“WHO KNOWS HOW TO MAKE LOVE STAY? TELL LOVE YOU ARE GOING TO THE JUNIOR’S DELI ON FLATBUSH AVENUE IN BROOKLYN TO PICK UP A CHEESECAKE, AND IF LOVE STAYS, IT CAN HAVE HALF.” Tom Robbins
Ahhhhh! If only love were so easy to bribe! But would we really want it then? For me, there were two reasons for wanting to make this cheesecake. First, I saw a picture of it naked, in it’s purest form in an issue of Bon Appetit magazine. And that was good enough for me. It looked rustic, and simple and beautiful. But….for some reason, last year, I developed a mad passion for blackberries. And I wanted to add them to this delicious, creamy and crustless cheesecake. I am in love with this cheesecake! And I know it will last! At least until the last bittersweet bite has consumed me…..
So this recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine. It is the first time I’ve had a ricotta cheesecake! And I really love it. Here it is naked…..in all it’s humble glory.
A soft dusting of powdered sugar, and I am a girl, smitten.
Add the reckless abandon of plump, luscious blackberries coated in a sweet, fresh blackberry sauce, sinfully spiked with cassis…..and I am a woman in love!
I know you will fall in love with this recipe, too. The cake sinks ever so slightly in the middle, to create the most perfect little bowl, to hold the berries of your heart’s content! And if you just gotta have it…..by all means…..add some chocolate somewhere! This is a perfect blank canvas just waiting for you to add all the things that you love!
Yields: 8-10 servings
Level of Difficulty: easy
FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
- 2 (15 oz) containers of whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, cut into cubes, and at room temperature
- 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons cracker meal
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
- powdered sugar for sprinkling if desired
You will need an 8 inch springform pan or similar size pan with releasable bottom with 2 1/2 inch sides.
To release the extra liquid, place your ricotta in a large fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Let it drain for 30 minutes.
Set your rack into the lower third of your oven and preheat it to 350°F. Grease your springform pan with the softened butter. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs with 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkle this mixture into your buttered pan and tap and swirl the pan all around so the breadcrumbs coat the entire pan. Tap out any excess crumbs.
After 30 minutes, place the ricotta cheese into your food processor. Puree for about 30 seconds. Then scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to puree until smooth. Add the softened cream cheese and puree again, until blended and smooth. Add the sugar, eggs, cracker meal, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Puree again, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl, for another 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
The cheesecake will bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes; until it is golden brown and set in the middle. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. The cheesecake will fall slightly in the center (there’s that perfect bowl for your berries!) When the pan is cool enough to handle, place it in the refrigerator to cool for about 3 hours. Then cover it and chill overnight. When ready to serve, release the cake from the pan, dust with powdered sugar if desired. Slice and serve with berries.
The ricotta definitely lends a different texture to this cheesecake. But with the ricotta and cream cheese together it is still super creamy. So I didn’t feel the need for any additional whipped cream. But I’m glad I made a simple blackberry sauce to drizzle over. Here’s what I did…..
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
- 1 Tablespoon (or so!) of creme de cassis liqueur
Place the blackberries, sugar, and juice into a small saucepan. Simmer over medium high heat for about 5-10 minutes until the berries are softened. Transfer to your blender and puree. Strain the juice into a bowl and then add your cassis and chill. After straining, this really only makes a small amount, about a quarter of a cup. I tossed a drizzle of the sauce over the blackberries before putting them on the cake. And I drizzled a bit onto the cake when cut. I have just enough for the entire cake. But if you prefer more sauce, then you may wish to double the recipe.
Here…..take a bite…..