Everything stops for tea – Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2016) and taken from
Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent Your Baking by Martha Collison.

To make these cupcakes, use the reverse creaming method, during which the butter is rubbed in to the dry ingredients, followed by milk and eggs.  As well being simpler, this method produces a better-textured, more even sponge.

Lemon cheesecake cupcakesMakes : 12

For the Cupcakes :
175g plain flour
200g caster sugar
75g butter
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
90ml whole milk at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

For the Filling :
12 tsp Lemon Curd

For the Icing :
100g full-fat cream cheese
350g icing sugar
150ml double cream

For the Topping :
50g digestive biscuits
1 tsp butter, melted

Step One : Preheat the oven to 180oC / 160oC fan / Gas Mark 4.  Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with 12 cases.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, butter and baking powder using the paddle attachment.  Mix on a low speed, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs; or; use your fingers to rub the butter in to the flour and sugar.

Step Two : In a small jug, use a fork to blend together the eggs, milk and vanilla bean paste.  Add the lemon zest.  Add the mixture to the bowl, a little at a time, beating until it is all combined.  Keep beating until the mixture is uniform and smooth with no lumps.

Step Three : Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, filling each one no more than two-thirds of the way.  Bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the cakes are a pale golden brown.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove and leave to cool completely on a rack.

Step Four : To make the icing, put the cream cheese into a large bowl, and use an electric, hand-help whisk to beat it until smooth.  Add the icing sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until it is all incorporated. Mix in the double cream and whisk until the mixture thickens.  You can whisk it by hand but it will take a few more minutes to thicken.  It won’t hold it’s shape yet, so it is important to chill it in the fridge for at least an hour so that it firms up.  Put the biscuits for the topping in a sealable plastic bag, seal it and then, using a rolling pin, lightly bash the bag to crush the biscuits into small pieces.  Add the biscuit crumbs to the melted butter and stir until the mixture starts to clump together.

Step Five : To assemble, use a knife or special cupcake corer to make a circular incision in the centre of each cupcake.  Take out the middle and fill each cavity with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon curd.

Step Six : When the icing has set, put it into a disposable piping bag.  Cut the end of the bag, making a medium-sized, circular hole, then pipe a double ring around the edge of the lemon curd, and fill the gap with the remaining lemon curd.

Step Seven : Sprinkle the topping around the icing ring, avoiding the lemon curd centre.  These cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.

Flavour Sensations – Basil, honey and lemon panna cotta with roasted peaches

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (June 2012).

There is an element of drama to turning out a whole panna cotta but, if you prefer, use individual pudding basins or set the panna cotta in a dish for everyone to dig into.

reparation time : 10 minutes
Total time : 25 minutes, plus setting overnight

Get ahead : Make the panna cotta a day ahead and chill

Panna cottaIngredients :
550ml double cream
3 tblsp whole milk
4 tblsp clear honey, plus extra to drizzle
6 large basil leaves
3 leaves Select fine leaf gelatine
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

For the roasted peaches :
2 peaches
2 tblsp caster sugar
A few basil leaves

Step One : Pour the cream and milk into a medium-sized pan.  Stir in the honey and basil.  Slowly bring to simmering point then take the pan off the heat, scoop out the basil leaves and discard.  Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.

Step Two : Lift the gelatine out of the water, squeeze out the excess water and add to the hot cream with the lemon zest.  Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.  Pour into a 700ml mould and, when cool, put in the fridge to set overnight.

Step Three : Preheat the oven to 200oC / Fan 180oC / Gas 6.  Halve, de-stone and thickly slice the peaches.  Transfer the slices to a baking tray in a single layer and scatter with the caster sugar.  Roast for 8-10 minutes or until slightly caramelised; leave to cool.

Step Four : Turn out the panna cotta on to a plate (the lemon zest should have sunk to the bottom and now be on the top); toss the peaches with the small basil leaves to serve alongside.  Drizzle the top of the panna cotta with a little extra honey.

Lemon Verbena Possets

Recipe taken from Clodagh’s Suppers: Suppers to celebrate the seasons by Clodagh McKenna published in Psychologies Magazine (February 2019).

lemon verbena possets

Serves : 4

Ingredients :
2 lemons
125g caster sugar
6 lemon verbena leaves
425ml double cream

Step One : Grate the zest of the lemons into a saucepan, then squeeze out and add the juice, followed by the sugar and lemon verbena leaves. Place the pan over a low heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the cream and cook for three minutes.

Step Two : Divide the mixture between four small glasses or ramekins. Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge for two hours until set. Remove the possets from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.