Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Testing, testing... Philadelphia soft cheese

Philadelphia's new flavour: Sun-dried tomatoes and basil
A few weeks ago a goodie bag arrived to announce the launch of Philadelphia's new Mediterranean flavour: Sun-dried tomato and basil. I grew up with Philadelphia as it's a popular brand in Italy and since I moved to the UK I have been using this soft cheese (the original, full-fat flavour) to make cheesecake or spread on toast.

Browsing Philly's website, I now see that this is not the only flavour available, some herby flavours are on sale too (click here to view the full range).  The goodie bag also included some yummy savoury recipes, but there are lots on the website too (click here to view them all). Among the online recipes, my favourite is the Tuscan stuffed pepper, as it's a perfect spring-to-summer dish. A few months ago I did develop a stuffed pepper recipe for a parenting website (click here), but the Philly recipe (below, just click link in the caption) promises to be lighter in calories... It's easy and delicious, and it was just the ticket when a friend who doesn't eat meat visited me a few days ago.

Stuffed pepper with Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Philadelphia, click here for the recipe

However I couldn't resist making a cheesecake with the Philadelphia Original sample - and I'm sharing my recipe below. I used three kiwi fruits and fresh berries to decorate it...

Non-bake fruit of the forest cheesecake
·      200g digestive biscuits, crushed
·      45g butter, melted
·      400g Philadelphia Original
·      100g sugar
·      1 tablespoon lemon juice
·      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·      280ml whipping cream
·      2 tablespoons sugar
·      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·      2 punnets mixed berries (you can use frozen berries)
·      2 tablespoons sugar
·      little water
 ·     kiwi fruits and a few fresh berries to garnish (optional)

1.  Crush the biscuits and place crumbs in a bowl. Pour melted butter and combine. Press the mixture into the tin to make the base of the cake. Refrigerate.

2.  Mix the cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat the cream till it resembles thick custard. Combine whipped cream in the cheese mixture. Pour over the biscuit base and refrigerate.

3.  Boil the berries in a non-stick saucepan with sugar and a little water to make the coulis. Let it cool and refrigerate it. For best results, spoon the coulis on the top just before serving. Decorate with kiwi slices (optional).

I have another great recipe that was sent to me by Phildadelphia's PR company


Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Scoops: 10
Prep time: 20 minutes
Freeze time: 24 hours
200g Philadelphia Original
300ml condensed milk
150ml crème fraiche
Grated rind of 1 lemon
125g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
3 tbsp strawberry conserve
50g digestive biscuits, roughly chopped 
1. Mix together the Philly, condensed milk, crème fraiche and lemon rind. Spoon into a freezer proof container and freeze for about 4 hours or until semi frozen.
2. Meanwhile, put the strawberries and conserve into a blender or food process and puree together.
3. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and whisk to break up the ice crystals. Stir in the strawberry puree and the crumbled biscuits. Spoon back into the freezer proof container. Freeze until completely frozen, preferably overnight. Remove from the freezer about 20-30 minutes before serving to soften slightly. Serve in scoops decorated if likes with some fresh strawberries.

TIP: If liked, use raspberries and raspberry conserve in place of strawberries.

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