark & Pomegranate Cheesecake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Ice Ice Baby

Sencha Iced Tea :: The Scandinavian Baker

It’s no surprise to anyone this side of the equator that Australia is having its hottest summer on record. The high temperatures have been sky-rocketing as we head out of the hottest year on record and into another. Yikes!

The Scandinavian Baker headquarters tipped +43.5c last week so there was nothing on this green (read: brown and crispy) earth that was going to convince me to turn on the oven.

The only thing left to do was to escape the heat any way possible, be it by pool, beach or… sigh… mega shopping centre.

The Finn and I escaped beachside with as much new summer fiction as we could carry and quenched our thirst with tasty tasty iced tea.

Sencha Green Tea :: The Scandinavian Baker

I’m a recent convert to homemade iced tea. Give me rich malty Assam by the steaming pot full any day – but make it green and chilled and I’d often opt for water.

One scorching afternoon, lounging by the Maker & Merchant HQ pool I was reborn. Green iced tea was my drink and so became my passion (this may have been a touch of sunstroke talking).

I’m sure you all know how to make tea, but a boy’s got to blog and as previously mentioned – too hot to bake.

Sencha Iced Tea :: The Scandinavian Baker

Iced Sencha – Scandinavian style

The Pantry

1 tablespoon green sencha.  Any will do, I used one with blue cornflower petals and dried quince – delightful!

2 or 3 bruised cardamom pods (or a sprinkling of lightly dinted seeds – crush them gently with a pestle)

1 lemon, sliced

1 jug of boiling water

750ml of sparkling water

A few fresh mint leaves

Fresh Mint :: The Scandinavian Baker

Boil the jug and let sit for a minute or two after boiling. Green tea is best brewed slightly off the boil between 80-90 degrees. Add your chosen leaves and cardamom pods to a medium sized pot and fill with the hot water. Allow to sit for up to an hour to brew and cool.

Slice the lemon and add a few slices to a large jug or bottle. Add the mint leaves – scrunched a bit.

Pour in the tea to fill about a quarter of the container. Top with cold-as-you-can-get-it sparkling water and give a quick stir.

Serve immediately in chilled glasses with a little extra mint and a wedge of lemon to parched over-heated friends, preferably pool-side. Enjoy.

Fresh Sencha Iced Tea :: The Scandinavian Baker

A Christmas Years in the Making Part 2: Flame On!

Christmas Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

The time eventually came for pudding – and it didn’t disappoint.

We saved our pudding for New Year’s Day which might become its own tradition at The Scandinavian Baker HQ. As indicated I opted for showy and awe-inspiring  when it came to the brandy.

The Method
See: A Christmas Years in the Making Part 1 to prepare.

Pour half the warmed brandy over the pudding. Take a match and light the remaining brandy in the saucepan. Take control of the elements and pour bright living flame onto the pudding and make it the best New Year ever!

Christmas Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

Even my self-proclaimed pudding hater friend devoured her slice – perhaps I have a convert?

Behold…

Christmas Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker