Trying to decide on a topic for your first post is not an easy task. One of the ideas I had for this post was to write about my recent week-long visit to San Francisco where I had a blast exploring the city and trying out different places to eat. I’d even meticulously put together a list of cafes and restaurants to visit in the city. Eventually, jet lag combined with general fatigue meant that I didn’t end up visiting all of those places.
However, one of the highlights of our visit was the dinner we had with a good friend at the highly recommended Cheesecake Factory in Union Square. The cheesecake we had in addition to other ginormous (just love this word!) quantities of food was heavenly! Luscious and silky smooth, it was like no other cheesecake I’d ever tasted before. So when one of my friends suggested that maybe I should start off with a cheesecake recipe, I thought why not! The taste of that cherry cheesecake still lingers on in my memory and I thought I could attempt to evoke it by trying out a nice one myself if I could find an interesting recipe.
One of the many websites I often go to in search of interesting recipes is www.taste.com.au. It didn’t fail me this time either. I found an interesting ‘baked ricotta cheesecake with balsamic strawberries‘ recipe which I couldn’t wait to try out.
Though not as light and soft as the Cheesecake Factory one, my cheesecake had just the right consistency with a base not too hard or too thick and a filling of ricotta and sour cream that was light to the taste and yet creamy. The icing on the cake, quite literally, were the strawberries dripped in a sweet and sour tasting balsamic vinegar syrup. We (me and husband, Peter) were quite apprehensive about combining strawberries with vinegar but the result was lip smacking good! A generous slice of the cheesecake with a spoonful of shiny strawberries on top and a good drizzle of the syrup made the perfect accompaniment to that much needed cup of coffee.
Recipe for Baked ricotta cheesecake with strawberries in balsamic syrup (taken from here)
For the cheesecake -
200g digestive biscuits
75g unsalted melted butter
125g caster sugar
1 tbs cornflour (I used cornstarch instead)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
150ml sour cream*
*I ended up adding a little more than the quantities mentioned here simply because the amount leftover was too meager to save up ;)
Grind the biscuits in a food processor and then combine it with the melted butter and two extra tablespoons of caster sugar.
Press the biscuit mixture into the base of a greased and lined springform cake pan to form the base of the cake.
To make the filling, mix together the caster sugar, ricotta cheese, sour cream, cornflour, vanilla extract and egg yolks. Beat the egg whites separately until stiff and fold it into the filling.
Pour the filling into the cake pan. Bake in an oven (preheated to 160 degrees Celcius) for an hour or so until the top appears nice and golden.
Remove from oven and let it cool completely.
For the strawberries with syrup
50-55g caster sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp arrowroot powder (am guessing cornstarch will do the trick if you don’t have arrowroot since it’s used as a thickening agent)
Heat the sugar and balsamic vinegar in a pan on a low heat setting stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Dissolve the arrowroot powder in a teaspoon of cold water and add it to the pan. Keep stirring occasionally until the liquid thickens and forms a syrup. It takes roughly about 3-4 minutes for this to happen. Take the pan off the heat.
Finally, toss the halved strawberries in with the syrup.
Drizzling this over a slice of the cheesecake produces best results! Enjoy!
Quick tip – I read somewhere that a cheesecake cuts easily and cleanly by wetting the knife with hot water and then wiping it dry before making the cut. I tried it and it works like a charm.