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Red Berry Cheesecake in Instant Pot

I do not know why but I was always afraid of cheesecakes. Not to eat them but to make them. They crack, they are runny sometimes, and there are multiple ways you can get it wrong with a cheesecake. Well, Instant Pot opened a door for me. I hated the classical way of putting water on a tray and putting the pan inside a classical. What if the pan is not leakproof? Then, handling a hot water tray is not very pleasant. With the Instant Pot, things are simpler and with fewer negative surprises. But this is not a commercial post for the instant pot, it is just my opinion. You can definitely bake this cake in a normal oven too.

I made this cake in 2 versions, one including milk (or sour cream) and one without. The first one leads to a more creamy texture and the second one is more crumbly. The first one is soft, and the second is drier. I liked them both but my daughter detests cream texture in any cake. You can guess then which one was her favourite. 

You can do this cake without the fruity layer but it adds a full dimension to the taste of this cake. The first version I made was with strawberries, and the second was with raspberries. Both are exceptional and red berries are just an idea, you can use any fruit you want!

Sugar in this cake is kept to a minimum but it is just enough to enhance the taste of the cake. If you prefer very sweet cakes, feel free to add as much sugar as you like. Personally, I like cakes but I also like to stay on the healthy side of eating. Most of the time I do not eat the cakes that I make, they are for my kids but if I really want to eat a slice I would choose one that is the most appealing to me and this one was irresistible.

I hope you will like it too...

Instant Pot Cranberries Yoghurt Cake

I love baking in general, but steaming was not necessarily my daily way of cooking. I challenged myself to try pressure cooking lately and a whole new world opened to me. In fact, cooking with pressure was not a new thing for me. My mother gave me a big pressure cooker pot as a present at my wedding. I need to recognise it was a love and hate relationship... I was using it for a while then it was staying for months on the shelf. Now that I think back, I think the main reason was the practicality of that pot.
So, two lovely ladies told me about their experience with the Instant Pot and I convinced myself I want to try it. I can say it was a real turning point in how I am preparing my daily meals. In a short description: healthier and faster. I added as well to my family meals new dishes that looked so complicated before. Now everything happens in one pot...
I love to explore, to test the limits and I tried to bake cakes in it also. I understood what works in it and what is not. Instant Pot cooks with steam and moist types of cakes are appropriate. I baked a classic bundt and turned out OK but it was too dense for my taste. Then, I tried a creme caramel and worked perfectly. This time I made the yoghurt cake with a recipe from my mother. Of course, I had to adapt certain things but I am happy with the result.
This type of cake is usually baked in the oven between filo pastry sheets. I used a biscuit layer instead. I replaced raisins with dried cranberries (to be more accurate I think the ones that I have are actually lingonberries - in French is "airelles", please correct me if I am wrong).
What I love about it is that it is super simple to make it and it is firm enough to keep a slice on your hand and walk away. I gave it also to my kids at school as a snack.
You can play with some decorations and it will look as fancy as you wish.
If you do not have dried cranberries, use raisins or any dried fruits. I haven't tested but I think it works perfectly with fresh berries also. Good idea, I must try this too, could be very interesting.
This cake can be called a pudding. It works with the same principles, a cereal that expends in a diary liquid. What is special though is that I use homemade yoghurt, not milk. Almond essence and lemon zest give a specific and fantastic aroma to this cake.
It will for sure enter into my regular bakes due to its simplicity and delicious taste.

Here are the ingredients...

Rhubarb tart

 

Last spring, I've bought from the weekend market a little plant of rhubarb. It was a small plant and the guy selling it to me has warned me that it could grow up to 1m in diameter. All OK for me, I planted it in my garden and started to grow: unexpectedly big up to 2m in diameter at least. I knew that in the first year I better not harvested it, so I waited calmly for this year to come to taste it. Over the winter, it almost completely dried and I thought I lost it. But when this spring came, it was growing again at least as big as last year. This time... I had in mind a tart and now was the right moment.
A simple tart but with a lot of new things for me. First, it was about baking something with my own grown rhubarb. Second, it was my first tart baked in the wood-fired oven. None of these I've done before. The oven was low in temperature after a previous bake so I can almost say I did a slow bake. It started somewhere at 190ºC and went quickly a bit lower than 130ºC. I can call it a slow cook almost as it took about 3-4 hours to finish it and that with the tart shell already pre-cooked.
I was expecting the stalks to be redder but the lack of sun and good weather of this year had for sure an impact. Nevertheless, I had to try it!
The tart was incredibly well received by my daughter who enjoyed the sweet-sour taste of it and she commented that remembers the three kings' cake. Of course it does, as the filling is very similar to that cake, being based on almond powder. Just when it was gone I realised that I did not save a piece for me to try. Well, the plant is still there with big leaves but I won't dare to cut more stalks to not kill the plant. So for me, the next attempt to taste it will be next year.
Here is the simple recipe.

Rye - Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread


Take a bread recipe, make it until you are satisfied with the result and then you can play changing the flour. This is what I am doing with this recipe: I changed the spelt flour with rye flour in my previous recipe. The result may have the same look but there are big changes to the dough and I'll explain why. 
The spelt flour makes the dough very elastic while rye is fermenting faster. Rye flour is also more absorbent (at least mine because it is partially whole rye).
So, the spelt version needed more coil folds to build the structure while rye has already a good structure feeling stiffer. Fermentation time was reduced also.

If the aspect is similar, the taste is slightly changed. Rye flour comes with a more rustic taste while spelt has sweeter influences. Do I like one more than the other... hmmm... difficult to say. They are both sourdough bread and the taste is amazing in both cases. The differences are just a matter of nuances.



Here you can find the recipe:

Spelt - Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

 When you make a dough combining multiple types of flours you should be very careful about the effect each dough has. Usually, if you put a type of flour in a percentage lower than 10%, the influence is minimal in the dough consistency and mild in the taste. When you increase this percentage, the characteristics of this specific flour start to be noticed. 

I made this bread with 3 types of flour: whole wheat, spelt and bread flour. Whole wheat is more absorbent and impedes the gluten network to develop easily. That's why a trick is to hydrate the whole wheat flour the day before so that the bran is softened through better hydration. The spelt flour adds elasticity to the dough. This means that you can stretch it more. The extensibility of the dough then has to be created by adding an extra coil fold. (the 4th one). The bread flour I used, although with 13% protein content was also very extensible and less absorbent than others I normally use. With these characteristics, making this bread is tricky.

First time I tried it I was not very happy with its dough structure and I over fermented it. The bread was perfectly eatable but for sure, was not what I expected it to be.

With the lessons learned from this first failed attempt, I focused on improving 2 things: dough handling and reduced fermentation time while keeping the list and quantity of ingredients exactly the same. To build a better structure, I added a 4th coil fold. For the fermentation, I definitely understood that this combination of flours, had to have a higher ph than 4.15 (as my previous test was). I shaped it then at ph 4.33 and put it in the fridge at 4.25. Only these 2 changes transformed a recipe from zero to hero.

This is a perfect example of improving the method and not changing the ingredients or their quantity. The method matters! There are many methods out there that make fantastic loaves of bread but you need to master yours and know the implications of changing it.