I have been meaning to make this cake for a while. No reason except that I am fascinated with the idea of using ricotta in a cheesecake. I have used ricotta to make pasta dishes and I found that I really like the taste as it is milder than most cheeses, so when I came across this recipe, I was more than willing to give it a try.
But, as usual, there had been so many things to be done. I bought two tubs of ricotta when I saw that they were on sale and they have been taking up a corner of my fridge for uhm, quite some time. I have finally reached the stage where I had to either use them, or chuck them into the garbage bin. As it is really against my principle to throw out food, I trotted out to buy strawberries.
It is possible to make cheesecakes even if you do not have a food processor, but of course, life is much easier if you have one.
I began by making the base for the cheesecake. I broke up pieces of digestive biscuits and placed them in my food processor.
Using the pulse function, I blitzed the biscuits until they became fine crumbs.
If you do not have a food processor, place the biscuits in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin.
Then I added the melted and cooled butter, and blitzed again.
The biscuit crumbs were transferred into a greased and lined Springform pan, and pressed down with the base of a flat-bottom glass.
This was placed in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
In the mean time, I placed the ricotta cheese (you may need to drain the cheese if there is a lot of water), cream cheese, strawberry jam and lemon zest into the bowl of the food processor.
Again, using the pulse button, I processed the cheeses, jam and zest until the mixture became relatively smooth.
I mixed the corn starch with water and added that to the mixture.
Then I added the eggs.
In the end, the mixture should be smooth.
The mixture was poured on top of the chilled biscuit crumbs, and the cake was baked for an hour. After an hour, turn off the oven, but leave the cake in the oven for another hour or so to allow it to continue to cook.
The cake will rise while it is in the oven, but sink again later, so do not panic.
Chill the cheesecake for a couple of hours (minimum). Once you are ready to serve the cake, place the strawberries on top of the cake.
The cheesecake by itself was already delicious, but since I had plans to bring this cake for an informal gathering at a friend’s place, I thought I would roast some strawberries to go with it.
Strawberries in Singapore ain’t cheap, But there are times when the berries go on sale. So I would buy quite a few boxes, and roast them. Once roasted, I can use them as a topping for cakes, ice-cream, yoghurt, to add on to oats or muesli for breakfasts. They are really versatile, and the berries can be kept in the fridge for about 5 days so you get a longer shelf life out of them.
All that aside, strawberries and balsamic make magic when they are placed together, and roasting serves to bring out the sweetness in the strawberries, so it is a win-win situation, whichever way you want to look at it!
To start, I washed then trimmed and sliced the strawberries into halves.
I added the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and tossed the strawberries so they were all coated.
The strawberries were placed onto a heat-proof dish in a single layer. They were then baked for about 15 minutes.
Once cooled, store them in the fridge until they are needed.
It was not easy, but I tried not to eat them all at once. I do need them to top my cheesecake (this time) after all!
Ricotta Cheesecake With Roasted Balsamic Strawberries (Serves 8-10)
Adapted from recipe by raspberricupcakes.com
For the cheesecake
250g digestive biscuits
80g butter, melted and cooled
350g cream cheese, softened
500g ricotta, drained
1 cup strawberry jam
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp water, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 165°C, grease and line the base of a 9″ round springform tin.
2. Place digestive biscuits in a food processor and pulse until they are broken down to even crumbs.
3. Add butter and pulse to combined.
4. Press into the base of your prepared tin and chill in fridge for 30 mins.
5. Place cream cheese, ricotta, strawberry jam and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.
6. Mix water and cornflour together in a separate bowl until smooth and then add the mixture and the eggs to the food processor bowl, pulse until combined.
7. Pour mixture over the chilled base and bake for an hour. The edges should be just golden and the centre might still be wobbly.
8. Do not remove cheesecake from oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed and allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for another hour. Then remove from the oven and sit in tin on a wire rack until completely cool.
For the strawberries
500g fresh strawberries
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1. Hull and halve the berries and then place in a single layer in an oven-proof dish.
2. Preheat oven to 200°C.
3. Add brown sugar to berries and toss to coat.
4. Pour over balsamic and toss again.
5. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, berries should be softened and the glaze will thicken as it cools.
6. Set aside to cool completely, then remove cheesecake from tin and top with berries before serving. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge overnight (if not serving immediately keep the strawberries separate until ready to serve).