Meeting my writing friends for coffee this morning, we were in a rather nice café, Coffee#1, here in Weston. I think I first came across a Coffee#1 in Taunton, but soon they appeared – or I noticed more of them around Somerset. They always serve nice, coffee, nice cakes, nice sandwiches/rolls/toasties – in fact, nice everything. I have just looked them up, and apparently the first café of that name was started in Cardiff in 2001. By the end of the year there were three more, and soon a chain of these rather good cafés spread across Wales, the south-west and along the M4 corridor (as Wikipedia describes it) Times change however, and in 2019, the company was taken over by Caffè Nero – another English coffee chain, founded in 1997 in London.
Anyway… having had a late breakfast I didn’t want a cake or anything to eat, tempted though I was by the delicious looking cheese cake my chums were tucking into. Cheesecake is such a staple and such a constant in cafés, coffee houses tea shops and as a dessert in restaurants, but I didn’t come across it until I moved to Manchester in the early 70’s. There was a rather nice delicatessen near where I was living and they had what is called baked cheese cake, and it was utterly delicious. Being a poor student, I couldn’t often afford it, but it was such a treat when I could! I went to stay with my aunty and she was excited to tell me she had bought a packet of cheesecake mix. Naively, I was excited too and together we made it, with a biscuit base of course. I’m sure the cheesecake I used to enjoy in Manchester didn’t have a crushed biscuit base, but a sort of pastry – maybe I was mistaken. Of course the smooth and somewhat slippery filling for the cheesecake my aunty bought was far away from my idea of what it should be like! These days it’s still often more of a thick custard, or even firm custard consistency. However, the cheesecake my friends were enjoying so much did look what I think of as authentic! Next time I go in to town, I will visit Coffee#1 again and buy one – I will report back.
I’ve been looking at my little 1944 recipe book ‘Cookery for To-day and To-morrow’ by Nell Heaton recently. I’ve just had another look and there, is a recipe for cheese cakes! And her it is:
- Short Pastry No. 2 (very plain – 8 oz. flour, 2 oz. shortening. 1 tsp baking powder)
- 1 lb curds
- ¼ lb margarine
- ½ lb sugar
- 2 eggs
- baking powder
- line patty tins with pastry
- melt together margarine and sugar
- add curds, eggs and baking powder
- add grated nutmeg and currants
- pour into pastry cases
- bake in a moderate oven, 350–375 °F, 180–190 °C, gas mark 4
- Nan doesn’t give a time, but I would guess 30 mins
I’m so glad she uses nutmeg, not cinnamon, and currants not sultanas!