Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wild Weeds - Wild Hibiscus Flower & Lime Cheesecake

This post is for Bron Marshall's second WILDFOOD blogging event, with a Wild Weeds theme. It is also the very first blogging event in which I have participated, and I think it is fitting that it is an event organised by a fellow Antipodean.

I had originally wanted to make wattle seed, macadamia and chocolate chip cookies; however, the only wattle seed at Prahran market (my "local") was a large jar costing $30 - and I only wanted a teaspoon! Weirdly enough, right next door to the wattle seed was a jar of wild hibiscus flowers. These are normally used in champagne cocktails to create a very girly, pink bubbly glass of champagne. I have previously indulged in hibiscus flower champagne at Jade Buddha in Brisbane while passing time between a friend's wedding and the wedding reception. It is a top drop!

However, for this blogging event, I thought that the hibiscus flowers would be perfect as gorgeous edible decorations atop individual baked cheesecakes. I chose a low fat baked lime cheesecake, and substituted some of the citrus juice used in the original recipe with the hibiscus flower syrup. I had hoped that the syrup would turn the cheesecakes a pretty shade of pink, but this was not to be!

The recipe is as follows:

Individual lime & hibiscus flower cheesecakes
(Recipe adapted from Livinia Nixon's low fat lemon & lime cheesecake, Woman's Day, 2005)

150g ginger nut biscuits
50g melted low fat margarine (I used olive oil spread)
500g light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup low fat fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbpns plain flour
2 eggs
2 tspns lime juice
2 tspns hibiscus flower syrup
2 tspns finely grated lime zest
wild hibiscus flowers in syrup

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

2. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases and spray with cooking oil.

3. Crush gingernut biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs form, then add melted margarine. Press approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of the biscuit mixture into the bottom of each muffin case. Chill for 30 minutes.

4. Beat cream cheese and ricotta together until smooth, then beat in sugar and 1 tbspn flour until combined.

5. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

6. Beat in remaining flour, lime juice, hibiscus syrup and lime zest.

7. Pour cheesecake batter over prepared biscuit bases, and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the filling is set. Turn off the oven and allow cheesecakes to cool in the oven with the door ajar.

8. Chill cooled cheesecakes in the refrigerator.

9. Just before serving, top each cheesecake with a hibiscus flower that has been doused in champagne or mineral water to open the flower, and a drizzle of hibiscus flower syrup.

10. Enjoy!

This cheesecake is quite light, especially for a baked cheesecake. The lime flavour was very subtle, so if you like your cheesecake to be tangy, you could increase the amount of juice and zest that you include in the mixture. I also liked the gingernut base, which complements the lime nicely.

You can eat the hibiscus flowers themselves - the makers claim that they taste like raspberry and rhubarb. While I'm not so sure about that, they certainly taste good!


Bron said...

Oh yum! You know the way to my heart!
Awesome entry! Thanks heaps!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks for organising this event Bron - it's a really fun theme.