I made these when my friend Jenny came round. She is gluten intolerant, so brownies seemed like an obvious choice. Wheat flour can easily be substituted for another flour, such as rice flour, or ground almonds, as I’ve used here. Adopting a gluten free lifestyle seems to be all the rage nowadays, whether or not you actually have coeliac disease. Two of my favourite food blogs are by people who don’t eat gluten – Tartlette and La Tartine Gourmande.
Gluten seems to be hidden in a remarkable amount of things. According to a quick Wikipedia glance (the extent of any ‘research’ I do for this blog) gluten is found in cosmetics and hair products. Baking powder often contains gluten – although I’m skeptical of how useful baking powder is. Especially in brownies, as I’ve made them with or without, and can’t see any discernable difference, so I was happy to leave it out here. I’m still a little uncertain as to what gluten actually is – in my local healthfood shop you can buy large packets of a flour-like substance that is simply, and a little bizarrely, just called ‘gluten’.
This recipe was inspired by something I had from the Hummingbird Bakery in London. They produce an amazing concoction: a layer of brownie, topped with a layer of cheesecake, then a layer of vibrantly pink raspberry-flavoured cream. I did away with the separate layers, and swirled a mixture of cream cheese, egg and crushed raspberries into the top of the brownie batter before it goes in the oven. Doing my bit to make coping without bread and pasta a little bit easier.
My latest thrilling food discovery is passionfruit curd. I bought a jar and it was gone in about two days, as I was consuming it at every opportunity. I then bought another jar and made this cheesecake. I wanted to put this amazing stuff to a more fitting use – rather than it just being eaten, sometimes without the need for a utensil of any kind, straight from the jar.
There seem to be all sorts of curds out there these days. I bought a particularly memorable blackcurrant one in the Lake District – again eaten straight out of the jar for breakfast, whilst shivering in a tent in September. Theoretically, any fruit can be made into a curd by mixing the juice with eggs, butter and sugar, although some seem to work better then others. I think passionfruit curd might just be able to rival lemon curd as the frontrunner.
This recipe came to me when I was eating my passionfruit curd with yoghurt for breakfast one day (and a good day it was). The creaminess of the yoghurt went so well with the tartness of the passionfruit that I decided to combine the same idea in a cheesecake.
You can’t really go wrong with a cheesecake – it’s (usually) such a crowd-pleaser. There’s something satisfying about having a big gooey slice of pud, rather than something that’s been individually portioned out beforehand. While your cutting it the question of ‘how big’ is invariably raised- to which the answer is usually ‘not too big’, followed by ‘ooh…a bit bigger than that’.