Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cannoli Cheesecake

This was my first time making an actual cheesecake - I've made cheesecake cupcakes and brownies before, but never the real deal 'if you don't do this right you're going to crack it' cheesecake. I referenced a number of recipes for cannoli/ricotta cheesecake variations, and none of them mentioned using a water bath/bain marie setup. Maybe I'll give that a try the next time around and report my results. Adapted from:

1/3 cup (1 oz.) sliced almonds
7 oz. vanilla wafers
7 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 16 oz container plus 1 cup (7 ounces, for a total of 23 oz.) ricotta
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp flour
Pinch salt
1 ¼ cup sugar (~9 oz.)
2 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup mini chocolate chips (plus more for garnish)
4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F, and position the oven racks so your cheesecake will cook in the middle of the oven. Add almonds and wafers to a food processor, and pulse several times to crush into small pieces. The original recipe calls for adding 3 tbsp granulated sugar here- The “Nilla” brand wafers I used had plenty of sugar in them already, so I chose to omit any additional sugar. Add the melted butter to the crumb mixture, and pulse once or twice to incorporate.

Prepare a 9” springform pan by rubbing butter all along the inside and tossing flour on top of the butter layer. Transfer the crust mixture to the pan, pressing down and up the sides. Place a layer of plastic wrap overtop the crust while you do this to make life easier. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Remove and let cool on a rack.

For the filling:

In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, add the ricotta, cream cheese, flour and salt. Beat on medium until very smooth and the cheese is devoid of lumps, about 5 minutes. Stop once or twice to scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the sugar, zest, and vanilla, and continue to beat on medium for another minute until completely blended and smooth.

Add the chocolate chips and mix on low until the chips are incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, with the mixer on low, until each is just incorporated. Don’t overmix.

Pour the mixture on top of the crust, and place the springform pan on a baking sheet (you can also place tinfoil over the bottom of the pan, if you’d like). Bake for 55 to 65 minutes. The cheesecake should be puffy around the edges, and jiggle like jello when you tap the side of the pan. Remove and set on a rack, allowing to cool completely. Transfer to the fridge, and chill it overnight. Garnish with mini chocolate chips to serve.

Yep, I cracked it


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