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Ricotta Cheesecake

Have you guys figured out that I’m a last minute kinda girl? Case in point: this recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake that’s all prettied up for the 4th of July. Although I am sure most of you have your menu planned for this weekend, I thought I might sneak in a few last minute recipes for those of you that are like me and tend wait until the last possible second to decide these sorts of things.

I really had no plan to create anything special for the 4th of July, I just sort became inspired when I started decorating this Ricotta Cheesecake earlier in the week. As I was about to mound the glazed berries in a simple pile, instead I suddenly envisioned a ripe red star with strawberries.

I printed a star shape that I found on the internet, cut it out and used it as a guide. Easy? Yes. Tedious? Kind of. Although it took some time, I think it’s definitely worth the patriotic impact.

Now let’s move on to the cheescake.

I’ve never had a Ricotta Cheesecake, so if I am being honest, I was a little apprehensive about how this recipe would unfold, especially since I tend to be a little oversensitive to food textures. Certain things like jell-o, raw oysters, and ripe bananas don’t make it past my lips. And that’s just to name a few.

This Ricotta Cheesecake is prepared pretty much like any standard cheesecake and has all the same components. Graham cracker crust? Check. Creamy filling? Check. But where things get a little different is the texture and flavor.

Comparing this to a traditional cheesecake probably isn’t the best route to take because well, it’s not traditional cheesecake. But for those of you that are curious, the texture is a bit fluffier and the taste is a bit more subtle. Overall, I liked the recipe for a change of pace, but you guys know I love cheesecake. This ricotta based recipe may never top my absolute favorite recipe for homemade cheesecake, but I’m glad that I gave it a whirl.

I hope you have a great holiday weekend full of amazing family, friends, fireworks and of course, food!

Ricotta Cheesecake

July 2nd, 2011

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

For the Crust

1 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

For the Filling

4 cups (30 oz.) Sargento® Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about one medium lemon)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup blueberry jam, heated slightly and stirred

For the Topping

1-1/2 cups fresh strawberry slices or fresh whole raspberries
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup apricot jelly, heated slightly

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and clamp on the ring.

2. Combine crust ingredients; mix well. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake crust for 7 minutes in preheated oven. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

3. While crust is cooling, prepare the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, blend together the cheese, sugar, lemon zest, half-and-half, flour, vanilla and salt. Add eggs, one at a time; blend until smooth.

4. Pour half of batter into prepared crust. Spoon half of blueberry spread randomly over batter; top with remaining batter, smooth with spatula. Spoon remaining blueberry spread randomly over batter; swirl with knife for marbled effect.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until center is just set. Turn off oven; cool in oven with door propped open 30 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely; chill 6 to 24 hours.

6. Arrange strawberries and blueberries on cooled cheesecake. Brush jelly over fruit; chill at least 30 minutes to set glaze.

Notes:

- Do not top the cheesecake with the fresh fruit until the day you are serving. The fruit will not have the same fresh appeal and will add a bit of moisture to the top of the cake.
- Feel free to substitute the blueberry jam with strawberry or raspberry.
- The apricot jam is not necessary for the fruit topping, it simply adds a little sheen to the fruit.
- Recipe adapted from Sargento Cheese Red, White and Blueberry Cheesecake.


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