Nadiya bakes an Eton mess cheesecake and gives some tips on creating those finishing touches to her delicious dessert.
Nadiya's food tour of Britain begins in the home counties. The film's opening recipe is one of the first things she learnt to make as a child living at home - cheese scones. Here she serves it with chive butter. Stop one on her tour of the home counties is a visit to an asparagus farm on the outskirts of Oxford, where she helps with the harvest. Joining young farmer Imogen Stanley, Nadiya learns about how the sandy soil here is perfect for asparagus farming and also gets a crash course in harvesting, using specially designed asparagus buggies. Nadiya can't resist a challenge and, in the end, even offers Imogen a buggy race. Nadiya uses the asparagus in a super fresh Indian five-spice stir fry, a very different take on the traditional Chinese one, and a welcome thank you meal for Imogen, her parents and the professional asparagus pickers. Nadiya's final stop on her tour of the country is Milton Keynes, where she meets Turan T Turan, a former fireman who now runs a cooking school dedicated to teaching people how to smoke their own food. Working with Turan, Nadiya builds her own cold smoker and smokes some haddock. Nadiya then uses the smoked haddock to cook her delicious smoked haddock welsh rarebit, served with a chicory and radish salad. The final recipe of the episode takes its inspiration from Eton College, as it is an Eton mess cheesecake that marries the famous dessert created at Eton School with a cheesecake base. Nadiya shows off all her creative skills making a dessert that looks as stunning as it tastes, with candy striped mini meringues and chocolate swirled strawberries.
Eton mess cheesecake
While I love a baked cheesecake, I also love the ease of making a cheesecake that sets in the fridge – like this one, which I jazz up with beautiful mini meringues and dehydrated strawberries. It’s the kind of dessert recipe I enjoy most, where the cake itself is easy to make, so I can spend lots of time creating the decorations.
For the cheesecake
- 250g/9oz digestive biscuits, crushed
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
- 300ml/10fl oz double cream
- 100g/3½oz icing sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 600g/1lb 5oz full-fat cream cheese
- 18g/¾oz freeze-dried strawberry pieces
For the sauce
For the mini meringues
Grease a loose-bottomed 23cm/9in round cake tin and line with baking paper.
For the base, put the crushed biscuits into a bowl with the melted butter and mix together. The mixture should resemble wet sand. Pour into the cake tin and pack tightly using the back of a spoon, then cover and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Pour the cream into a large bowl, add the icing sugar and vanilla and whisk into soft peaks. Put the cream cheese into another bowl and stir to slacken.
Add the cream mixture and the freeze-dried strawberry pieces to the cream cheese and fold together gently. Spoon on to the chilled base and level off. Put the cheesecake back into the fridge.
For the strawberry sauce, put the strawberries, icing sugar and lemon juice into a food processor and pulse to a purée. Transfer to a bowl and put in the fridge.
To make the mini meringues, preheat the oven to 120C/100C Fan/Gas ½. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Fit a piping bag with a 1½cm/½in star-tip nozzle and turn inside out. Stand it in a tall glass or jug until you need it.
Put the egg whites into a large clean, glass bowl and whisk with an electric whisk or stand mixer. After 2 minutes the mixture should be frothy and increased in volume. Start adding the sugar a little at a time. Once all the sugar is added, keep whisking until you have stiff peaks.
Using a brush and red food colouring, paint the inside of the piping bag with red stripes, starting with the tip and painting only as far as you will fill the bag. Fill the bag with the meringue mixture and pipe little kisses on to the tray.
Bake the meringues for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the door open, and leave the meringues in the oven for another hour. Remove them from the oven and take them off the paper.
For the white chocolate-dipped strawberries, gently melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water.) Using the same tray you made the meringues on, flip the paper over. Hold the strawberries by the stalk and dip them into the white chocolate to come three-quarters of the way up. Place on the tray to set – you can put them into the fridge to speed up the setting.
Take the cheesecake out of the fridge, remove from the tin and place on a serving board. Just before serving, pour over enough sauce to just cover the top – you may not need it all. Top with the dipped strawberries, meringues and lustred dehydrated strawberry slices.
If you want to replicate the base I made in the programme you need to press the biscuit and butter mixture up the sides of the tin as well as the bottom before setting. The method used here is easier, though.