When you receive an email asking if you are familiar with a brand and right at that very moment you happen to be eating a vegetable wrap smeared with their Original Greek Island Style Chick Pea Humus, it sets the tone for a great collaboration.
I was delighted to be invited to create a recipe for Mediterranean Delicacies; a brand that I am sure is very familiar to you too. Mediterranean Delicacies are possibly most well known for their amazing dips; around here we are particularly fond of the Tzatziki and silky smooth Taramosalata in addition to their great humus. I was given the choice of any of their products to work with but as the Mediterranean Delicacies range stretches far beyond dips to include specialized deli products, seafood, cheese, pickles, nuts, pastries and so very much more, choosing just one was a more difficult decision than you may think.
Well, at least it was until I spotted the Halva. Halva is something that I have adored from first taste and I was fit to burst with excitement at the thought of working with it again. Do you know it? Do you love it too?
Halva, also often Halvah, is a dense, sweet, tahini based confection of much disputed origin; possibilities include India, Turkey, Israel and the entire Byzantine Empire. Not that I care too much who lays claim to this deliciousness, I just want to eat it. Straight from the jar, using a delicate small spoon; one must never appear to be a crazed lunatic.
To make halva, roasted sesame seeds are ground into a smooth paste and mixed with boiled sugar. Très healthy stuff, no? Halva is flaky and creamy and crumbles effortlessly, melting softly on the tongue. Flavour wise, halva is sweet, with a hint of bitter if that makes any sense to you at all.
Mediterranean Delicacies Halva range includes five flavours: Vanilla, Almond, Cocoa, Chocolate and Pistachio.
Part of the brief for this recipe development was to include an #afrochic element to the dish. I chose to add rooibos and I absolutely love how the flavours of the rooibos, halva and caramel came together in this Halva and Rooibos Cheesecake with Caramel Topping which I baked using the Mediterranean Delicacies Vanilla Halva.
If you have been visiting around here for a while you will know that I am a lover of the stops-you-in-your-tracks-cake and this baked cheesecake is no exception. It has a light and soft texture infused with the delicate flavour of South African rooibos and vanilla halva. To finished a thick, sweet caramel sauce, crisp honeycomb and for good measure some more flaked Mediterranean Delicacies Vanilla Halva.
Can we just call this the holy grail of cheesecakes and be done?
- Halva & Rooibos Cheesecake
- 150 g butter, melted
- 1 x 200g packet butter biscuits, crushed
- 125 ml (½ C) milk
- 4 x rooibos teabags
- 5 large eggs
- 225 g (1 C) castor sugar
- 5 x 250 g plain smooth cream cheese
- 200 g Mediterranean Delicacies Vanilla Halva
- Caramel Sauce
- 250 ml (1 C) white sugar
- 80 ml (⅓ C) water
- 250 ml (1 C) cream
- 125 g (½ C) butter
- To decorate: honeycomb; caramel sugar shards; reserved Mediterranean Delicacies Vanilla Halva
- Stir the melted butter into the crushed biscuits and mix well.
- Press the biscuit mixture into the bottom of a round 22 cm baking pan which has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Place the milk into a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Turn off the heat and add the rooibos teabags.
- Steep for 10 minutes, remove the bags and leave the milk to cool
- Place the eggs and the caster sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Whisk on high speed until the mixture is pale and thick.
- Add the cream cheese, one tub at a time.
- Reserving about 50 g for the topping, crumble the Mediterranean Delicacies Vanilla Halva into the mixture and beat until combined.
- Stir in the rooibos milk.
- Pour the mixture onto the biscuit base and bake the cheesecake in an oven that has been preheated to 180˚C for 10 (ten) minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 150˚C and bake for a further 50 minutes or until the cake is set. The cake should not be firm or hard but rather have a soft and stable wobble.
- Cool the cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.
- To make the caramel sauce, place the sugar and the water into a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan.
- Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Stop stirring and bring the sugar syrup to the boil.
- Boil continuously for about 6 minutes or until the sugar colour changes to a light deep caramel.
- Remove from heat immediately.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes and then carefully whisk in the cream a little at a time.
- (Take care as the sugar will bubble up as the cream is added.)
- Whisk in the butter, and continue whisking until the caramel is smooth and well blended.
- To serve spread the caramel over the top of the cheesecake.
- Decorate with crushed honeycomb, the 50 g reserved Mediterranean Delicacies Vanilla Halva and caramel sugar shards.