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Sweet summer treats

Watermelon and Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients
2 cups cubed watermelon, divided
1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ cup sugar

For the biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp heavy cream

For the whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp sugar

Method

In a food processor, combine one cup of the watermelon and sugar. Pulse until smooth and transfer to a large bowl. Add the quartered strawberries and remaining one cup cubed watermelon, toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes and up to two hours.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 230°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and one tablespoon of the sugar together. Add one-and-a-half cups of the cream and stir just until the dough comes together. (It will be ragged at first but will smooth out as the dough is kneaded.)

Turn dough on to a lightly-floured surface and gently knead until the dough is mostly smooth. Pat into a 2cm-thick round.

Using a circular biscuit cutter or pairing knife cut out three or four rounds in 8cm-10cm circles and place them on your prepared baking sheet. Bring the scraps together and pat out to make more biscuits. Repeat until all the dough is used. You should end up with six biscuits.

Brush the top of the biscuits with the reserved heavy cream and sprinkle with the reserved sugar. Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

While the biscuits bake, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the whipping cream and vanilla. Beat at medium high speed until soft peaks form, then, with the mixer running, slowly add the sugar until the soft peaks become slightly firmer.

To assemble the shortcakes, cut the biscuits in half. Place the bottom half on a plate and top it with whipped cream, followed by a spoonful of the strawberry-watermelon mixture. Cover with the top half of the biscuit and top with one last scoop of cream and strawberry-watermelon mixture. Serve immediately.

Watermelon Cheesecake

Ingredients
½ vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 ½ cups watermelon juice
1 cup sugar
½ cup cranberry juice
2 tbsp orange liqueur

For the crusty bottom
1 cup pecans
½ cup plain biscuits, crumbled
½ cup ginger snaps
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake mixture
4 (240g) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp watermelon syrup*
8 oz white chocolate (grated)
1 cup chopped watermelon (water extracted on kitchen towel)
1 cup fresh raspberries

Method

For the watermelon syrup, scrape seeds from the vanilla bean into both juices in a heavy saucepan; add the vanilla bean and sugar. Bring up to a boil over medium to high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then boil until reduced to about 1 ¼ cups, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the bean and stir in the orange liqueur. Let cool before using.

For the crusty bottom, place the first three ingredients in a food processor. Process until fine and add butter – blending until all combined. Press into the bottom of a 25cm spring form pan. Preheat oven to 180°C.

For the cheesecake mixture, beat the cream cheese in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add  the sugar. Add one egg yolk at a time while operating the mixer on low speed and scraping bowl after each one is added. Add the flour and watermelon syrup until combined. Then add the grated chocolate. Place the raspberries and chopped watermelon over the crust and pour the cheesecake mixture over the watermelon and raspberries.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 45-55 minutes. Remember the cake is still cooking when it comes out of the oven. Let cool for several hours, then refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Recipes courtesy of Watermelon.org

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