Post in association with Metis®
Imagine if you will that a plum and an apricot go on a date.
They get on well as they have a lot in common – they both like classic crime fiction, they love to travel, and they both have a stone in their middle, that sort of thing. One date leads to another. On the second date they crank it up a notch and do an activity – segway maybe. Or pottery painting.
Time passes, stuff happens, and they have a baby. They call it Metis®.
Oh how I wish that’s how it happened!
It’s not though. It’s actually to do with bees. (Not my own Bee.)
Currently sold at Tesco, Metis® is a unique new fruit which is a natural hybrid of a plum with a little bit of apricot, created by natural cross-pollination by bees between selected apricot pollen and plum blooms. It’s just as juicy as a traditional plum, but easier to eat, with a crisp skin and a slightly firmer flesh. This makes them brilliant for lunchboxes, as they travel very well. They’re available for a limited season, between May and November.
I have to say that normally I’m not a massive plum fan. I find it a bit hard to get the ripeness right and find them a little bit sour sometimes. The Metis® though is genuinely lovely. It’s really sweet and has a depth of flavour that I’ve not found in a plum before. Yum yum yum.
Their are four different fruits in the Metis® family. Each of them has its own distinct characteristics, just as I like to imagine the children of our original plum/apricot dating couple would.
Oxy has a lovely deep colour and crunchy bite, and is rich in antioxidants. Tonic has a fabulously soft, juicy flavour. Safari is a tempting combination of striking patterned skin and a sweet flavour, and Aroma, as you might guess from the name, is known for its strong, delicious smell. (The top picture is the Safari – isn’t it beautiful?)
The Metis® fruit people challenged me to create a Metis® inspired recipe that would show off the fruit’s sweet flavour and bold colour, so I had a bash at some baked cheesecake squares. I used Metis® Oxy in this recipe as they have such a lovely, vibrant coloured flesh.
How to make Metis® and ginger baked cheesecake swirls
To make your own Metis® and ginger baked cheesecake swirls you will need:
- 200g of ginger nuts
- 100g of unsalted butter
- 3 Metis® Oxy (you can buy a punnet of 4 for £2 in Tesco, so that’s one leftover for a snack)
- 50g of caster sugar
- 2 tubs of soft cheese (the regular ones that are about 180g each)
- 100g soured cream
- 100g icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 lemon
The method might sound a little bit complicated but I promise it isn’t.
First up, preheat the oven to around 160-170 degrees centigrade and grease a baking tin. I used that one calorie cooking spray. Smash up the ginger nuts or whazz them up in a blender. Melt the butter and mix in the biscuit crumbs. Press the mixture down into the bottom of the tin and bake for around 15 minutes.
(If you’re not a fan of ginger biscuits you could use digestives instead.)
Halve the Metis®, take out the stones, and chop the halves into quarters. You can leave on the skins. Pop the pieces into a saucepan with the caster sugar and simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring often. Puree the Metis® mixture with a spoonful of water and a spoonful of lemon juice. I used a Nutribullet to do this as it blends the skins up well too. The skins help to give the puree a vibrant colour.
Take out your biscuit base, leave it to cool, and turn the oven down to around 150.
Now to make the creamy cheese filling.
In a bowl, using an electric whisk, blend together the cream cheese and soured cream. Add the icing sugar and vanilla powder and blend a bit more. Finally, blend in your two eggs. Pour this on top of your cooled biscuit base and smooth down the top.
Next you have to use your Metis® puree to create the marble effect. This is easier than it looks, so don’t be scared. Blob the puree all over the top of the cheese mixture and then use a skewer to make swirly patterns. Stop before it just turns into a big pink mess.
Put the cheesecake back into the oven and this time bake for about 25 minutes or until the topping is set. Leave to cool and then pop it into the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up before cutting it into squares. (Or just spooning it straight into your mouth.)
Arrange the squares beautifully on some mismatched vintage china, invite round some friends, and pretend that you’ve opened a hipster cafe.
I’m sure you can think of loads of other ways to use Metis®, so pop along to your local Tesco and see if you can find some for yourself. I definitely recommend them.