Tony Beales, managing director of award-winning event caterers Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa, shares his autumnal dream dessert – guaranteed to impress your dinner party guests!

Although the weather remains warm(ish), be under no illusion – summer is “officially” over! But don’t despair – on the contrary, the autumn months offer us some of the most sensational produce, available right here on our Dorset doorstep.

Some of my personal autumnal favourites include New Forest Mushrooms, which our chefs serve as a duet of Mushrooms on toast with a cep velouté and a truffle foam.

Damsons (or damson plums as some call them) are right in season in the autumn months, and blended with port, they make the perfect accompaniment for our “Duet of Duck” – a confit leg and carved duck breast with savoy cabbage, creamed potatoes and roast shallots.

However, it is in desserts that you can really have some fun with some of autumn’s finest. Take the humble blackberry (picked less than 10 miles from our venue, The Italian Villa!). We’ve created a divine deconstructed blackberry cheesecake, which we serve with loads of different textures of blackberry.

In fact, we’ve plated up this delicious dessert with blackberry jelly, blackberry coulis, blackberry gel and fresh blackberries – and you can try recreate this at home to impress at your next dinner party (see the full recipe on the adjacent page and watch the video recipe on our website). Of course if you’d prefer us to come and do it for you, we’re always happy to oblige!

Wishing you a mellow autumn, full of good fun and of course, good food!

Deconstructed blackberry cheesecake with textures of blackberries

Serves 4 people

  • 350g full fat cream cheese
  • 150ml double cream
  • Icing sugar to taste
  • Fresh blackberries
  • Mint to decorate
  • Blackberry jelly (optional)
  • Approx. 100g Castor sugar

For shortbread crumb:

  • 90g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 65g unsalted butter
  • 65g castor sugar (plus extra to finish)

Method for Shortbread base:

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth then stir in the flour. As you are making a crumb for the base, you can simply press the mix together approximately 1cm high and cook the without rolling out. Cook until golden then sprinkle over castor sugar whilst still hot. Leave to cool before crushing together (we use a food processor).

Method for Cheesecake:

Start by making a coulis by bringing the washed fresh blackberries to the boil with the castor sugar. The amount of sugar required will depend on how sour the blackberries are. Start by adding a little sugar and then add more if necessary.

No need to add any water at this stage. Once boiled, liquidise the coulis and then pass through a fine sieve and leave to cool. Add some water if the coulis is too thick. This will be used both inside the cheesecake mix and for decoration on the plate.

Semi whip the double cream and set aside. Beat the cream cheese with some icing sugar; again don’t add to much as the coulis will sweeten up the mix. Then fold in some of the coulis and the semi-whipped cream and mix gently until smooth. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking. Set the cheesecake mix in drainpipe moulds (which you can make yourselves).

You will need to line the moulds with a plastic coating to stop the mix sticking to the moulds. Keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set before serving.

Plating up:

As you can see from the photo we use blackberry jelly, blackberry coulis, blackberry gel and fresh blackberries to decorate this dish. Of course you don’t need to go this far with the detail so decorate with whatever you have the time to make.

Simply spoon the shortbread crumb onto the plate and place the cheesecake on top, then decorate with blackberry coulis, fresh blackberries and fresh mint (at the very least…!)