Citrus are typically winter fruit. That's right all you 'Eating with the Seasons' readers - it's winter here! So it may have technically ended a few days ago but it darn well still feels like it! If not for a small handful of cherry blossoms colouring my street, I doubt I would have noticed the change in season. With the end of high quality citrus looming, a tin of coconut milk in the pantry and a cake recipe I jotted down on a scrap piece of paper 6 months ago from god only knows where, I thought I'd take the opportunity to be a little crafty.
I thought about coconut cake. My mind began to wander off onto other very much unsavoury things so I did a quick search on cakes - coconut layer cake, traditional coconut cake, coconut cake from the Midwest, coconut cake layered with lemon curd, coconut cake smothered in buttercream and dessicated coconut..
I gave up on my search for inspiration. You know, I've always had a slight fear of making cheesecake, ever since my InterContinental Hotel trainee days where I once found myself up to my armpits in cream cheese, desperately trying to scrape the bottom of a humongous Hobart mixer with a tiny little pastry card that seemed ridiculously minuscule for the task at hand. Admittedly, I don't have the patience to watch anything that takes longer than half an hour in my crappy home oven that tends to burn everything near the fan.
Sitting in the shower, I finally decided on a deconstructed sort of cheesecake. I'd make little muffin-sized coconut cakes with erm.. ahh.. hmmm.. crushed cookie cream cheese and blood orange curd! This mysterious cake recipe includes milk or buttermilk which I planned to substitute with my tin of thick coconut milk.
Well, as my fortune usually goes, when I went shopping at 11:40pm after work, the only citrus I was presented with were 'Murcott' mandarins (the giant sort) but no matter. Ginger Snap cookies were on sale so I grabbed a box (ginger and citrus seem to go together well so why not?) along with a bagful of fresh ginger roots.
250 g ginger, peeledSlice ginger roots into matchstick-sized pieces.
500 g castor sugar
500 ml water
Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to the boil.
Once it becomes syrupy, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until all ginger pieces are translucent.
Be warned: the whole process may take upwards of an hour.
Murcott Mandarin Curd
600 ml Murcott mandarin juiceBoil mandarin juice in a small pot until reduced by half.
4 egg yolks
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp cornflour
pinch of salt
50 g unsalted butter
Combine yolks, sugar, cornflour and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
Slowly pour hot mandarin juice into the egg mix, whisking continuously.
Pour into the pot and bring to the simmer, stirring continuously with a spatula.
When thickened, remove from heat and add butter.
Whisk until combined and refrigerate until cold.
Crushed Cookie 'Cheesecake'
250 g cream cheese, softCombine all ingredients in a mixer and leave at room temperature until ready to use.
150 g unsalted butter, soft
100 g icing sugar
3 Tbsp ginger snap cookies, crushed
1 tsp butterscotch schnapps
pinch of salt
Mystery Coconut Cake
100 g ginger snap cookies, finely crushedPreheat oven to 170ºC, spray and line a tray with non-stick baking paper.
250 g SR flour
1 tsp salt
300 g castor sugar
120 g unsalted butter, soft + extra
2 Murcott mandarins, zest
4 egg whites
400 ml coconut milk
Brush 8 heatproof aluminium/ stainless steel rings with soft butter and coat with crushed cookies.
Sift flour into a large bowl.
Cream butter, sugar and zest with an electric mixer.
Add egg whites one by one, mixing thoroughly.
Stir in coconut milk then fold in flour.
Pour into rings and bake for 25 mins or until cooked through.