Review: Lesley Byram
There are few things more exciting to me than a visually stimulating recipe book. Don’t even bother showing me one if there aren’t photographs accompanying the recipes. First, I need to see if it’s tempting enough to try and second, what it’s supposed to look like when I’m finished.
Which is why I love Tina Bester’s cookbooks. Not only are her recipes simple and delicious, they are always incredibly well-illustrated – thank you Quivertree Publications. Of course it helps that she’s known as the Queen of Tarts and many of her dishes lean towards the sweet side of the scale.
This book, her sixth, is about making the most of seasonal produce for both sweet and savoury tarts and it’s organised by season for easy reference.
Tina’s books are very user-friendly and, apart from the basic conversion tables, she’s also included a variety of crusts and pastries for you to choose from:sweet shortcrust, savoury shortcrust, chocolate, rough puff, well-behaved (good for just about anything), sour cream, cheddar-cheese, almond and cream-cheese.
When I mentioned her in my previous blog this recipe immediately sprang to mind. It’s one which took my breath away when I first flipped through the book and whenever I pick it up it’s where I get stuck. I have made this several times, only once with the chocolate pastry and as one large cake. The rest of the time, I’ve made it as cupcakes.
It’s surprisingly quick and easy and looks far more impressive than the minimal effort required.
One could ice the cake or cupcakes with cream cheese icing but it’s not necessary and, apart from covering up the lovely marbled effect, would possibly make it too rich.
If you’re making cupcakes you can be quite generous with the cheesecake. The first time I made them I used the cheesecake sparingly and ended up having to make a second chocolate mixture to use it up.
They will keep for a couple of days but are absolutely amazing when they’re very fresh and, unless you are baking for two, there are unlikely to be any leftovers anyway.
Bonus: There are two bowls to lick!
A gorgeous-looking tart that will make any special occasion
that much more memorable.
1 quantity chocolate pastry (see recipe below this one)
350g castor sugar • 150g butter, melted • 4 large eggs • 100g flour • 70g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt • teaspoon baking powder • teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
90g castor sugar • 450g cream cheese • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Press the chocolate pastry into a heart-shaped tin
and bake it blind for 10 minutes. No need for baking paper and beans with this pastry.
To make the brownie mixture, combine the sugar and the melted butter in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Add the eggs and mix well. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix to a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tart shell, reserving half a cup for marbling the top.
To make the cheesecake mixture, beat together the castor sugar and cream cheese with electric beaters until very smooth and light. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix until smooth. Pour this batter into the centre of the brownie batter, keeping it away from the sides of the tart. With a teaspoon, carefully spoon the rest of the brownie batter around the top of the tart. Run a butter knife through the pools of brownie batter for a marbled effect. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack and then remove the tart
from the tin.
110g butter • 100g sugar • 1 large egg • 1 large egg yolk
225g flour • 25g cocoa
Process the butter and sugar together in the bowl of
a food processor and while the motor is still running,
add the whole egg and the yolk. Add the flour and cocoa
and blend into a dough. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm
and refrigerate until needed.