*THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATS GISELE!*
I used to make cheesecakes all the time. It was kind of my thing.
This was back in the eighties, when I was a teenager who a) idolized Canadian Living magazine and b) wanted to win the heart of a certain acid wash jeans-wearing boy with Adam Clayton glasses who thought cheesecake was the height of gourmet and requested the New York-style one I had learned to make (from Canadian Living) for every birthday. But the neighbour in the duplex he lived in with his parents – an older German lady – often made a deep cheesecake with a dry, almost crumbly texture that he was enamoured with, and so I set about figuring out how to make one.
Which is what good girlfriends do, right?
Not able to perfectly replicate it, I eventually moved on to a dense, silky chocolate-mocha cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crumb crust that I made for about ten years before my interest in cheesecake waned – making it that is, not eating it. And yet I have somehow amassed a collection of dozens of springform pan sides and bottoms, approximately two of which actually align with each other.
A recent tub of ricotta brought back memories of that German-style cheesecake, and I thought I’d meet it halfway – not all dry and crumbly, but a little more rustic than the usual rich and creamy.
And because my spontaneous decision to bake a cheesecake came about approximately twenty minutes before I had to go pick up W from school, I decided to do the whole thing in the food processor – pulse gingersnaps into dust, add melted butter to turn them into wet sand that can be pressed into the bottom of the one springform pan I could find, then whiz the ricotta-cream cheese-honey-lemon-eggs into a perfectly smooth filling that required only pouring and baking. Almost instant, this. Which is not generally what I think of when I consider baking a cheesecake from scratch.
Making a cheesecake kind of seems like a bigger deal than it actually is. Look! No biggie.
Also? Once baked, my cheesecake will lie in wait in the fridge for a party on Saturday, all ready to go, no decorating required save for a handful of berries. Yay cheesecake!
I know – not everyone owns a food processor. So before we get to the recipe, to make up for being MIA lately I’ve got a fancy schmancy new one to give away! One of you will have a KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor with ExactSlice™ System (valued at $299.99!) delivered to your door (sorry, Canadian residents only) for your processing pleasure. This one is particularly great for big chopped salads and slaws – but it makes a perfectly smooth cheesecake too – even when you only have 20 minutes to get it into the oven. (Read more about my experience with this particular machine over here.)
To enter, leave a comment. Say anything! I’ll do a random draw on Friday.
THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! CONGRATULATIONS GISELE!!
Lemon & Honey Ricotta Cheesecake
Adapted from Giada.
2 rows (about 1 dozen) small gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 475 g tub ricotta cheese
2 8 oz (250 g) pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
grated zest of a lemon or orange
4 large eggs
fresh berries, for topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cookies into crumbs – you should have about 1 1/2 cups. Add the butter and pulse until well blended. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and bake for 12 minutes, until pale golden.
Put the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, honey and lemon zest into the bowl of the food processor – no need to wash it out – and pulse until well blended and smooth. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust and bake for 1 hour, until set but still slightly jiggly in the middle. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate until cold, which should take a few hours. (Can be made up to a few days ahead.)
Serve in wedges, topped with berries. Serves 8.