I spent hours as a child cooking with my grandmother in the kitchen at Chawton House, baking cakes and scones for the tea room we ran from the Great Hall at the front of the house. I have lots of favourite recipes from Chawton – this one is from the cookbook of Martha Lloyd, who lived with Jane Austen in Chawton Cottage.
Knowing that Jane would have eaten them too makes Martha’s Orange Almond Cheesecakes particularly special and below is my version of the recipe. The tarts are not cheesecakes as we would know them today - there is no cheese in them at all!
Bake your own and join our Jane Austen Birthday Tea live on Facebook on Saturday 16th December at 3pm EST at Austen Heritage @CarolineJaneKnight. I will be joined by award winning audiobook narrator, Alison Larkin, to share a cup of tea, celebrate Jane’s birthday and launch the audiobook of Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage.
Post a photo of your Martha's Cheesecakes HERE to WIN one of three Austen Heritage Gift Bags: a signed copy of Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage, by Caroline Jane Knight, and a free download of an audiobook of your choice by award-winning narrator Alison Larkin.
Over celebratory tea with people around the world, book teasers will be shared, backstories revealed, and chances to win an Austen Heritage gift basket full of 'money can’t buy' goodies from Jane’s family. Stay tuned to @AustenHeritage and @AlisonLarkinPresents for tips, recipes, and announcements leading up to the event!
You will also be able to win an exclusive Austen Heritage Gift Box full of Jane Austen goodies and other prizes. Click here for more details and to sign up for the event.
Martha’s Orange Almond Cheesecakes - makes 12 - 15
2 large oranges
4oz/110g/cup caster (superfine) sugar
4oz/110g ground almonds
2 whole eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites
2oz/50g butter, melted and cooled
1lb/450g shortcrust pastry
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5.
1. Roll out the shortcrust pastry about 2mm thick - I prefer my the pastry quite thin, but you could make it 3mm if you prefer. Cut it into rounds to fit tartlet tins (patty pans) about 2½ inches/6.5cm across and ¾ inch/2cm deep. Line the tins with pastry, pricking the bottom of each.
2. Melt the butter in a pan and pour into a bowl to cool
3. Cut the peel from one orange with a sharp knife, taking care to remove any white pith. Finely grate the zest (skin) from the other orange.
4. Gently simmer the orange peel from the first orange in water until soft, drain and pulverise with some of the sugar. Put into a bowl and add the rest of the sugar, ground almonds and orange zest from the second orange. Mix well.
5. Once the orange almond mixture is well mixed, add the cooled melted butter and 2 beaten eggs.
6. Whisk 2 eggs whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks. Fold a couple of spoonfuls into the orange almond mixtures, before folding in the rest. To make light cheesecakes, it is important to gently fold the mixture to retain the air, rather than stir.
7. Fill the pastry cases with the orange almond mixture, about 4/5 to the top (the filling needs room to expand). Bake for 20 minutes.
8. Remove cheesecakes from the patty pans and cool on a wire rack, dust generously with icing sugar and serve.
You can also find a version of this recipe on page 123 of The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black and Deirdre Le Faye.
Post a photo of your Martha's Cheesecakes HERE to WIN one of three Austen Heritage Gift Bags: a paperback copy of Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage, by Caroline Jane Knight, and a free download of an audiobook of your choice by award-winning narrator Alison Larkin. I will chose the winners - the three entries I would most like to taste - at our Jane Austen Birthday Tea on 16th December at 3pm EST.
I know you will enjoy Martha's Orange Almond Cheesecakes as much as I do and look forward to sharing them with you on Jane's birthday. Don't forget to sign up for our Jane Austen Birthday Tea here.
Caroline Jane Knight is Jane Austen's fifth great-niece and the last Austen to grow up at Chawton House on the ancestral estate where Jane herself lived and wrote. You can read more about Caroline's extraordinary childhood in JANE & ME: MY AUSTEN HERITAGE, available in PAPERBACK, HARDBACK, E-BOOK and AUDIOBOOK at all good online retailers. 15% of any profits made are donated to the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation
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