I was flattered when Mardi of Eat. Live. Travel. Write. invited me to participate in the newly-revived (by Denise of Chez Us) “Hay Hay It’s Donna Day” monthly cooking event, dedicated to Australian star cookbook writer and home economist, Donna Hay. I’m always flattered when one of my food blogger friends invites me to participate in one of these challenges. I’m a little intimidated by some of the company I keep, these days. By the way, I’m not “in it to win it.” I just think it’s a lot of fun to see what different people in different parts of the world do with the same basic recipe to make it their own. Anyway, I’d never heard of Donna Hay before now, but she is quite famous on the other side of the pond for her super-simple, yet elegant, dishes.
The object of the game is to take one of Donna Hay’s recipes, prepare it – giving it your own personal twist, photograph it, and post it. Mardi, our hostess this month, chose a light summer dessert: Blackberry Cheesecake Pots. To see the original recipe, click on that link.
MJ’s not fond of blackberries (or raspberries either, for that matter), and in any event, we don’t really see those in any quantity down here. But Florida blueberries are starting to come in, and they’re a perfect substitute! First, the Donna Hay recipe, with my modifications, then my notes.
Blueberry Cheesecake Pots
1 8 oz. package cream cheese (soft, at room temperature)
¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
• 8 biscotti, to serve
Combine the cream cheese, sugar, cream and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer (I used my hand mixer) at high speed, until well-mixed and fluffy. Crush half the blueberries with a fork, and add to the cream cheese mixture. Spoon into 4 6 oz. dishes and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
Serve with the biscotti and the remaining blueberries. Serves 4.
Notes: All the usual adjectives apply here: rich, but light, delicious, quick, easy. You can throw the Cheesecake Pots together in 5 minutes in the morning (leave the cream cheese out to soften overnight – you know, someplace where the cat won’t get at it), and have them for dessert that evening… if you can wait that long.
In Mardi’s post, she says that the texture of hers didn’t firm up as well as it should, and turned out to be more the consistency of yogurt. Mine firmed up perfectly, and I suspect it’s due to a couple of differences in the ingredients. The original recipe specifies 250 grams of cream cheese. Here in the U.S., cream cheese comes in 8 ounce packages – that is, 226 grams – and I didn’t feel the need to make up the difference. Also, Mardi used “single” cream (what I assume to be the equivalent of our “regular” whipping cream), while I used “heavy” whipping cream. I did not whip the cream before adding to the cream cheese.
The original recipe instructs to use a food processor. I did just fine with my hand mixer. You can certainly buy superfine sugar, but I just took my regular granulated sugar and ran it through the mini-chop attachment of my hand blender for about a minute and achieved the same results. Frankly, I’m not sure you really even need to worry about it at all – I use regular granulated sugar for normal cheesecakes, and I’ve never had a problem with it.
I took the recipe literally when it said to serve with biscotti, so I baked up some coordinating Blueberry Biscotti to go with:
This was fun and added a new easy-to-make-but-good-enough-for-company dessert to my repertoire. Try it yourself, and see!