Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chris' Ricotta Cheesecake

Okay, so for those of you who follow me it may seem somewhat hypocritical that I am now condoning a white food, since one of the cornerstones of myfoodplans is that you NOT EAT WHITE FOODS. However, I too am a mere mortal, and as such, I sometimes need some sugar. The real basis to the myfoodplans diet is to delight in unprocessed home-cooked meals which are both flavorful and healthy. Also, you can easily substitute the sugar in this recipe with honey or agave to lessen its caloric impact. To be clear, I am not promoting the shameless consumption of sweets by recommending this recipe. I am simply suggesting that if you must eat something sweet, better it be home-made and very satisfying to your palate.
This recipe was perfected by my dear friend Chris Salter. Chris has been responsible for feeding my family some delicious fare in the past...from Garlic and Butter Soaked Bay Scallops to a Seared Tuna Salad Nicoise that I'm still dreaming about. The cheesecake Chris served at my house on Sunday night was delicate and slightly citric in flavor. I highly recommend this dessert as a light and more flavorful alternative to its dense and high calorie chubby cousin the New York style cheesecake. So here's this week's installment of myfoodplans sweet treat. Enjoy!

                                     Ricotta Cheesecake  


                                                                Photo by Kris Callen

From the May 2011 issue of Bon Appetit 
  • 2 15-oz. containers whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. salt-free matzo meal
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • special equipment

    8"-diameter springform pan with 2 1/2"-high sides

Preparation

  • Put ricotta in a large fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Drain for 30 minutes.
  • Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350°. Grease an 8" springform pan with 2 1/2"-high sides with butter. Mix 1 Tbsp. sugar and breadcrumbs in a small bowl; sprinkle over buttered pan to coat. Tap out excess crumbs.
  • Transfer ricotta to a processor. Purée for 15 seconds. Scrape down sides of processor; purée until smooth. Add cream cheese; purée until smooth. Add the remaining sugar and all other ingredients; purée, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake cheesecake until golden brown and just set, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool in pan (cake will fall slightly). Refrigerate uncovered until cool, about 3 hours. Then cover and chill overnight.
  • To serve, wrap a warm towel around pan to release cake. Remove pan sides. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges.



Note: To dress this cake up, serve with fresh raspberries  a dollop of whipped cream on the side.

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