Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ricotta Cheesecake

Over the past 18 months I like to think I have perfected this cheesecake. Last night I made if for the first time without a recipe and it was fab.
Try and use 'real ricotta' for this recipe. Here I refer to the slabs you buy by the kilogram at your deli or supermarket deli. The prepackaged ricotta will suffice, but the texture is quite different and it has a host of additional ingredients to make it last a lot longer. I used to buy hot ricotta directly from the factory in Melbourne, and it would only last a couple of days, in comparison the prepackaged ricotta have very long expiry dates.
You can adapt the ingredients in the filling: if you don't like sultanas, don't use them. Same for preserved orange. My sister adds a little bit of dark cooking chocolate, but I'm not such a fan. Also, taste the filling once you've made it and add sugar etc as required.

1 quantity of shortcrust pastry made with 250gms flour, and 125 gms butter. (Refer previous recipe in blog.)
500gms fresh ricotta
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
vanilla bean (or equivalent)
2 slices preserved orange, diced
2 tablespoons brandy or desert wine
grated rind of 1 orange
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 egg beaten with a tbs milk for top pastry.

1/2 cup sultanas
small quantity of dark chocolate roughly chopped
1-2 tbs cream

  1. Butter a 22 cm spring form cake tin or square/rectangular quiche tin.
  2. Roll out pastry and line cake tin. (Reserving around a quarter for the top). Prick pastry with fork.
  3. Line pastry with baking paper and put baking beans in.
  4. Cook in 170 degree oven for 15 minutes. Take out, remove baking paper and beans and cook for 5 more minutes. Take out and cool. (This is referred to as a 'blind bake'.)
  5. Reserve any of the unused pastry for top of cheesecake.
  6. Soak preserved orange and sultanas in alcohol for around 10 minutes.
  7. Combine all the filling ingredients and lightly whisk.
  8. Pour mixture into pie shell and sprinkle top with pinenuts.
  9. Roll out remaining pastry and cut into strips.
  10. Create a lattice effect with remaining pastry and brush with egg mixture.
  11. Bake in 180 degree oven for 45 minutes. You may need to move the cake around in the oven, and watch the top for burning.
  12. Allow to cool before serving.