A childhood favourite, these tasty puff pastries, topped with jam and almond cake and then icing with coconut, bring back so many memories of days gone by.
London Cheesecakes, which were known when I was a child just as Cheesecakes, are a lovely puff pastry topped with a little raspberry jam, then about a tablespoon of almond paste, or an almond cake mixture. After baking the top is covered with some simple icing and topped with shredded, or desiccated coconut.
In my childhood the coconut was long threads, sweetened. Those are not easily available today, although Greggs, the bakers, seem to be able to get hold of them. So the next best thing is sweetened shredded coconut. A good alternative is also desiccated coconut.
So, as you can see from the above there is no cheese in the recipe at all. With the advent of, the now ubiquitous, cheesecake desserts in many different flavours and guises these childhood favourites have now been renamed as London Cheesecakes.
I remember them fondly from my childhood and have also sampled them from Greggs where they are readily available, at least in my area. I am sure many local bakers in the London and Home Counties areas will also sell them.
They are easy to make, particularly if using shop bought puff pastry. That is what I used for mine, mainly due to the fact that is was a very warm day and so was not good for making my own.
Mine turned out very well indeed and, for me, they were exactly as I remembered. My niece and here husband also enjoyed them, saying the same thing.
I should say that you can make them any size you wish. I divided my sheet of puff pastry into 12, but it is an individual choice.
Quick, easy and very tasty
1 sheet of puff pastry
70g(5 tbsp) softened unsalted butter
70g(6 tbsp minus 1 tsp) caster sugar
70g(1/2 cup minus 1 tsp, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 medium egg(large in USA), beaten
5ml(1 tsp) almond extract
30g (1/3 cup) ground almonds
200g ( 1 2/3 cups) icing sugar
37ml(2 1/2 tbsp) water, you may not need it all
50g(about 1/2 cup) shredded coconut or desiccated
2 to 3 tbsp raspberry jam
- In a large bowl cream the butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the egg and mix thoroughly until all is combined.
- Stir the baking powder into the flour.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture onto the batter and add the almonds as well.
- Stir in until fully combined then set the bowl aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F
- Unroll the sheet of puff pastry.
- Carefully divide into about 12 equally sized rectangle or squares(or as many as you wish).
- Make a slight dent in the middle of each rectangle.
- For ease carefully cut the parchment paper that the pastry is on so that each rectangle can be moved separately.
- Spoon no more than 1/2 tsp jam onto the centre of each rectangle.
- Carefully spoon the cake mixture, around and over the jam, fully enclosing it. This will need about 1 tbsp of cake batter.
- Place the rectangle on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry has risen and it baked through. The cake should be baked too. If the cake seems to brown too much cover with aluminium foil to stop the browning.
- Remove the pastries from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
- Add most of the water to the icing sugar and stir until the mixture is thick, and just about falls off a spoon. Add more water to achieve the desire consistency.
- Carefully cover the top of the pastries with icing, ensuring that it doesn’t drip all over the sides. I made a frame of icing around the edges, roughly, and then filled in with more icing.
- Sprinkle the coconut onto the icing and gently press it down to that it becomes embedded and
allow the icing to set up a little before serving.