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REC: Ricotta Cheesecake with Glazed Orange Peel

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005

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Posted to Thread #8570 at 12:18 am on Nov 7, 2007

RICOTTA CHEESECAKE
From <i>Italian Family Cooking</i> by Anne Casale
Serves 12

CRUST
1 package (7 oz.) Peek Freans Shortcake Biscuits or 28 vanilla wafers (I used 7 oz. MarieLu's)
3 Tbs. Melted Butter

Adjust rack to lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375*F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable shortening.

Break up the cookies and place in a food processor. Run machine nonstop until reduced to fine crumbs, about 1 minute. Add melted butter and process until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl. Press crumbs into bottom of prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool to room temperature. Lightly grease sides of pan with shortening.

FILLING
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
1 cup sugar
2 lbs. whole milk ricotta cheese, well drained in a strainer
4 extra-large eggs
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
3-1/2 Tbs. finely chopped Glazed Orange Peel (below) or 2 Tbs. grated orange rind
12 thin strips Glazed Orange Peel, for garnish

In a mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add ricotta and beat again until absolutely smooth, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; stop machine once or twice and scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula to make sure everything is well combined. Blend in flour and vanilla. Stir in orange peel.

Pour cheese mixture into crust. Set pan on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. Bake until lightly golden around outside edge, about 50 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven for another hour. Remove and cool on a rack to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or, preferably, 2 days.

When ready to serve, run knife around outside edge of pan and remove springform. Place cake on a platter with a folded piece of dampened paper towel in the center to prevent bottoom of pan from sliding around while slicing.

Garnish with strips of orange peel.


GLAZED ORANGE PEEL
Yields about 1 quart

4 large, thick-skinned navel oranges
2-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups water

With a sharp knife, city a small slice from the top and bottom of each orange. With tip of knife, score orange skin from top to bottom, dividing into 6 sections. Very carefully peel off each section right to the orange itself.

Place the peels in a 3-quart saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds. Drain, rinse under cold water, cover again with cold water and, bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse, cover with water and bring to a boil again for another 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Blot dry with paper towel and place in a single layer on work surface with skin side down. While peels are still warm, scrape away most of the pith (white membrane) with a teaspoon, leaving about 1/8 inch of pith. Set peel aside

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir and wash down any crystals clinging to the sides of the pan, using a brush dipped in cold water, until sugar is completely dissolved. Boil syrup undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Pack the orange peels in a 1-quart sterilized jar and fill jar with hot syrup. Secure with a tight-fitting lid and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.

Once a day for the next 4 days, pour the syrup from the jar into a saucepan and bring to a boil; boil syrup for 1 minute. Pour hot syrup back into jar and cover. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Let stand in refriegerator 2 days after final boiling before using.

Once made, the glazed orange peel with keep in the refrigerator up to 1 year. Remember to turn the jar periodically so that the peel remains well coated with syrup.


<i>Notes: I made the orange peel over two years ago, then discovered that my springform pan was the wrong size for the cheesecake. I dropped the ball until a month ago when I finally dusted off the recipe and bought a 9" pan. My 2-year-old orange peel was still fine.

The cheesecake was worth the wait. It's very rustic in taste and texture. The orange peel recipe is enough for 4 cheesecakes, but the orange flavor is not very pronounced. After a trial run I added the grated zest of one fresh orange and a dribble of the orange syrup to the next cheesecake and liked it better.

My cakes cracked but the orange peel hid the flaws. There have been suggestions from more experienced cheesecake bakers here on how to avoid this, such as baking in a bain marie, but I haven't gotten that far.</i>


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