Thursday, August 2, 2012
Week 7: Ricotta Cheesecake With Fresh Berries
In an ordinary summer, I would have made a blueberry pie last week. This, however, has not been an ordinary summer, even for a household that might not best be described as "ordinary" anyway. But we're flexible, right? Pie week has been delayed, but we did share this berry-topped cheesecake before my household temporarily separated for overnight camp and other out-of-state obligations.
This is not cheesecake in the New York sense of the word. It's short. It doesn't have two pounds of cream cheese in it. A slice won't sit in your stomach like a lead weight. It's a summer dessert, not a doorstop.
Two points of note, especially if you are considering trying out this recipe for company. According to the original recipe, the cake should stand about 2 inches high after cooling. Mine sunk more than that; it was maybe an inch tall at serving. We were happy with the texture nonetheless, but I imagine the cheesecake would be even lighter had it not collapsed so thoroughly. Also, we had trouble getting clean slices onto serving plates, but that's purely an aesthetic issue.
Ricotta Cheesecake With Fresh Berries
(Adapted from an Ellie Krieger recipe. Credit to Caboodle for the berry design. It would not be wrong to add a drizzle of chocolate to your serving plate.)
Ingredient note: Neufchatel (the American kind, anyway) is a lower-fat cream cheese; look for the Philadelphia brand in bricks next to the regular cream cheese. Do not substitute a low-fat cream cheese that comes in a tub, as the water content is different.
For the cheesecake:
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
For the topping:
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam (or another flavor of your choice)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Fresh blueberries and raspberries, about 6 ounces each, or other fruit
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a food processor, process the ricotta cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well blended, scraping the sides of the food processor once or twice and making sure no ingredients remain unmixed on the bottom. Pour into the springform pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes or until the center is just set.
Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours. When the cake has been thoroughly chilled, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan.
Bring the jam and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until smooth. Brush the jam mixture over the top of the cheesecake and place berries on top. Store the cake in the refrigerator.