Until I actually made it myself, I always thought making cheesecakes was something reserved for the advanced baker. This cheesecake is actually put together in a blender in just moments.
I made this cheesecake on my birthday this year (I always make sure I’m up to some sort of decadent experimentation or the other on my birthdays). It took me half a day to put it together, only because I started by making my own ricotta early in the morning. I’ve had strange experiences with expensive bought creams and cheeses, so I decided I’d make it myself this time around.
It really isn’t that difficult, if you’re up to it, ask and I’ll show you how to make ricotta.
If you find really fresh ricotta in the supermarket, buy a LOT of it (500g) and make a cheesecake! Also try to use free range eggs (they’re sold here as “cage free” eggs), because their yolks are always a whole lot richer and their orange-ness adds much to the colour of the cheesecake itself. Not to mention all those happy chickens roaming free, laying lovely eggs for you.
Don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on almond meal. As I’ve mentioned in the recipe, I always chop up my almonds and grind it down with the sugar (sometimes with the flour too, to keep it from clumping).
The balsamic strawberry compote’s sour sweetness complements the lemony cheesecake perfectly, but it isn’t essential that you make it. This is a super heavy cheesecake. Expect a food coma on consumption.
1/6 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
3/8 cup plain flour
1/8 cup superfine sugar
45g frozen butter, cubed
330gcream cheese, softened
1⅓ cups superfine sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ tablespoons cornflour
For the balsamic strawberry compote
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 150°C.
- I usually make my almond meal by chopping up the almonds and grinding it with the sugar into a fine powder. Don’t over-grind, because this can make the almonds give off oil and get all lumpy.
- Mix all the ingredients for the crust in a bowl and cut the butter into the flours and sugar.
- Line the base of a 8″ spring form tin with non-stick baking paper. Tip the mixture you just made into this and use the back of a spoon to flatten out and compact the base. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden, set aside.
- To make the filling, place the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, sugar, lemon rind, juice and vanilla in a blender. Combine the cornflour and water until smooth and add to the cheese mixture. Blend the mixture until smooth. Whack the jar on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Grease the sides of the cake tin with a little butter and then pour the filling over the base. I do this through a sieve to rid the mix of any air bubbles. Tap lightly to remove any air bubbles that might have smuggled themselves into the mix. Sit this is a tray of boiling hot water and slip into the oven. Make sure you line the bottom of the springform with foil to keep the water out. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and stand the cake in the oven for 1 hour, leaving the door closed. Refrigerate until cold.
- To make the strawberry compote, cook the strawberries with the sugar in a small saucepan till the juices come out. Keep mashing the strawberries with your spatula to break them down faster. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook till it starts to thicken to a decently saucy consistency. Taste and sweeten as per your tastes.
- Serve a slice of cheesecake with a little compote on the side. Or on top of it.