At the risk of causing an insurgent uprising here at RFTL, I am going to make a confession: I am just not that into cheesecake. I ask that you please postpone setting your vehicle ablaze and fashioning war paint from eyeliner until after I explain myself.
Cheesecake is pretty nice and creamy, but I feel the same toward boring desserts as I do toward boring people. Both lack depth and have a slim-to-none chance of getting anywhere near my mouth.
But this cheesecake is so very different. It dances with surprising and delightful flavor combinations. This is the cheesecake you bring home to mom.
The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my all-time favorite desserts: Ellie Krieger’s Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream. Ellie Krieger is a goddess of healthful and delicious food. So I thought to myself… how can I make this recipe more fattening? Turn it into a cheesecake.
The base recipe that I used is Giada’s Honey Ricotta Cheesecake. I like how she takes credit for the recipe that was clearly written by someone else, as that woman has never held down a bite of cheesecake in her life.
I made my own strawberry concoction to swirl in, as well as a balsamic drizzle that I macerated some of the strawberries in. The swirling is a particularly amusing part of the cheesecake process. You start with a cake that looks infected with leprosy and end with a design worthy of gracing a shower curtain. At least.
And now I shall put you out of your misery, and give you the recipe for what I believe might be the only cheesecake worth making.
- 8 oz biscotti
- 3/4 stick melted butter
- 1 (12-ounce) container fresh whole milk ricotta, drained
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup orange blossom or clover honey
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 4 large eggs
- 1 package fresh strawberries
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 c sugar
- Fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the biscotti in afood processor. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
Blend the ricotta in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Blend in the honey and orange zest. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.
To make the strawberry swirl, remove the stems of the strawberries and puree them. Add orange juice and sugar and simmer over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Spoon the strawberry mixture on top and swirl with a toothpick. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
To make the drizzle, heat the vinegar and sugar over medium-low until mixture thickens slightly. Soak some sliced strawberries in this for topping.
Transfer the cake to a rack and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Garnish with fresh basil, strawberries, and drizzle. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.
And in case you were wondering… this particular slice was eaten. Partially by my dog. That should teach me to conduct photo shoots on the floor.
That was delicious! …now I want more.