Melopita AKA Greek honey pie

Melopita Greek honey pie
I’ve never had much luck with cheesecake. In fact, the last time I made it was such a disaster that I decided I wasn’t going to attempt it again for a long time. Well, I think I finally struck it lucky with this honey pie AKA melopita AKA Greek cheesecake.

I spotted the recipe on Pinterest a while ago and was struck by how simple yet delicious it looked. There’s no (buttery) biscuit base here; it’s all about the honey and cheese, which in this case is a hell of a lot of ricotta (as I had no idea where to find myzithra in Manchester).

Melopita Greek honey pie
I can’t stress how easy this is to make. All you do is mix the ingredients together, transfer the mix to a tin and bake. Even I couldn’t get that wrong with my cheesecake-destroying ways!

Melopita Greek honey pie
I left the pie in the oven for longer than the recipe said, as it looked very wobbly and pale at the end of 40 minutes. I took it out when the top looked more set and golden. For reference, I didn’t make the whole recipe; I used 500g of ricotta instead of 600g and reduced the weight of the other ingredients accordingly. As you can see, the top cracked as the pie cooled!

Melopita Greek honey pie
We had the pie as a dessert after a Greek-themed meal and served it as suggested, with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. It was absolutely delicious – rich, fragrant and just the right sort of sweet.

Unlike the last time I made cheesecake, I will definitely make melopita again – and soon!

The recipe

Can be found on the Cook Me Greek blog here.

Cherry cheesecake muffins

Cherry cheesecake muffins

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the trend for combining two baked goods to make something new, like the cronut and so on – isn’t it all really just a fad? However, when I discovered a recipe for strawberry cheesecake muffins in my trusty BBC Good Food book a while ago, I knew I was very much onboard with that particular combination! I decided to make them with a few tweaks of my own to accommodate the ingredients I actually had in, resulting in these cherry cheesecake muffins.

Cherry cheesecake muffins

They look pretty innocent on the outside, but bite into one of these beauties and you’ll come across a lovely filling of sweet cream cheese and a fresh cherry. Yum!

Cherry cheesecake muffins 7

They’re really not as hard to make as you might think. Creating a filled muffin simply involves half-filling the muffin cases with the cake mix, dropping the filling on top and then covering it up with the rest of the cake mix.

Cherry cheesecake muffins - mid-preparation

The cherry on top! Or in the middle, technically.

So, for these muffins, I half-filled the cases, placed a destoned cherry in the middle of each one and then covered each cherry with a teaspoon of the cheesecake mix. Then I covered it up with a dollop of muffin mix.

Cherry cheesecake muffins - pre-baking

Ready for the oven…

I did find that the muffins rose so splendidly in the oven that they came out over the edges of the cases. There was no harm done to the oven, but a couple of the muffins did look decidedly toadstool-like!

Cherry cheesecake muffins

Despite this, I was pleased to see that there was no leakage of the cherry cheesecake filling, which is always a bit of a worry. I had one of the muffins the next day with a big cup of tea (the rest were for my boyfriend, as it was his birthday), and thoroughly enjoyed it – the cheese is lovely with the fresh cherry and cakey muffin, and makes a nice change from a traditional cheesecake (which I always struggle to make anyway!) or a standard muffin. If you want to make them look a bit nicer you could always ice them, but I thought they were great just as they were.

Cherry cheesecake muffins

The recipe

Adapted from BBC Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes

Makes 12

For the muffin mix:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 180g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 85g butter, melted

 

For the filling:

  • 175g soft cheese
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 12 cherries, halved and destoned

 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas 6/180C fan. Place 12 paper cases in a muffin tin.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar, lemon zest and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together and stir in the butter.
  4. Gently stir the wet mix into the dry ingredients, taking care not to over-mix. It should still be a bit lumpy with visible bits of flour.
  5. In another bowl, beat together the cheese and sugar for the filling.
  6. Place a heaped tablespoonful of the muffin mix into each paper case, then press two cherry halves into the middle of each one and top with a teaspoonful of the cheese mix.
  7. Spoon the remaining muffin mix over the top, making sure that the mix completely covers the cheese and cherries.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove them and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from BBC Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes.
Adapted from BBC Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes.

Recipes from around the web

Lots more baking recipes I want to try have recently come to my attention. I’ve only made the coconut and raspberry cheesecake from the last wishlist I posted, but I can’t resist adding even more recipes to my binder!

1) Spiced mango naan bread (Great British Bake Off)

I’m a huge fan of GBBO and, while I generally want to bake pretty much everything I see on this show, this particular recipe from the second episode of the current series is top of my list. Mangoes! Spices! Naan! What a great combination.

2) Almond spice cake (The Caked Crusader)

This blog never fails to please with its wonderful recipes. The Caked Crusader blogged about this particular cake in the same week I made my spiced honey cake – a sure sign we’re kindred baking spirits! Almonds are possibly my favourite nut to bake with, so this cake definitely has to be made.

3) Volcano cake (BBC Good Food)

What a wonderful idea for a celebratory cake! I love the lava spouting out of the top and the dinosaurs rambling around the volcano. I’m not sure when I’ll actually get a chance to make this, though – is there a National Volcano Day or something?!

4) Pistachio and pecan cheesecake with hot chocolate sauce (Come Dine With Me)

This is another food show I’m a massive fan of! This recipe is actually pretty old, but it’s been in my bookmarks for ages and I haven’t yet got round to making it – hopefully I will do soon. The sauce has to be a winner – melted Mars bars and amaretto? Genius!

5) Grasmere gingerbread (BBC Food)

I originally came across a recipe for Grasmere gingerbread in this month’s Asda magazine, and was immediately intrigued, as I love the Lake District and any recipe from somewhere that scenic – and that’s stood the test of time since the 19th century – has to be brilliant! I can’t find Asda’s recipe online, but this BBC Food version should give you some idea of the flavours.

First bake: coconut and raspberry cheesecake

Coconut and raspberry cheesecake

I’ve been meaning to try this recipe ever since I saw it on the excellent Caked Crusader blog a few weeks ago; you’re probably familiar with my love of coconut by now, and I can’t resist a cheesecake! It’s a good recipe to do if you’re oven-phobic, as it simply has to set in the fridge. Well, it’s simple for some, I think – but it wasn’t for me!

Things started off fairly well. The base (I used digestives) was fine and I rather messily mixed all the extremely healthy ingredients for the rest. I used 300g of raspberries rather than 400g, simply because Aldi sold them in 150g packs. I also coated the raspberries in flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom like it did for the Caked Crusader, which seemed to work. The main difference for me, though, was having to use vegetarian gelatine instead of the pork-derived stuff. I couldn’t find it in leaf form, so settled for a powder product called Vege-Gel, by Dr Oetker.

Unfortunately, something went a bit wrong. I’m not sure if I mixed in the gelatine wrongly, or if the powder itself wasn’t very good, but the cheesecake didn’t entirely set. I left it in the fridge for nearly 24 hours, and when I took it out I gave it a shake to make sure it had set. It didn’t wobble at all, so I confidently took the cake tin ring off it to take a photo – and quickly had to put it back on again! It seemed to have set on the outside, but not in the middle, causing it to collapse (you can see the beginnings of this in the pic above).

I ended up having to scrape the whole lot into a big tupperware box, because the plate wasn’t big or deep enough to cope with a wholesale collapse. We’ve been eating it in bowlfuls, and it does taste extremely lovely (fairly rich, with a hint of coconut and the welcome tartness of the raspberries), but it did end up being cheesecake slop, which was slightly disappointing!

I don’t think I’ll be able to try this again until I find a decent vegetarian substitute for pork gelatine, but I’m glad I gave it a go despite the disastrous results!

The recipe

From the Caked Crusader blog here: http://thecakedcrusader.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/coconut-and-raspberry-set-cheesecake.html

Recipes from around the web

Flour

Credit: WordRidden (Flickr)

I follow quite a few baking blogs/websites now, so I thought it would be nice to share the recipes I’ve recently stumbled across that I’ve added to my ‘to bake’ list. Hopefully I’ll make this a fairly regular feature on the blog!

1) Coconut and raspberry set cheesecake (The Caked Crusader)

Considering how much I love coconut, it’s crazy that I’ve never even thought of using it in a cheesecake before. This looks absolutely divine!

2) Coconut mascarpone cake with mascarpone cream (Dan Lepard for the Guardian)

Yes, it’s coconut again. Dan Lepard made this cake for his recent civil partnership ceremony. It’s properly spectacular and a cake I would love to be surprised with on a special occasion. (Hint hint. Anyone? Oh, never mind).

3) Tres leches cake (Something for the Weekend)

Okay, I came across this on TV a fair while ago (when Something for the Weekend (RIP) still existed, obviously) but it’s never far from my mind. Just look at all that creamy dairy goodness…

4) Chocolate chunk peanut butter cake (Cake, Crumbs and Cooking)

So good it’s all gone before anyone can take a photo of it, apparently. As I’ve blogged before, chocolate and peanut butter is a most excellent combination, and one I definitely want to indulge in again soon.

5) Black Forest gâteau (BBC Good Food)

My version of this would never look as neat as it does in the picture, but I would certainly have fun eating cleaning up the mess.

What recipes have you got your eye on for making in the near future?