My dear friend, Shari invited us to her house for dinner and I offered to make dessert.
All week, I wanted to bring a special dessert and wanted to bring one that was so “Shari”…
Luscious and sweet with a hint of rum!
I found all that in this recipe. I’m not a big fan of the traditional cheesecake made with cream cheese. To me, it’s cream cheese with sugar in it. This recipe infuses the flavors of lemon zest and rum with the light creaminess of ricotta cheese.
And it’s beautiful – like my friend Shari.
So let’s begin…
Start with a crumb crust in a spring form pan – you can use vanilla wafers or graham cracker crumbs. This time I used crushed Italian Amaretto cookies which added a nice almond crunch to the cake.
The recipe calls for 2 lbs. of ricotta cheese. I suggest going to your local Italian grocery if it’s convenient and get the good stuff. If not, make sure the ricotta cheese is whole fat and not reduced fat. Don’t skimp on this one!
Drain the ricotta cheese overnight in a sieve lined with paper towels or cheesecloth to remove any excess water. Place in the refrigerator and make sure to cover with saran wrap.
Cream the ricotta cheese until smooth in a food processor.
Add egg yolks, lemon zest, sugar, flour, vanilla, salt – and RUM! – to the creamed ricotta cheese.
Place ricotta cheese mixture in a large bowl.
Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold into the cream cheese mixture.
Spoon the lusciousness over the crumb crust. (Make sure the sides of the spring form pan are brushed with melted butter!)
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 1/4 hours. Bake until firm and the middle is soft. When the time is up, shut off the heat and open the oven door leaving the cheesecake in the oven to cool gently. Once the temperature is even, bring out of the oven and cook on a wire rack for 2 hours. After 2 hours, wrap in saran and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.
Remove the sides of the spring form pan and embellish!
This one’s for you, Shari! Thanks for the fabulous meal!
Pesto Grilled Shrimp: 1/2 cup basil, packed1 small clove garlic1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted2 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan), grated2 tablespoons olive oil1 tablespoon lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)salt and pepper to taste1 pound shrimp, peeled and deviened