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September has arrived and we are looking at what ingredients are in season. Most menu planning starts with fruit and vegetables and then the dishes are built around that.
We’re fortunate here that there’s a kitchen garden on site and the majority of the inspiration of our dishes comes from there.
This week we’re focusing on blackberries, there’s a huge amount growing now and it seems a shame to not use them. I was going to utilise them on a warm starter or main course but I really want to do that with game so will wait until the shooting season starts.
So for now we’re using them for a dessert. Blackberries have a lovely acidic edge and I’ve got an amazing cheesecake recipe I’ve wanted to put on at The Kedleston for a while, so this seems the perfect opportunity to combine the two.
Monty and I got to work with the base, quite straight forward really – equal parts of biscuit and butter so it sets nice and firm – and then we got to work on the cheesecake itself.
Now I personally can’t stand baked cheesecakes, far too heavy, and I find they have a tendency to have different textures throughout depending on how they are baked in the oven. So ours is a set cheesecake using gelatine and some glucose to ensure it’s even in texture and taste.
We blend cream cheese, trimoline, cream and sugar and bring it to 40 degrees which is the temperature the gelatine will dissolve at. We then add a touch of vanilla, for a nice background flavour. With that done the mix is passed through a sieve then set into a mould in the fridge to be used later.
Now we get to work with the blackberry jelly for the top. A puree is made and passed through a fine sieve to make it nice and smooth and then mixed with a syrup so it’s not too thick. Once chilled it’s added to the top of the cheesecake and returned to the fridge to set.
Our last task is to poach the blackberries in Créme de Cassis. I don’t add sugar as I feel the Cassis brings enough sweetness to balance against the sharpness of the berries. We do this in a heat sealer so the Cassis is forced into just under ripe blackberries. This method of poaching keeps the the berry whole, firm and juicy.
With all the elements now ready all that’s left to do is plate up. We like clean, elegant presentation here at The Kedleston, to allow the dishes to speak for themselves. The cheesecake is cut and placed on a swirl of blackberry puree, then we add the poached blackberries and some red vein sorrel which has a nice lemon note to finish the dish.
And there we go, now being served on our new September menu. I hope you enjoy it!
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