Learning to make caster sugar for Hay Hay It’s Donna Day!
Recently, Mardi of eat. live. travel. write. invited me to participate in an event called Hay Hay It’s Donna Day! From what I understand, Donna Hay is something of a Canadian* Martha Stewart, and some lovely food bloggers have joined together to create recipes of hers and celebrate her work.
While I no longer consider myself a recipe blogger, having let my kitchen witch blog fall by the wayside lately, I couldn’t resist Mardi’s offer. After all, it was an honor to be included by Mardi in the first place. Even more importantly, though, was the fact that this recipe is dead simple. I mean, I had everything I needed in the fridge or pantry already, it didn’t require any cooking or baking and it promised to be delicious. So, I decided to jump in.
While I just claimed to have everything I needed in my general cooking supplies, the recipe calls for caster sugar and the truth is I don’t stock caster sugar in my pantry. Caster sugar is granulated sugar that is superfine in texture. It is not powdered sugar, however, as powdered sugar is powdered (hence the name) not granulated and has cornstarch added to it. Caster sugar is something between regular granulated sugar and powdered sugar. It is suitable for cold recipes, where you don’t want the texture of the grains of sugar to be pronounced. With cold recipes, since there won’t be any melting or dissolving of the sugar due to heat, the super fine texture is important.
I’m here to tell you that for this recipe, and any other calling for caster sugar, you need not run out and buy a special bag of superfine sugar. You can make your own, just like I did. How? Simply place the amount of regular granulated sugar called for in your recipe into a food processor or blender. Pulse or blend for about a minute or until you feel that the grains of sugar have been refined. Voila! You have just made yourself some caster sugar.
Other notes about this recipe:
- As Mardi pointed out in her introduction to the recipe, it works quite well with heavy (or double) cream in place of the single (light) cream. That is what I have on hand, so that is what I used.
- Cream cheese comes in 8-ounce bricks, which is 227 grams. This is 23 grams shy of the 250 grams called for in the recipe, but I used only the 8-ounce brick with great success.
- I suggest putting the cream cheese out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before making your cheesecake pots, as softening will help it to incorporate more easily.
- I used melted cubes of frozen raspberry puree from last summer in place of the blackberries. About 4 cubes were enough, but I did weigh how much I put into the mixture (60 grams, saving more puree to drizzle on top). Using pureed raspberries instead of whole fruit provided an ultra-smooth texture that I knew my family would prefer.
- My entire family LOVED this. I was surprised, as my kids can be suspicious of anything new, but every ramekin was cleaned out. Even my husband–who is not a huge a fan of sweets and usually defers on dessert right after dinner– was enamored of the Raspberry Cheesecake Pots. I will be making it again this week!
Thank you, Mardi, for including me and introducing my family to Donna Hay and this luscious, wonderful summer dessert.
*Mardi has informed me that Donna Hay is actually Australian! Shows what I know. 😀
Donna Hay’s Blackberry Cheesecake Pots
• 250g cream cheese
• ¼ cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
• ¼ cup (60ml) pouring (single) cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 120g fresh blackberries
• 8 biscotti, to serve
Process the cream cheese, sugar, cream and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Add half the blackberries and process until just crushed. Spoon into 4 x ½ cup-capacity (125ml) dishes and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Serve with the biscotti and the remaining blackberries. Serves 4.
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