22 April 2011

An Easter Cheesecake ... with Blueberry Sauce


I'm making cheesecake today!


But first, aren't my daffodils just so pretty? I have waited for them for soooo long! This week the yard and flowers started their march toward Spring!


These daffodils will be gracing the Easter table 

It's been all about the breads and cookies and cakes and muffins during the winter and early spring, but Easter is here and I feel the need for a change! So I began planning our Easter dinner earlier than usual.
I made a deep purple blueberry sauce yesterday with some of last summer's frozen blueberries. A sauce that will top a light and fluffy cheesecake ... a gluten-free affair for those of you who need that type of cake.
 I have found GF gingersnaps that work very well in place of graham crackers for the bottom crust.



FYI - these cookies come in a 7-oz bag ... I used the whole bag and there was just a bit left

I have also been looking around for a lighter cheesecake filling ... the recipe I am using today has ricotta cheese and a bit of sour cream in place of some of the cream cheese. It is an 'Italian' cheesecake that was touted as exceptional on allrecipes.com. It is quite time-consuming to make, as you need to bake it, finish it in the slowly cooling oven, and then let it sit on the counter-top before finally chilling it ... all this is supposed to give one a cheesecake with no cracks in the surface ... we'll just SEE about THAT! I was drawn to the recipe because it is supposed to be a much higher and lighter version than the dense and heavy cream cheese cheesecakes that I have made in the past ... we'll just SEE about THAT, TOO!

So here goes ...today's a day for baking and making an Easter basket and eggs ... a bit of springtime fun!

A note about this recipe ... a true Italian Cheesecake is crustless, but I really like having a bottom crust and some crumbles around the outer edge of my cheesecake, so... think of the filling as Italian and the crust as American GF. The ginger crumb crust and the lemon flavors of the filling are going to be great together! A drizzle of warm blueberry sauce will make dessert decadent! Almost better than chocolate Easter bunnies!



I sprinkled more dry crumbs on the buttery crust after it was baked and dusted the inside edges of the pan too.


Italian Cheesecake
a recipe adapted from an allrecipes.com offering
Ingredients:

Filling:

2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 – 15 oz. carton of whole milk ricotta cheese
1 ½ c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. lemon juice
zest of half a lemon
3 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. potato starch
½ c. butter, melted and cooled
1 c. sour cream

Crust:
1¼ c. crushed gluten-free gingersnap cookies, plus some extra for dusting inside rim of pan
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. butter, melted

Making the Cheesecake:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 10-inch spring form pan, line the bottom with waxed paper and butter that too.

2. Make the crust by tossing the ingredients in a bowl with a fork until the butter coats all the crumbs. Press into the bottom of the spring form pan and bake for ten minutes. Remove and cool completely.

3. While the crust cools, make the filling.

4. In a deep bowl, beat the cream cheese and ricotta until smooth.

5. Add one egg at a time and continue beating until the filling is light and creamy yellow. Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice, corn and potato starches, butter and beat until smooth and there are no lumps.

6. Fold in the sour cream until incorporated.

7. Increase oven temperature to 450°. Rub the inside rim of the spring form pan with a bit more butter and dust with more cookie crumbs, line the outside with three layers of aluminum foil and set the pan on a rack or a small rimmed pan in a large roaster pan.

8. Turn the filling into the spring form and smooth the surface.



... whip the heck out of the cheese mix to make it very smooth ...

9. Place in the pre-heated oven and pour about 1 inch boiling water in the bottom of the roasting pan.

10. Bake for ten minutes at 450°F and then reduce the oven temperature to 325°. Continue baking for 1 hour. The center of the cheesecake will have a 'wiggle' about the size of silver dollar ...

11. Turn the oven off after the time has elapsed and you've checked the 'wiggle'. Keep the oven door closed. Allow the cheesecake to cool gently for another 2 -3 hours.



...pay no attention to my dirty oven; only notice the Bain Marie arrangement ... swanky, huh? ... but look, no cracks! ... amazing! ...

12. Remove and let the cheese cake sit on the counter top for a couple hours before chilling.



... still no cracks in the cheesecake after three hours of cooling ... and look at the sweet cake stand I found at the consignment store ... perfect for Easter...

13. Cover loosely and store in a cool place. Serve topped with a fruit sauce of your choice.



...this is as far as I go today ... imagine a slice of this light fluffy cheesecake with some of that blueberry sauce drizzled ... mmmm! ...





... this is a flower arrangement waiting to happen ...
What are you doing for flowers for your Easter table top?


4 comments:

  1. These cake is a welcome change from the heavy New York style cheesecake that I make. The blueberry sauce would be delicious on pancakes, french toast or Belgian waffles. Being Italian anything with ricotta cheese I just love. Happy Easter Susan!!

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  2. Wow, does that look delicious, and I love blueberry sauce! Nice touch with the ginger snap crumbs! Happy Easter! Mary

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  3. Hmmm, that does look delicious. I love how tall your cheesecake is - and great job on avoiding cracks!

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