Friday, 24 June 2011

A Passion for Princi

After Monday's miserable shopping experience we went to Princi in Wardour Street for lunch. I love it there. It's big, it's noisy, you have to serve yourself.. then queue for a seat, but it has a great Milanese buzz and a perfect selection of Italian salads and cakes. The interior has been built to last with monumental hewn-stone counters and marble clad walls. There is a wood-fired oven for the bread and pizza in the bakery next door, with a roomful of logs stacked neatly to the ceiling. We took the boys there one evening and had a few glasses of Rose while they strolled up and down the lengthy cake display. Ed returned carrying a large square of cheesecake topped with a vivid, glassy layer of passion fruit jelly. I have never tasted anything like it! The zing of the passionfruit electrified those taste buds buried deep in your jaw that are only triggered by the most mouthwatering of flavours. It was so incredibly tangy that Brian thought it bordered on the painful, giving the boys another perfect opportunity to call him a gay pussy.

The cake counter at Princi London
The passionfruit cheesecake was just what we needed to bring us round after the comatose swimwear shopping experience, and it's exhilarating taste was undiminished the second time round. I had a go at making it last night. Here's how I got on.

I have a cake tin that's about 25cm square. I lined it with two plastic food bags laid across the bottom of the tin and overlapping the sides as I anticipated it might be tricky to remove the fragile cake from the tin once complete. (Ha, thinking ahead this time after the frozen solid lemon skin episode.) Then make a biscuit base by melting 100 grams of butter in the microwave and combining with about 10 crushed digestive biscuits. You can add the grated zest of an orange to this if you cba. Push the mixture flat into the tin. It should be about 0.5cm deep. Chill in the fridge. The next stage was experimental but it turned out OK: Pour 300ml of milk into a small saucepan stir in 150 grams of caster sugar. Sprinkle a teaspoon of vegetarian jelly crystals on to the milk and gently heat. Stir all the time. It goes gooey. Leave to cool off. Whisk a 227ml carton of double cream until it's almost stiff. Slowly beat the milk goo into the cream. Then fold in a 250 tub of mascapone. Flavour with the juice only of 2 or 3 passion fruit. Give the mixture a final whisk to make sure it's silky smooth. Pour onto the biscuit base and create a flat surface with a spatula. Refrigerate.
I didn't have a clue how to achieve the mirrored topping..... most passionfruit cheesecake recipes suggest simply spooning the contents of a passionfruit over the cheesecake. Where's the fun in that? I don't really like a mouthful of pips with a creamy desert anyway. So... buy as many passionfruit as you can afford. About 10 should do it. Cut them in half and spoon the insides into a sieve. With a wooden spoon push the seeds around letting the juice collect in a bowl. Gradually heat the juice with half a spoonful of the jelly crystals. Sieve about 6 raspberries in the same way and dribble into the passionfruit juice with out stirring to give a Tequila Sunrise colour combo. Gently spoon over the cheesecake. Now, unlike regular gelatine, the veggie version solidifies as soon as it touches the cool of the cheesecake, thus making a glass like finish quite tricky. I did my best. 


No comments:

Post a Comment