Almond and Lemon ricotta Cheesecake

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This little number was a pure joy to make, as I usually steer clear of cooking too many dessert (so I can then avoid eating said dessert in one sitting….by myself) I wanted to make something that was a perfect contrast of crunchy & soft and sweet & tart…my favourite. So I decided to make a cheesecake! I spent a little while in my ‘think-tank’ and came up with this recipe for two reasons:

A: I have a tree bursting with lemons and I couldn’t resist using home-grown citrus! 

B: Amaretto is officially my favourite liquor, having recently become totally convinced that Amaretto Sours are the BEST COCKTAIL’S I have/will ever drink! (lemon juice, Amaretto, syrup, lots of ice and an egg white – please don’t even try to resist). And this cheesecake is basically a solid (more creamy) version of this drink…not kidding. That’s where the inspiration came from. 

For me a good dessert has to have layers,  defined by a  contrast of flavours and textures. So in this cheese cake I have tried to pack a punch in each delicious mouthful:

top: tart lemon juice jelly.

middle: soufflé soft ricotta filling, with lemon, amaretto and thyme.

bottom: crumbly amaretto and biscotti biscuit base, for nut crunchy goodness.

Sold?  It’s also easy to make and a total guilt free indulgence because you could argue that its majority protein, with the 4 eggs and 500g of ricotta taking up the bulk of the recipe…you could argue if you wanted to!

Buy me:
base
Almond Biscotti, 60g
Amaretto Biscuits, 60g
butter, 20g melted
filling
ricotta cheese, 500g
free-range cage-free eggs, 4separated
caster sugar, 100g
lemon, 1 juiced
lemons, 2 zest finely grated
200ml pure cream
plain flour, 1.5tbs
thyme, fresh 1tsp leaves picked off and finely chopped
Amaretto, 1 tbs
jelly
lemon, 3-4 to make 250ml of juice ‘
gelatine powder, 1 level teaspoon
1tbs lemon curd or lemon butter (optional)
caster/white sugar, 1/2- 1 1/2 cups ( depends on your level of tart…I go for 1 cup max)

Make me:

1: Preheat your oven to 180’C/160’C fan forced.

2: Blitz the biscotti and amaretto biscuits in a food processor, until it resembles a fine grain..like sand. Brush a 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tin with the melted butter. Sprinkle in the breadcrumbs to thickly coat the base of the tin.

3: Place the ricotta, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon rind and amaretto in a large bowl and using a hand-held mixer, beat the ingredients together well. Now add the cream, flour and thyme and beat until well mixed.

4: In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until strong peaks form. Then fold into the ricotta mixture 1/3 at a time. Use a gentle action to softly fold the mixture into the egg white; by lifting the ricotta mixture from the bottom and placing it onto the stiff egg-whites with a circular motion.

5: Pour mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Place in the oven for 1 hour, or until the top has become lightly coloured and a sharp knife comes out clean.

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6: When the time comes, turn the oven off, open the door and allow the cake at least 15min to cool slowly from within the oven. This will stop the cake from totally deflating and loosing it’s soufflé lightness. You can now remove from the oven and let sit while you prepare the jelly!

7: This step can be done the next day if you are baking ahead of time. I made this in the morning and didn’t get around to making the jelly until later that night, so as along as you allow 2 hours for the jelly to set, you are fine.

8: Pour all, but 1tbs, of the juice into a sauce pan and slowly warm. In a separate bowl mix the gelatine into the remaining juice until dissolved. Then add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time to the saucepan, bringing the juice to a temperature hot enough to dissolve the sugar but no hotter. Keep adding the sugar until the liquid is to your taste…I err on the tarter side of life because it makes for a fabulous contrast to the other layers, but please yourself 🙂

9: Take the juice off the heat and add the gelatine mixture, stirring continuously until well combined. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature before spooning over the baked cheesecake, then straight into the fridge to be child for 2 hours.

Serve with double cream** and a wee nip of amaretto…or go the whole hog and make yourself a amaretto sour! I would ❤

**I used Gippsland Double cream because it’s great quality and is 100% Aussie dairy 🙂 Stand by your brand if you have one, but just take a second to read the label and see whats inside xx
PS: same goes for the ricotta, I am lucky to have a great deli close by that make their own cheese, this may be extravagant for some but pay your local deli a visit just in case

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