4/23/09

cheesecake gone wrong part deux



Okay... so let's recap.

I hate ricotta, I think that was made abundantly clear in the last post. I also thought this dish was going to be the dish to change my mind about ricotta. Cheesecake, biscotti crust and candied lemons, what's not to like.

But... I found out during the middle of baking the cheesecake that ricotta cheesecake is a tricky beast and it requires lots of baking time on very low heat. Maybe not the best cheesecake to start off with. Thanks, Rebecca for your help.

Oh yeah, I didn't tell you, I never made cheesecake before. So, first I don't like ricotta and second, I have never made a cheesecake. Maybe I was setting myself up for failure. Yes and No, Katie and I didn't like the cheesecake, texture issues, but everyone else did. But I ended up throwing over half of it away soooooo, you come up with whatever conclusion you want to. I do not think it's necessarily a bad recipe but just not for me.

Ricotta Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust and Candied Lemons: Urban Italian

Candied Lemons:

3 lemons
7 cups sugar

Biscotti Crust:

18 of Mom's biscotti or store bought biscotti
3/4 sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Cheesecake:

2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 tablespoons heavy cream
zest of 2 lemons

To finish dish:

1 cup of shelled pistachios

(note: I want to interject something right here... The book never says what size tart pan to use, to drain the ricotta, or maybe add flour to thicken up the cheesecake mixture, it's quite runny. Also for all y'all that said in the last post to make sure that I blend the batter long and hard. I did... the recipe calls for only two minutes I did blended for about 12 minutes before I thought I'd have a scrambled egg, cheese, and whipped cream mixture instead of a cheesecake batter and wouldn't that be tasty!)

For candied lemons:

Put whole lemons in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will allow you to slice them extra-thin.

Meanwhile, add 3 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water in a small pot over high heat. Stir well so the sugar dissolves, and allow the mixture to come to a boil.

While the sugar boils, use a serrated knife to slice the lemons widthwise into the thinnest slices possible: 1/8 inch or less.

Add the lemon slices to the pot and reduce the heat to keep the liquids at a low simmer. Cook the lemons until they are softened but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes, so that it can be handled.

Carefully strain the mixture, discarding the liquid and reserving the lemon slices.

Add the remaining 4 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water in a small pot over high heat. Stir well so the sugar dissolves, and then allow the mixture to come to a boil.

Add lemon slices, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and continue cooking until the lemons are shiny and the syrup thickens, about 35 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and let mixture cool completely at room temperature. Place the lemon slices and the syrup in an air tight container and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Biscotti Crust:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, grind the biscotti into fine crumbs. (about 2 cups)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the biscotti crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Mix the ingredients together with your hands until everything is thoroughly incorporated and the mixture holds it's shape when pressed together.

Line a tart pan with the crust mixture, spreading it with your fingers and pressing down so the mixture forms a thin layer around the entire pan.

Bake the crust mixture until it turns golden brown and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool at room temperature.

Cheesecake:

Return the oven to 325.

Combine the ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, heavy cream, and lemon zest in a food processor with a blade attachment, and mix on medium until everything is thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.

Fill the crust completely with the cheesecake mixture. Return the tin to the oven and bake until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the cheesecake out onto a plate or a cookie rack and allow it to cool completely on the countertop. When the cheesecake is completely cool, refrigerate it for 2 hours. It will hole in the fridge up to 2 days.

When your ready to serve the cheesecake, remove the candied lemons from the fridge, if you're using them, and drain off any excess syrup. Garnish the top of the cheescake with candied slices, starting from the outside and working to the center.

Sprinkle the crushed pistachios over the top before serving.

Tasting Notes: You already know my opinion but I think if you like ricotta cheesecake or ricotta in general you'll probably like this. The baking time is tricky. It took about an hour to bake (the filling still wasn't set) I then turned off the heat and let it rest in the oven for another 30 or so minutes. I really don't know what to tell you about the timing of this dish, sorry.

Next up: A tasty melody of deliciousness.




11 comments:

SaintTigerlily said...

OK, so I like ricotta and I like ricotta cheesake a lot but the only time I tried to make it (from Shakespeare's Kitchen) it came out horrible. Tricky beast indeed.

Mayberry Magpie said...

I, too, like ricotta but I'm not bothering. I completely trust you on this one.

But . . . wonder if you would have baked it in a water bath if it would have made a difference? I always bake my cheesecake in a water bath (like creme brulee) and get great results. Of course, I had to buy the waterproof springform pan at Williams Sonoma for $40 (total rip-off), but I'm convinced the water bath pays off.

ntsc said...

Put the spring form pan in the middle of a wide piece of aluminum foil and fold it up and mold it to the body of the pan. You will get decent heat transfer and a cheap waterproof pan.

Rebecca (Foodie With Family) said...

You're welcome, Madame. And the waterbath is effective but allow me to share a short-cut, equally effective, less-prone-to-ruin-your-cake if it leaks trick. Place your oven racks REALLY close together and put a large baking pan filled with just boiled water on the rack directly below your cake. Voila!
Are you going to try again?

Grace said...

i don't like ricotta and i don't particularly like cheesecake, but i think that biscotti crust sounds downright dandy! perhaps i'll just keep it in mind for other things. things that i like, such as pie. :)

Snooty Primadona said...

Okay, I just realized that I don't have the attention span required for this recipe, lol. Of what I read, it sounds like something I'd like for someone else to make.

;-)

noble pig said...

Overall I think it sound like a bad recipe. I mean if it's missing pan size...I'm done. There is just no way for you to know.

RecipeGirl said...

What a bummer. I did make a ricotta cheesecake once that I did not enjoy. I just think cheesecakes are meant to be paired w/ cream cheese and cream cheese only!!

Anonymous said...

If the others liked it, I am surprised you had to throw ANY away. I just can't throw stuff away. Unless, it is moldy or rotting :) You WILL conquer cheesecake yet. And a good cheesecakeis heavenly.

Elizabeth said...

I've been thinking about making a ricotta cheesecake lately. I've heard they're a bit tricky, but I'm determined to overcome the challenge.

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