"Visa, Mastercard, discovered that I was spent
took my heart, my best jeans, and left me
with paying the rent
A user, abuser, a loser
but I didn't care
I've always been a guy with a sweet tooth
and that girl was just like a king-sized candy bar"
-From Milkshake 'n' Honey by Sleater-Kinney (All hands on the bad one, 2000)
Milkshake 'n' Honey, and the songs of Sleater-Kinney (SK for the fans) in general made up a large part of the soundtrack to my university days. I never had a chance to feel insecure about what I saw in fashion magazines because I was too busy scouring the Internet for scanned old zines and watching documentaries about riot grrrl. I played drums in a band and we chose not to have a bass guitar so that we could be more like our heroes. Having seen SK live is one of my favourite memories of those years.
|A photo of Carrie from back then in all its grainy glory. At The Kings Arms.|
I had already started baking back then but my technique was sorely lacking and I couldn't afford to buy decent quality ingredients which significantly limited what I could make. I couldn't afford ingredients because I spent all my money at the school pub and the record store.
The song quoted at the start of this post inevitably sends me off on a tangent of dreaming about delicious things. I think it must be the evocative combination of milk and honey that does it, just like the contrast between Corin Tucker's drawling verses and Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss' too-cool-for-school delivery of the chorus. To me, the flavour of honey makes dairy products taste richer; actual milkshakes made with honey taste like they're made with cream (try milk, feijoa and honey and prepare to swoon), blue cheese and honey is a formidable duo, and this cheesecake that I made with honey and the honeyed sweetness of dried figs is delicious enough to be inhaled.
This recipe takes minutes to make but elevates simple ingredients to new heights of delight. There are nuggets of dried fig in the crust that add an oddly addictive grittiness, and the filling is exclusively sweetened with honey for a well balanced sweetness and voluptuous mouth-feel. Not quite a king-sized candy bar but irresistible all the same.
Fig and honey cheesecake
made 15cm diameter mini-cake, double ingredients to make a 20cm cake
85g plain biscuit crumbs (I used coconut flavoured biscuits)
3 dried figs, diced
3Tb coconut oil, melted
200g cream cheese, room temperature
1c full cream
1tsp gelatine, soaked in 1Tb cold water for 10 minutes
4-5Tb honey (taste before adding the last tablespoons-worth)
dried figs, honey and whatever else you desire for decoration (I used violas, mint leaves and freeze-dried blackcurrants)
1. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place a 15cm ring mould or a removable-bottom cake tin with the base removed, at the centre of the tray.
2. Combine biscuit crumbs, figs and coconut oil and mix until all the crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs into the base of the ring/cake tin.
3. Place cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl and beat until smooth and homogenous. Add the cream in 3-4 additions, followed by honey, tasting as you go. Continue to beat until the mixture is thickened to a clotted cream/spreadable consistency.
4. Dissolve the soaked gelatin in 2tsp of boiling water. Stir until it is completely dissolved and beat into the cream mixture. Don't let the gelatin sit around for too long after adding the boiling water, as it may start to set.
5. Pour the filling into the mould, cover with plastic and chill for at least 6 hours.
6. To umould, I transfer the cake to a serving plate then use a hair dryer to heat up the edges of the cake before easing it out.
7. Decorate as desired.