Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ricotta Cheesecake-Italian Style

This is a fabulously easy recipe that  doesn't require a pastry or biscuit crust - it sort of makes one itself!  I use ricotta that I have either home made, or you can but in bulk at a very reasonable price - so it's a very economical dessert that is great with all kinds of summer fruit, and a real winner for holiday picnics and Christmas lunches.

It's a traditional recipe in the Italian repertoire, but you will find variations on this theme all over the Mediterranean from Sicily to San Sebastian to Santorini and Sardinia.  I had a variation on this for my birthday on the Greek Island of Skopelos in the wonderful Adrina Hotel - made with the local curd cheese - myzithra and decorated with callendula petals (now where was I?)

Ingredients
750 g ricotta
2 tbs Greek style yoghurt
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
good pinch salt
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs

Optional extras 1/3 cup sultanas that have been soaked in orange liqueur.
Flaked almonds, toasted to decorate

Method
1.  Preheat oven to 150oC
2.  Grease 23 cm springform pan and cover the bottom with non-stick baking paper (how on earth did we manage before this stuff was invented?).
3.  Lightly grease the base and sides of the pan with butter and roughly coat with a spoonful of flour - this helps to make the crust.  This is not an exact science and rough is fine!
4.  Cream ricotta in food processor until smooth.
5.  Add yoghurt, sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, citrus zest and eggs and 'whaz' (I think I've been watching too much Jamie Oliver?) until smooth - about 30 seconds.
6.  At this point you can fold in the alcohol soaked sultanas - this makes more of an 'adult' dessert. and decorate the top with toasted almond flakes - both optional.
7.  Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for about an hour.  The top should be lightly golden and cake firm to touch.

This cake will normally rise quite a bit and then sink and crack - get ready for the rustic look!  Great with poached or fresh summer fruit and a little extra cream.  This has to be one of the easiest and yummiest cakes to make - enjoy.
Adrina (dreamer!) Hotel, Skopelos, Greece. Most fabulous place and great food in their restaurant.

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