Saturday, 1 March 2008

A cheesecake for the minority: Licorice!

Although I'm ill as in really ill right now and almost can't taste a thing, here's a treat I made a month ago. So I TOO could remember what good food tastes like:)

, licorice.

There's just too little variety in Estonia. Whenever I go to Finland, I know exactly what I'm going to buy. Always the same licorice candy mix from the ship's Tax Free. Then definitely a package of licorice chewing gum. And if I'm lucky - some licorice ice cream, a tube of licorice sauce to bring home or even a licorice flavoured Tupla chocolate.

Nevertheless I've come upon very few recipes using licorice (candies) as an ingredient. I made a licorice cheesecake with gelatin for a friend mad about the candy two years ago, but at last I made my first baked licorice cheesecake that had been developing itself in my head for too long a time.

I didn't tell my parents of the origin of the cake before they had eaten their first bites. The funny thing...they both liked it. Although neither of them belongs to the licorice-loving minority...very very weird indeed. But positively surprising.

Licorice cheesecake with chocolate and lingonberry jam

180 g chocolate cookies
50 g melted butter
100 g licorice candies (regular)
1 dl heavy cream
500 g cream cheese
3 eggs
1/2 dl sugar
1 1/2 dl lingonberry jam
50 g grated dark chocolate
  1. Crush the cookies into a fine powder and add the butter to make the crust. Grease a springform pan (mine was 27 cm), press the crust onto the bottom and up the sides. Bake at 175C for 10 minutes.
  2. Chop the licorice candies into little pieces and combine with the heavy cream in a saucepan. Boil on low until the cream is quite dark (the candies don't have to be dissolved completely).
  3. Pour the mixture into a food processor and process until quite smooth.
  4. Add cream cheese, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Process until smooth and incorporated well.
  5. Warm up the jam (on the stove/in a microwave) and spread on the pre-cooked crust.
  6. Pour the filling over the jam and sprinkle the grated chocolate on top.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes more.

The overall impression of the cake is quite chocolate-y (I already hear you shouting 'haha chocolate again - and you said you weren't a chocoholic!'). The flavours of chocolate and licorice suit each other very well and a plus side of the melting-in-your-mouth chocolate coating is also that it covers the grey-ish cheesecake (you see? there's a reason for the chocolate!).

The licorice taste isn't overpowering or anything in the final result, but moderatlely present - that explains why my parents didn't spit their mouthfuls out, but rather asked for more.
I hoped the lingonberry jam would be seen more between the layers, but it kind of melted into the crust. Nevertheless it gives it's slightly bitter accent to the cake.

When in search for licorice recipes on the web, I did notice some of them: Licorice pudding from The Well-Seasoned Cook, Licorice ice cream published in the Courier Mail and Martha Stewart's Black Licorice Creme Brulee Tarts.

Maybe you've got your own to share?
Oh, well, I'm off to tea and napkins...