Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blackberry Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

Lower your expectations of earth. This isn't heaven, so don't expect it to be. – Max Lucado

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and make your own.

Cheesecake + Halifax = Disappointment. I’ve had a bit of a craving over the last 3-4 months – a good piece of cheesecake. I think it was triggered by the tiramisu cheesecake we had in Moncton. Delicious.

Sadly, at least in HRM, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of cheesecake unless you want to go to a restaurant. You CAN find it there. But It seems almost all of the “buy a piece and take home” places have evaporated from the face of our fair city. Where has all the heaven gone?

If anyone can let me know where I can buy – and take home – decent cheesecake in Halifax, please let me know. Please...

Don’t even think about buying cheesecake from a grocery store. I guess if I’m going to have a good piece of cheesecake I’ll have to make it myself. Luckily I do have a few good recipes just laying around. This is one from a couple years ago, when the black berries were ripe and juicy on the canes in our back yard.

I just hit the last flush from that year. The berries were not as plentiful as they would have been at their height, but the ones that were hanging were still excellent.

I wanted to do something a little different than I usually do (freeze and make trifle at Christmas) so I dreamed this up.

I don’t want to write a whole lot of intro, as the recipe is rather long and involved. So let’s just get down to it.

The day after I made this I took it to work with me to share with my coworkers. They had been putting up with a lot from me at the time because I had been having several difficult months. In a small way I hoped that it said “thank you.” The way to a coworker’s heart is through their stomach...

By the way, you can easily make your own Ricotta (search this blog). You can also make your own cream cheese. I’ve posted recipes for both. But I made neither. I was lazy. Making the cheesecake was enough for me for one day...

Blackberry Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Blackberry Glaze
This is both batters before swirling.
Prep: 20 min  |   Cook: 1 hr 20 min  |  Serves 12
Graham crust
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
300 g whole milk ricotta, drained 
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature 
1 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon rind 
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups blackberries
2 tsp cornstarch
Blackberry glaze
1-1/2 cups blackberries
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch

Making the blackberry purée.
Make the blackberry purée for both the cheesecake and glaze by boiling the berries and straining out the seeds. Don't do them at the same time, but separately for each step.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Wrap the outside of a 9-inch spring form cheesecake pan with a layer of heavy-duty foil. This will protect the cake from amy water seepage during the hot water bath when it bakes.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan with a measuring cup. 

Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

Tamping the crust down with a measuring
cup is a good way to do it.
Beat the ricotta in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add in the lemon juice and zest. 

With the beaters running, add the eggs one at a time and mix each just until blended. Remove and reserve 1/4 of the batter. Pour the rest into the graham crust.

In a small bowl, mash the blackberries, then strain through a sieve to remove the seeds. Add the cornstarch to the resulting juice and mix well. Combine the juice with the reserved cheesecake batter and mix well. The result will be thin.

Gently swirl the two batters together and bake. This after baking.
Pour the blackberry batter on top and swirl the two batters together with a knife without mixing too much.

Anyone remember this? (It's Darcie and Kelly.)
Place the cheesecake in a baking dish large enough to hold the spring form pan with some room on all sides. Pour hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the spring form pan.

Bake in the centre of the oven until the cheesecake is set and the centre still moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 5 minutes. The cake will set up firmer as it cools. Let cool for 1 hour on a wire rack.

Pour the glaze over the cooled cheesecake and tilt it to spread evenly. You may not need all the glaze.
After the cheesecake has cooled, make the blackberry glaze. Crush the blackberries and mix with the sugar in a saucepan. Mash and cook until the juice is extracted and the sugar is dissolved. Strain out the seeds and pulp.

Pour the strained liquid back into the (washed) saucepan. Add the lemon. In a little dish mix the 2 tsp of cornstarch with 2 tsp of the juice. Pour back into the liquid and mix well. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Cool slightly then pour over the cheesecake.

This cheesecake is not too sweet with hints of lemon and berry flavours.
Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least overnight. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.


Feel free to comment. I'll always try to respond. If you like this post, feel free to share it. All I ask is that you credit me and share a link back to the original.

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