Whilst lockdown life isn’t ideal, I think we can all be grateful here in the UK that we’ve been blessed with some unseasonably stunning weather. It’s been the sunniest Spring on record for the UK, actually exceeding the amount of sunshine we’d usually see for most of our summer months! So whilst we may not be able to getaway on our holidays & are forced to cancel our travel plans, at least we can pretend that our back gardens as the Italian riviera (with a bit of added imagination of course!).
Of course, with the sunshine comes the heat, the scales topped a scorching 28C at one point, us Welsh just don’t know what to do with this, we’re more used to the wet (I can personally attest to having sweat in places that I’ve only experienced when abroad so I guess I’ve saved a few hundred quid there?). Some might say that it’s been too hot to cook or to bake (some, not me) & whilst I may have avoided spending hours in the kitchen preparing bakes lately, I can’t say that I’ve stopped entirely.
But just because it might be too hot to do some baking, doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t still enjoy a homemade sweet treat. Not everything requires the heat of an oven to be delightfully naughty. This is something I truly discovered & delved more into last year when my poor little oven broke & gave up on me (a very traumatic time). Thankfully I still had a working hob so I could still do some degree of cooking & I think I must’ve made about 12 batches of jam that year.
However with no oven to cook or bake with & a lack of funds at that time to afford a new one, I had to get a little inventive in the kitchen. I started exploring new ways to get my sweet fix & entered a world of no bake baking… chilled cheesecakes, chocolate truffles, layered trifles & rice crispy cakes (so underrated!). I was going through cream cheese & double cream at an exponential rate!
One such experiment which I consider a massive success & still find myself making when the weather is as hot as it has been lately is a caffeine loaded hybrid between a tart & a cheesecake. A no bake coffee hazelnut tart, this dessert has it all… contrasting textures, a fine balance of sweet & bitter & a powerful punch of coffee flavour.
Set on a crunchy base of bourbon biscuits & filled with a sickly sweet caramel which is then balanced out by a creamy, slightly bitter coffee filling, this dessert certainly checks all of the my dessert boxes! I’ve always loved the flavour of coffee in desserts (tiramisu & coffee ice cream are my weaknesses), it’s almost combining the best of both worlds, dessert & after-dinner coffee, you get your caffeine fix in a different way. So, whether you have an oven or not, or are just looking for a sweet treat when the weather’s a little too hot to bake, this coffee treat is super simple to throw together & all you’ll need is a fridge!
NO BAKE COFFEE HAZELNUT TART
(makes one 23cm tart)
For the base:
- 300g bourbon biscuits
- 90g butter
For the filling:
- 350g tin of ready made caramel (or homemade – see recipe here)
- 300g cream cheese
- 150ml double cream
- 80g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tbsp instant coffee (made up with 2 tbsp water)
- 115g hazelnuts, finely chopped
- 50g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Grease & line the base of a loose-bottomed 23cm tart tin
- Using a food processor, blitz the biscuits until they resemble fine breadcrumbs
- Gently melt the butter over a low a heat in small saucepan or in the microwave
- In a large bowl, combine the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter, ensuring that all of the biscuit has been coated & dampened by the butter
- Tip the biscuit mixture into the prepared tin & use the back of a spoon to press the mixture down into the bottom & up the sides of the tin
- Pour the tinned caramel over the base & use a spoon or spatula to spread it into an even layer
- To make the filling, add the cream cheese, double cream, icing sugar, vanilla & coffee to large bowl & whisk together until well combined & smooth
- Add the finely chopped hazelnut to the bowl & stir through
- Taking spoonfuls of the mixture, carefully spread this over the caramel & smooth the surface using a spatula
- Chop up the remaining hazelnuts & gently toast them in a small frying pan set over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes
- Sprinkle over the chopped roasted hazelnuts & place the tart in the fridge to chill overnight
- Remove the tart from the fridge for at least 30 minutes before releasing from its tin