It's such a thrill to cook with ingredients that you know the provenance of, whether they are homegrown, or grown by farming friends. So when Annabelle Hickson opened orders for her family's Hickson Pecans
my fingers hit the keyboard to enter my details in rapid fire. It was exciting to receive the box of Cape Fear pecans and our family enjoyed tasting the freshest pecans we'd ever been exposed to. Duncan compared them to, "Caramel from a tree." Gryff asked, "Are these from the woman married to the bloke with the Suzuki?" (a reference to a photograph of Annabelle and Ed Hickson with daughter Daisy on the cover of Graziher
magazine). It's all about the wheels for this 11-year-old.
I'd been looking for an opportunity to cook with our Hickson Pecans when I came across a recipe for Baked Honey Cheesecake by Sarah Hardy in The Weekend Australian Magazine. The base for the cheesecake is delicious, made by blitzing the pecans in a food processor, then combining with dry ingredients and melted butter, resulting in the equivalent of a giant Anzac biscuit. The texture of Baked Honey Cheesecake was a surprise, more moist and infused with the brandy infused sultanas. I hope you enjoy experimenting and introducing your family to a new recipe like I did. Maybe you can source some of the ingredients -honey, nuts, flour, lemons - from someone you know to add to the flavour?
Baked Honey Cheesecake (extract from Vegan Cakes by Sarah Hardy in The Weekend Australian Magazine)
Base: 55g walnuts (I used Hickson Pecans), 40g (1/4 cup) caster sugar (I used raw caster sugar), 40g (1/4/cup) soft light brown sugar, 70g plain flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 50g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing.
Filling: 150g sultanas, 50ml brandy, 230g raw cashews and 90g blanched almonds (both soaked in cold water for at least 3 hours), 500ml (2 cups) creme fraiche, 90g honey, plus extra for drizzling, zest of 1 lemon, plus 4 tablespoons juice, 2 tablespoons psyllium husk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon salt, Few sprigs thyme to decorate.
Preheat oven to 190C. Grease base and sides of small (18cm) springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper. For the base, blitz walnut or pecans with food processor until finely chopped. Add to a bowl with dry ingredients, and stir. Add melted butter and combine. Pack into the cake tin, making an even layer, then bake for 12 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool (do not remove from tin).
For the filling, place sultanas and brandy in a bowl or saucepan and heat for about a minute so the sultanas swell and soak up the brandy. Roughly chop and set aside.
Drain the soaked nuts, then add to food processor with creme fraiche and blitz until smooth. Add honey, lemon zest and juice, psyllium husk, vanilla and salt and blitz again. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sultanas. Pour on top of the base and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in the tin before removing. Drizzle with honey and decorate with thyme sprigs. Serves 8.
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