Saturday, November 12, 2005

Polish Festival Cheesecake

I had some leftover ricotta cheese from another project. Ordinarily, I would make one of my three favorite ricotta cheesecakes. (White Chocolate and Chestnut, Orange and Chocolate, Chocolate and Pecan.) But having posted those recipes already, I decided to look for another recipe in the Book of Cheesecakes by Steven Wheeler, and settled for this one after a short search. Instead of the golden raisins in the recipe, I substituted a combination of dried apricots, cranberries and currants. I also threw in some orange zest and nuts. Some of the strips of pastry that I placed on top for decoration drowned in the cheesecake batter; but otherwise, this turned out to be a good-looking, light and refreshing cheesecake --although no competition for my favorite trio mentioned above.

  • Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 lb ricotta (Mine was a little less, so I reduced everything accordingly)
  • 2/3 c whipping cream
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbs golden raisins (I substituted with mixed dried fruit)
  • 1 tbs orange flower water (I used less)
  • Orange zest and/or nuts (if desired)
Preheat your oven to 400F. Grease a 9" springform pan. Roll Sweet Shortcrust pastry to 1/8" thickness. Line greased pan with dough. Set aside. For filling, beat ricotta, whipping cream, sugar, flour and eggs in a bowl. Stir in dried fruit, zest, nuts and orange flower water. Spoon filling into prepared dough. Decorate with strips of leftover pastry in a crisscross pattern. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 350F and bake for 45 minutes more or until set. (I waited for pastry to brown, but that did not happen.) Cool before serving. You can brush the top with a glaze and decorate the cheesecake with candied orange peel and/or sliced almonds if desired.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 2 tbs powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Sift flour and powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the chunks of butter and cut them into flour with a pastry blender. (Alternatively, you can use the food processor for this.) Add egg and vanilla. Stir with a fork until dough forms. Shape it into a log, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour before you roll. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen up to 6 weeks.