Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake

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Let’s talk cheesecake. There are two sorts, the no-bake refrigerator cheesecake that I used to be slightly adverse to (because of the gelatine… but I’m much better now, thank you), and the baked cheesecake, which is this golden sun of a cake, custardy and wobbly from the oven, firming up into dense creaminess in the fridge. However, I don’t bake cheesecakes very often, mainly because they can be a tad too cloying and rich… With the exception of the meringue-based Japanese cheesecake, which I’ve been trying to perfect… and this.

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The first time I had a ricotta cheesecake, it was from a quaint bakery along one of the narrow, cobbled streets of Venice. Feeling a bit hesitant and mostly overwhelmed by the array of sweets and pastries in the display (so many! They all look so good! HOW DO I EVEN….), I asked the friendly baker for a recommendation.

“This. This is torta di ricotta. Try it, it’s very good.”

I gratefully accepted the rectangular slice; it looked like a regular baked cheesecake, studded with rum-soaked sultanas, and then I took a bite. And another. And another. And another. And I ordered another slice.

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As you can guess, it was pretty dang good!! It was creamy, but not too rich, sweet in the mildest way, and so fresh and totally light on the palate. I dream about it every now and then, but it seems like my memory is a bit rusty because that was two years ago, and I’ve only just baked my first ricotta cheesecake! We had K’s family over in London for dinner one night, and after a pulled-pork-roasties-coleslaw do, this cheesecake ended everything on a fresh, sweet, note. I’ve chosen to use strawberries because this season’s strawberries are too beautiful, but I can imagine it’ll go down a treat plain, or with rum-soaked sultanas. Family and good food make the best summer nights!

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A little note before starting:

It’s the first time I’ve used ricotta in… well, ever. I’ve never used it before, but I think it’s a beautiful, mild cheese. It is wet though, and that means sogginess. I admit the gingersnap base on this cake was a bit too wet, so I’ve tweaked the recipe a little to incorporate a longer baking time at a higher temperature for the crust, as well as an egg wash coat to ‘waterproof’ the base. I believe draining the ricotta overnight in the fridge would also help, so I’m definitely doing that the next time! Also, this is not pure ricotta cheesecake… There is still a percentage of cream cheese to maintain a creamier texture, as ricotta can get grainy.

Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake

Makes 1 standard loaf

Base:

  • 40g Melted Butter
  • 7 Ginger Snaps

Filling:

  • 250g Drained Ricotta
  • 150g Cream Cheese
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 130g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla paste
  • 1 Tbs Cornflour+1 Tbs Water
  • 5-7 strawberries, halved
  • More strawberries, to serve

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1. Drain the ricotta overnight in the fridge in a cheesecloth on a sieve. You want the ricotta as dry as possible.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C

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3. Crush ginger snaps and mix with the melted butter. Press into the base of a lined loaf tin and bake for 10 minutes.

4. Brush the baked base with a thin coat of beaten egg. This prevents the base from becoming too soggy. bake for a further 3 minutes. Remove the tin to let cool completely and turn the temperature down to 150°C.

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4. Whisk ricotta and cream cheese till creamy. Add the sugar and mix completely.

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5. Add the rest of the beaten egg and vanilla, and whisk till smooth.

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6. Dissolve the cornflour in the water to form a slurry and add to the mixture. Mix completely.

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7. Arrange the strawberry halves on top of the pre-baked base and pour the cheese mixture over.

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8. Bake in a shallow water bath for 55 mins-1 hr, until the top is light golden but the middle still has a slight wobble.

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9. Turn of the heat, and let the cake sit in the oven with the door closed to slowly cool (about 45 mins, or a hour). Sharp changes in temperature can cause the cake to sink (gasp! no!)

10. Refrigerate overnight, or, if you’re in a rush like myself, stick it into the freezer for about 2 hours. But don’t leave it in there for too long, lest you end up with a frozen block!

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HAPPY SUMMER!

x, W

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8 responses to “Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake

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