Cheesecake by Hannah Miles
|Cheesecake by Hannah Miles|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A stunning collection of cheesecakes with jargon-free advice and recipes. It's a great value particularly if you're cooking for a larger number of people.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 144||Date: March 2013|
|Publisher: Ryland Peters and Small|
|External links: Author's website|
I have a weakness for cheesecake, the genuine item rather than the over-sweet lookalikes found in some supermarkets. I love that unctuous richness and the slightly tart taste on the tongue. I'm less keen on what they deliver in terms of calories, but that simply means that cheesecake has to be an occasional treat - and the best that there is around. So, Cheesecake by Hannah Miles was going to press all the right buttons. Hannah reached the final of Masterchef in 2007, so she knows a thing or two about food.
Cheesecakes are not something which you can just whip up in a moment or two and for the average home cook they're quite likely to require a technique or two which they might not use on a regular basis. They fall into one of three categories - baked cheesecakes, gelatine cheesecakes and refrigerator cheesecakes which are not as light as the gelatine versions, but are the easiest to make. When my husband looked at the recipes he was somewhat flummoxed by the idea of baking something in a water bath and the word gelatine strikes fear into my heart. Miles has a talent beyond cooking though - she can explain how to do something which leaves you feeling that it's not going to be a problem.
There's the odd anecdote about Masterchef but not to the extent that you feel that the book is being sold on the back of the series. Miles has obviously come into her own since the final - I remember her as lacking in confidence - and what we have here is a book by someone who loves her subject and knows it thoroughly. She presents us with sixty recipes for an excellent range of desserts, gourmet chocolates and comfort-blanket treats. It's heaven just to look at, with stunning photography by Steve Painter.
But - what of the recipes and the taste? The recipes are easy to follow and we opted to make the Simply Vanilla Cheesecake. I would - for preference - have gone for something which fed a smaller number of people than twelve. Four of the recipes in the book produce individual items, but of the remaining fifty four recipes, six serve six people, five serve eight, ten serve ten people, thirty three are for twelve people and two serve fourteen. For the most part they're 'event' items rather than something you could serve at a family meal, unless you have a large family. There is advice on freezing some of the dishes, which I appreciated.
I found the filling for the simply vanilla cake a little overgenerous for the case but the resulting dessert is delicious, almost resembling a custard tart in appearance and eating very easily. It is rich - you don't need a big serving - and I appreciated the advice to serve with berries which offset the richness and were a delightful counterpoint to the taste. (I used white currants, which worked well.) My husband has a few other recipes ready to try out. This was our first attempt at a proper cheesecake - we learned a lot and we'll not readily resort to the shop-bought versions in future.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Gregg Wallace of Masterchef is renowned for his love of a good pudding. For examples of the recipes he loves, have a look at Gregg's Favourite Puddings.
You can read more book reviews or buy Cheesecake by Hannah Miles at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Cheesecake by Hannah Miles at Amazon.com.
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