Thursday 18 April 2024

London Cheesecakes

London Cheesecakes

 


It was several months back now that someone e-mailed me and suggested I try to make London Cheesecakes.  I am always open to suggestions.  I did some research and discovered that London Cheesecakes are not cheesecakes at all, but beautiful puff pastry bakes, topped with a bit of jam, some almond frangipane cake topping and a glazed icing with a coconut sprinkle.


They sounded delicious. I am a huge lover of anything which includes pastry and jam.   I also really love the flavor of almond so I was all in with this!  I did some querying and found a recipe that I trusted on Geoff's Baking Blog.     He is British and also has a video to go along with the recipe, so that is the recipe I decided to go with.


London Cheesecakes



There were a few other recipes about, but I found them to be highly pretentious and not at all in line with what I think London Cheesecakes should be.  This is an old, old favorite of Londoners and people in the home counties in general. They would never have been pretentious.  


I have read also that they might have been served in schools and that even Greggs had them at some point, and maybe even still do in some places.



London Cheesecakes 




This is one of those odd British Recipes whose name totally belies its ingredients. These are not cheese cake at all, but a puff pastry bake with jam and an almond cake topping. Its origins are a bit of a mystery but I have read that it is entirely possible that the original cakes did contain cheese curds.  


Todays bake however has nothing whatsoever at all to do with those rich and creamy bakes we usually equate with cheesecake. These are nothing like that in the least, but, in my humble opinion, are every bit as delicious, maybe even more so.


To be honest they are not even cakes.  Not to confuse the issue even more or anything, lol



London Cheesecakes



In my research I also found them being called "Hairy Mary's" and "Hairy Cheesecakes," a reference no doubt to the use of the long stranded coconut sprinkled on top of the finished and iced bake. 



Not cheese, not cake, but instead a lovely teatime treat.  Enjoyed quaffed with a lovely hot drink.  The perfect mid-afternoon Teatime treat to help balance out a hot brew for those looking for something sweet to go along with it. 


And lets face it, tea just begs to be enjoyed with something moreish and sweet. These London Cheesecakes, go perfectly!



London Cheesecakes
 



WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE LONDON CHEESECAKES


Simple baking ingredients. There is nothing out of the ordinary required here, except maybe a tiny bit of patience.


For the frangipane topping:
  • 5 TBS (70g) softened butter
  • 5 1/2 TBS (70g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (70g) plain all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (30g) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large free range egg (medium in the U.K.), lightly beaten
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract
you will also need:
  • 1 sheet of all butter puff pastry (mine was 10 inches square)
  • 2 to 3 TBS raspberry jam
For the icing:
  • 1 2/3 cup (200g) icing sugar
  • 2 1/2 TBS water (or as needed)
  • 1/2 cup (50g) shredded or desiccated coconut



London Cheesecakes

 


An almond frangipane is probably one of the most delicious types of cakes/toppings and is used frequently in sweet bakes in the U.K. Think Bakewell tarts, etc. 


You can use ground blanched almonds or almond flour (which is what I use.  The Kirkland brand from Costco.)  In the U.K. you will never find almonds ground with the skin on, so ground almonds are always a pale color without any dark brown flecks.


I use salted butter because I don't think it is really necessary to buy in unsalted butter for things like this. Today's butter is not as salted as in the past. You can always cut back on any salt required in the recipe to make up for it's use.




London Cheesecakes 


Almond extract is readily available in the baking section of most grocery shops. I love it, but it is easy to use too much. It has the ability to overpower the flavor of any ingredients it is used with. Do NOT use any more than is required, and if you are not overly fond of its flavor, you may even use less.


I use the PC brand all butter frozen puff pastry as that is the only all butter puff pastry, ready prepared, available here where I live. It works very well in this. In the U.K. you could use Jus Rol.  Just make sure you use all butter pastry. I really dislike the flavor of the other kinds and feel it is inferior in quality.



If I wasn't so lazy and had the time I would make my own, but alas, I am lazy and my time is limited, lol.  The frozen all butter puff pastry works a treat without all that effort




London Cheesecakes 




I used a seedless raspberry jam.  I love the flavor of raspberry jam, but I don't always like the seeds. I suppose you could use any jam at all in these and they would be delicious, but traditionally it has always been raspberry jam.



Traditionally long stranded coconut would have been used to top these, something like angel flake, but that is not available here where I live and is not that easy to find in the U.K. anymore. I used a shredded one that I found in my local shops, but desiccated coconut will also work well.



how to make London cheesecakes

 


HOW TO MAKE LONDON CHEESECAKES


These were really very simple to make. Just keep your pastry in the fridge until just prior to putting everything together and you will be okay.  Puff pastry can become very unmanageable if it gets too warm.



Thaw your pastry out in the refrigerator overnight. Take out about 10 minutes before you want to bake.



Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4. Line a large baking tray with some baking parchment.




London Cheesecakes 




Make the frangipane first. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, almond extract and salt.



Whisk in the flour and ground almonds until thoroughly combined. Set aside.



Unroll your puff pastry. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut into 10 squares. This all depends on the size of your sheet of pastry. You may want to cut them into rectangles. Cut according to the size of your pastry.


London Cheesecakes





I cut the paper the pastry was sitting on apart around the squares with some kitchen scissors for ease in transferring to the baking tray. Transfer to the baking tray leaving some space in between each.



Using the bottom of a measuring spoon, make a hollow dip in the center of each square. Fill these with 1/2 tsp of raspberry jam. (Do not be tempted to overfill.






London Cheesecakes 




Spoon or pipe the frangipane cake batter over and around the jam to enclose it completely.



Place into the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until well risen and the pastry is golden brown on the bottom, set on the top and the cake is also golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.



Once cold, whisk the icing sugar together with just enough water to give you a thick, yet spoonable, frosting.



Spoon this frosting over the cake to cover completely as best as you can and sprinkle coconut over top. Leave to set the icing completely before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.





London Cheesecakes





These were EXCELLENT!  Quick and easy to make as well. The pastry was light and flaky. The frangipane batter nice and almondy.  There was just enough jam in the middle to please.  With that sweet icing on top any more than the 1/2 tsp would have been far too sweet.



I sent half over to my family to enjoy and they raved about them! I think these are sure to become a firm favorite with your family also! If you love traditional bakes and puff pastry, then you really must try these!


London Cheesecakes


If you are a fan of traditional British bakes, cakes, and teatime treats, you might also enjoy the following recipes:


TRADITIONAL ECCLES CAKES -  I have been making these delicious pastries from a recipe given to me by a friend back in the mid 1970's.  They are totally gorgeous. Buttery puff pastry filled with a sweet, fruity filling. They are named after the English town of Eccles, which is a town in the historic county of Lancashire and in the ceremonial county of Greater Manchester. They are a Lancashire food tradition and are actually traditionally enjoyed along with a wedge of Lancashire Cheese!


MARY BERRY'S VICTORIA SANDWICH CAKE - This lovely sponge cake graces many a teatime or celebration table in the U.K. Composed of equal weights of self rising flour, eggs, butter and sugar, it is a very simple cake to make. I have provided weights and measures for three sizes.  This is lovely filled with jam and dusted with sugar to serve.  It is so delicious it needs nothing more, although you will often see it filled with a layer of vanilla butter cream along with the jam. Very, very nice.


Yield: Makes 10
Author: Marie Rayner
London Cheesecakes

London Cheesecakes

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 40 Min
Delightful little cakes composed of puff pastry, topped with a dab of jam and then some frangipane cake batter and baked until crisp and golden brown. To finish off they are iced with a simple glace icing topping and some flaked coconut. These are an old fashioned delicious teatime treat! Very easy to make using shop bought frozen puff pastry.

Ingredients

For the frangipane topping:
  • 5 TBS (70g) softened butter
  • 5 1/2 TBS (70g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (70g) plain all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (30g) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large free range egg (medium in the U.K.), lightly beaten
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract
you will also need:
  • 1 sheet of all butter puff pastry (mine was 10 inches square)
  • 2 to 3 TBS raspberry jam
For the icing:
  • 1 2/3 cup (200g) icing sugar
  • 2 1/2 TBS water (or as needed)
  • 1/2 cup (50g) shredded or desiccated coconut

Instructions

  1. Thaw your pastry out in the refrigerator overnight. Take out about 10 minutes before you want to bake.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4. Line a large baking tray with some baking parchment.
  3. Make the frangipane first. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, almond extract and salt.
  4. Whisk in the flour and ground almonds until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  5. Unroll your puff pastry. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut into 10 squares. This all depends on the size of your sheet of pastry. You may want to cut them into rectangles. Cut according to the size of your pastry.
  6. I cut the paper the pastry was sitting on apart around the squares with some kitchen scissors for ease in transferring to the baking tray. Transfer to the baking tray leaving some space in between each.
  7. Using the bottom of a measuring spoon, make a hollow dip in the center of each square. Fill these with 1/2 tsp of raspberry jam. (Do not be tempted to overfill.
  8. Spoon or pipe the frangipane cake batter over and around the jam to enclose it completely.
  9. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until well risen and the pastry is golden brown on the bottom, set on the top and the cake is also golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  10. Once cold, whisk the icing sugar together with just enough water to give you a thick, yet spoonable, frosting.
  11. Spoon this frosting over the cake to cover completely as best as you can and sprinkle coconut over top.
  12. Leave to set the icing completely before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
Did you make this recipe?
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London Cheesecakes


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4 comments

  1. I loved these as a child in England. Ours were round and did not have jam and had very long shredded coconut on top.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I also loved these when a child in London, haven’t seen the for many years(I live in Australia ) definitely going to make these

    ReplyDelete

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