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A buttery, crunchy chocolate biscuit base filled with a creamy banana cheesecake topped with freshly sliced banana and lashings of melted chocolate.

Yesterday I bought some tartlet tins, I was going to wait until summer to make a gluten free cheesecake with them when summer fruits are in season (I am not a banana fan but the family loves them) but I could not resist trying them out now so this serves as a trial run for summer.

As with a lot of my recipe the following is a rough guide, I fully encourage you all to adjust quantities and taste test along the way so you find your own unique perfect balance of flavours.

RECIPE
Makes 4
BASE
1 pack of Oreos, bourbons or other such biscuits
50g butter, melted
CHEESECAKE
200g cream cheese (I use Philadelphia) at room temperature
5-6 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar/powdered sugar/confectioners sugar!
1 banana
TOPPING
1 banana
melted chocolate, whipped cream, ice cream or cinnamon.

STEPS
1. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor then mix with melted butter.
2. Pack the biscuit base into the sides of 4 greased tartlet cases then the base.
3. Bake in the oven at 200oC for ten minutes to set the base and stop it crumbling, leave to cool then refrigerate until cold.
4. Mix the icing sugar with the cream cheese.
5. Mash the banana then mix into the cheesecake mix. Have a little taste then add more icing sugar or banana if required. If you want a firm cheesecake then add gelatine according to packet instructions. Add to the cheesecake base.
6. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours for the base to set before gently removing from tart cases.
7. Just before serving, slice up a banana and add some melted chocolate or whatever you fancy topping your cheesecake with then serve immediately.

TIPS:
:bulletgreen: Best served on day of making due to the banana changing colour, making your cheesecake turn grey and unappealing the next day.
:bulletgreen: If you like your cheesecake bases to be thin (i love a good thick crust and even some of them were hard to remove in one piece) you may want to serve your cheesecakes in their tart cases, the thinner the base the more fragile and likely to break they are.
:bulletgreen: Don't like banana? Try raspberries, strawberries, bluberries etc, etc.
:bulletgreen: Generously grease tins if you set on serving out of the tins.



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A gluten free chocolate sugar cookie tartlet with a rich and smooth chocolate ganache filling, topped with icing sugar and Galaxy Minstrels (Gluten intolerant people out there may want to check to make sure Minstrels are 100% gluten free, I can handle trace amounts so a few Minstrels which I am currently addicted too would not hurt me)

I don't often enjoy rich desserts but this was amazing and my husband moaned there was none left over for seconds!!!! Also being made in individual tartlet cases is just about the right portion and richness per person. I can't eat too much dairy so served mine as it but if you can have dairy or eat alternatives it would be great accompanied with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream too.

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A tasty gluten free chocolate cream cheese marble cake. It might not be the most prettiest cake in the world but what it lacks in looks makes up for in flavour! It's such a yummy chocolate cake with different textures of sponge, cream cheese (I used Philadelphia) and a bite of sugar on top to satisfy the chocoholic part of me and my love of having each bite of a food being a bit different from the last.

When making every day cakes I don't always like to add a topping, instead I like to put all the extra flavours and textures inside the cake, especially if I am busy, it's just easier putting everything in, in one go plus my kids are little monkeys who like to only eat the toppings some days!

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Strawberry jam gluten free tartlets with a sweet crumble topping.

I am a little obsessed with all the foodie pages on facebook but rarely inspired to actually make any of it until now! As soon as I saw the recipe for this on uktv [link] I just had to make it as crumble is one of my favourite desserts and I love jam. Naturally I made some adjustments to suite my needs. I used gluten free flour, took out the coconut and halved the recipe to make 3 individual tartlets instead of 1 big one. I'm not one for making the same flavour of recipe over and over again but this was amazing, I will have to make it again.

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Flaky puff pastry sprinkled with sugar, sweet and juicy strawberries and smooth chocolaty nutella makes for some tasty turnovers.

I don't always have time to spend hours in the kitchen so having some puff pastry sheets in the freezer for when I am in a hurry is always handy. Today I had some local strawberries that needed using up but I didn't fancy making a cake so decided on turnovers, then when I was putting them together spotted a jar of Nutella and it just had to be done! It's just a shame they are not gluten free and I can't try them but the kids and husband had seconds!

There are a few ways to make turnovers, many like to but the strawberries in the pastry before baking but these were lovely fresh strawberries so there was no way I was going to ruin them by cooking them, if they were starting to go a little over however they would be perfect for baking.

RECIPE:
1 puff pastry sheet
1 punnet of strawberries
Nutella
Sugar
Optional
Jam
Honemade Whipped cream (Highly recommended! I was all out of double/heavy cream when I made these)

1. Defrost/prepare/make puff pastry as directed.
2. Preheat oven to 200oC.
3. Cut the pastry into triangles of your choosing (I made both small for the kids and large for adults)
4. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar and bake for around 15 minutes or until light-golden brown.
5. Chop up the strawberries and mix with some jam for extra sweetness if using.
6. Once the puff pastry is cool cut in half but not all the way through, leave the longest side intact, this keeps the turnovers together and makes them look nicer.
7. Heat a little Nutella (as much as you want to use) to make it easier to spread.
8. Fill the turnovers with the nutella, strawberries and homemade whipped cream if using.
9. Best served straight away but can be refrigerated for a couple of days.
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Yesterday i made my first ever upside down cake, that was banana and was so popular i decided to make my family another but today i decided to try another fruit.

So it's a gluten free vanilla sponge with peaches and a wonderful quick and easy caramelized topping

For this one i used tinned peaches. Fresh peaches can be so hit and miss in ripeness and taste from each other and are a lot more expensive to buy and more time consuming to prepare. Being a busy and tired mother of two young kids i prefer being able to get up in the morning and think in the spur of the moment "I want to bake something today" Go into the kitchen (i always have the basics in the house of eggs, gluten free flour, sugar and eggs) Rustle something up with whatever i have laying around the kitchen, blast some music (today's choice being Stone Sour and Metallica) Bake and serve it all within an hour. Plus i love the challenge of turning something that can be rather plain and boring as tinned fruit into something really tasty.

This was served warm with a little warm custard poured over the top because i can not stand ice cream and love warm desserts.

RECIPE


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Gluten free cookie plate, bowl and a chocolate ganache dip for strawberries, banana, apple and raspberries. Basically you dunk your fruit into the dip then you can break parts of the cookie plate into the dip before finally eating the cookie dip bowl.

My fiance and kids had lots of fun eating this, it only took them 5 minutes to destroy it.

I used a basic sugar dough recipe from the BBC [link] i used a silicon cupcake case as a mold for the bowl and i just rolled out a small plate shape for the base.

I know this is not the best photo, i took so many but now that summer is ending so is the lovely natural light. Once Autumn comes i will probably not be baking so much, it will be getting much to dark to photograph.
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Gluten free red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and cake sprinkled on top.

I know red velvet is big thing in America so I thought it about time I give it a go and see what all the fuss is about!

I got a bit rushed when it came to the cream cheese frosting, adding too much cream cheese making it rather wet but still it tasted amazing and actually made a nice change to a usual firm frosting.

RECIPE

CUPCAKES (commonred velvet recipes use buttermilk as a main ingredient, I can't get that around here so just used my basic sponge recipe so if you want a proper, super moist red velvet this recipe may not be for you)
Ingredients
120g self raising gluten free or normal flour (add 1tsp of xantham gum if using gluten free flour)
30g cocoa powder (not hot chocolate powder)
150g butter, softened
150g sugar
3 large eggs
1tsp red colouring paste (I use Sugarflair I buy from ebay)

Method.
1. Pre-heat oven to 180oC and prepare a cupcake tray.
2. Cream together butter, sugar and colouring paste until fluffy.
3. Beat in the eggs thoroughly.
4. Mix in the flour and cocoa powder, if the mix is too stiff add a few tbsp of water to loosen. Add this point add more cocoa powder or food colouring to get the colour you desire if need be.
5. Divide into cupcake cases, about 3/4 full then bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Leave to cool on a rack.

FROSTING (adapted from the Kraft website and will look a lot thicker than mine pictured)
Ingredients
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 cups sifted icing/powdered sugar

Method.
1.Cream together the butter, vanilla and cream cheese.
2. Slowly add sugar, one cup at a time until you get the sweetness you desire, I don't like to use much as I like to still be able to taste the cream cheese.
3. Pipe or spread onto your cupcakes and add any topping or sprinkles you like.

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A sweet chocolate gluten free sugar cookie tart with a rich and smooth chocolate ganache filling.

A bitesize slice of the cookie tart I made, I just had to show you the inside. The slice is presented on a saucer from an espresso cup to give you another idea on the size.


Please note for the following recipe, I often do not take note of quantities whilst baking as I am constantly adding more or less as I go so don't be surprised if the quantities are a little off. You will almost certainly have some leftover cookie dough. For left over cookie dough, place in a zip lock bag and freeze for up to one month to use for other things or in the fridge for 24 hours before it must be baked. Leftover ganache can be used as little chocolate pots.

RECIPE
Make 4 tartlets or one big tart
INGREDIENTS

Cookie Dough
200g unsalted butter, room temperature
150g sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
275g plain/all purpose flour or gluten free flour
25g cocoa powder (not hot chocolate powder!)

Ganache Filling
150g Dark/Plain chocolate
150g Double/Heavy cream
25g butter
Extra flavour ideas for filling
Orange zest
peppermint
nuts
fruit
white instead of plain chocolate.

METHOD
1. Make your cookie dough by creaming together the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla and egg before mixing in the flour and cocoa.
2. Using your hands make the dough into a ball, the heat of your hands will help bring the dough together which may still feel crumbly and hard to manage at this point. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 10-15minutes as the dough can get a little sticky.
3. Preheat your oven to 180/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease your tartlet or tart cases before rolling out your cookie dough on a floured surface to around 4mm thick.
4. Cover your tarlet/tart cases with the dough, filling in any tears or holes with excess dough. Use a knife or your fingers to remove any excess dough from the tops of your cases.
5. Prick your cookie dough bases several times, cover with greaseproof/wax paper and fill with baking beans/marbles or dried rice, pasta etc.
6. Blind bake for about 10 minutes for small cases, longer for a large tart before removing the paper and beans and placing back in the oven for a further 5 minutes or so to cook the base through thoroughly. It can be hard to tell with a chocolate dough sometimes when it may be ready so keep an eye on it, you don't want the base to look wet and once touched is a little firm but still springy. Leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.
7. To make the ganache filling, firstly heat the cream in a pan until it starts to boil slightly. Turn off the heat, add the butter and chocolate broken into pieces, the heat from the hot cream should be enough to melt the chocolate and butter.
8. Mix in any added flavours to the ganache before pouring into your tart cases. Refrigerate for at least one to two hours until set. The tart can keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.
9. Gently remove tarts from the cases and decorate how you like shortly before serving, I simply sieved on a little icing sugar and added some chocolates. Serving with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream would finish it off nicely.
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Warm and fluffy chocolate sponge cake with a warm and creamy peppermint custard, a touch of sugar and some cute Holly sprinkles.

I haven't had peppermint custard since I was at school over 12 years ago! In fact after telling people what I had been baking they all said the same! Mint custard is, or at least was the thing to have for dessert for school meals at Christmas time in the UK and is one of the few meals I actually enjoyed or even remember. 

This was the first time I have ever made custard! I know, I know! With all the baking I do you would have thought I would have mastered such a thing by now but I have never really been a fan of traditional custard.  It wasn't until my best friend :iconshaami: and I were talking about our recent bakes that she told me she had made mint custard.  Suddenly I remembered the awesome custard from school, I had to get the recipe from her and make it as soon as possible! My family enjoyed this so much I am now going to be making it for our Christmas Day dessert as it can be made the day before and heated up.

There is no recipe for this, I have only made it the once so have yet to perfect it.  However there are plenty of recipes online you can try out.  I used a recipe that required no eggs. I have to say when I think custard, I think eggs so, when I read the recipe at first, I had to re-read it several times to make sure this was not a mistake.  I am not much of an egg fan anyway so when I found out it was indeed correct I was very happy.

More Christmas
Chocolate Ginger Christmas Cupcakes by claremanson Star Cookies (+recipe) by claremanson

My Christmas Baking Contest
Claremanson's Christmas ContestTheme: General Christmas Baking
From holding a recent poll, it seems the majority of you are most interested in baking traditional food for your country/family or food you usually bake over Christmas rather than a set recipe.  Therefore I have decided that as long as it is relevant to Christmas in some way, shape or form in recipe, flavour or presentation it will be considered as an entry.
 
Rules and requirements:

You must include Christmas into your baking, decorating or surroundings in some shape or form else your entry will not be included.
If what you you usually make isn't very Christmasy looking or tasting then why not try to add some more Christmas into your food by adding Christmas sprinkles onto candy and cupcakes, flavours such as cinnamon or cranberry, themed cupcake cases, festive shaped cookies etc.
You entry must be new for Christmas 2013.
It must be homemade, not shop bought.
Please state in your e


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