99s, strawberries and a pineapple cheesecake


SUNSHINE ON A PLATE Satisfy a sweet tooth with homemade pineapple cheesecake.

The Cabots keep the summer going after a mini-break in Mulranny

The Cabots

It’s delightful to see all the holidaymakers coming back to Mayo. Everything is coming alive. The Staycationers are happy to have a break at last, a slight return to normality. They are brightly dressed, radiant and enjoying their outside pints and lunches.
I spoke to one extended family who rented a house in Newport. They travelled the Greenway, shopped in Westport, went on a ‘booze cruise’ on their host’s boat. “It’s been amazing,” said the granddad. “We’re going back to the past. We’ve had the best time just walking in our bare feet on the beach, eating the best 99s I’ve ever had in the Costcutter in Mulranny!”
We joined their ranks and went for a holiday to Mulranny ourselves, just 25km down the road. Three nights in the Mulranny Park Hotel. We are super lucky. The room (just beautiful)  had a massive Victorian bay window over looking the strand.  
We swam in the pool every day. Cooked no meals. Were treated like friends by the very lovely staff. Fished for crabs off the causeway bridge. Many thanks to Emmy Minish for telling us how to do this! Instructions: get a flat stone smaller than your hand, securely tie a rasher onto it with string, dangle string over the bridge into the water and wait for the stampede. Have a bucket of sea water ready for your crabs. (Note: the crabs LOVED the bacon and all were returned to the sea.)

Strawberry fields
After three days away we had high hopes for the strawberries growing in our garden, a big harvest ahead of us. My kids have a serious and expensive strawberry habit, and I was hoping to grow our own to minimise costs. The weather hasn’t been with us and growth is slow.
There was talk about making a strawberry cheesecake, a favourite in this house, and we all had a cheesecake craving. We returned and there was a medium-ish bumper crop.
I asked the children to pick the strawberries for the cheesecake. Total waste of time. They scoffed them immediately. So I gave up and went to the shop, and we went for a summery pineapple cheesecake instead. And here it is.

Pineapple cheesecake
What you need

  • 150g crushed digestive biscuits
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 125g butter
  • 500g softened cream cheese
  • One can of 395g sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 gelatine leaves
  • 2 egg whites
  • 500g thinly sliced pineapple cut into 3cm pieces
  • 330g golden caster sugar
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 250ml pineapple juice.

What you do
Preheat your oven to 160°C. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin and line it with baking parchment. For the base, whizz the biscuits, sugar and cardamom in a food processor until finely ground. Add the butter and combine.
Alternatively, place the dry ingredients in a plastic bag, bash with a rolling pin, then place in a bowl and mix with the butter in a bowl.
Put the mixture in your baking tin and press it firmly into place. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden, then allow to cool.
For the filling, place the cream cheese, condensed milk and lemon zest into a bowl and whisk lightly with an electric mix (or by hand) until well combined.
Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for around five minutes to soften. Pour into the cream cheese/milk mixture and beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gently fold the whites through the cream cheese/milk mix. Pour the lot over the base, and chill in the fridge for approximately three hours or until it is sufficiently set.
To make a glaze, put the pineapple, caster sugar, lemon juice and half the pineapple juice into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer – without stirring – for at least 20 minutes or until golden.
Stir in the rest of the pineapple juice and bring to the boil for around 20 seconds. Allow to cool to room temperature. Move the cooled cheesecake onto a plate and slowly pour the glaze over the surface. Et voilà!

— Sandra

The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.