Lemon ricotta baked cheesecake with blueberries

Cheesecake is a dessert in which the main layer consists of a mixture of soft cheese (usually cream cheese or ricotta), eggs and sugar. It can have a bottom layer, made from crushed cookies or biscuits, and can even be topped with fruit, whipped cream, jam, chocolate or whatever the imagination dictates. It is common to find cheesecake made with gelatin, but I’m not very fond of that version. The more traditional version should be cooked in a bain-marie in the oven, just like this lemon ricotta baked cheesecake topped with little purple blueberries that I bring to you today.

In this cheesecake you do not see a cookies’ crust on the bottom. You’ll also need a small amount of cookies, or biscuits, to line the pan, but it’s more like a nonstick layer than a crust. I used amaretti, which are almond biscuits, however you can use any others you may like or have on hand. In the end, the cookie crumbs layer is absorbed by the cheesecake and is almost imperceptible. This is a dessert that gives no work to put together but it does take time, so if you want to serve it at lunch you should think about making it the day before.

The initial inspiration for this recipe came from the blog Local Milk. I was doing a clean-up of all the recipes that I mark to read more calmly or try later, when I came across a white chocolate ricotta cheesecake illustrated by some beautiful pictures. In the end, I diverted a lot from Beth’s recipe because I wanted a cheesecake with lighter and fresher aromas, given that Spring is just beggining. Since I couldn’t find fresh ricotta I replaced it by requeijão, which is a Portuguese cheese also made of whey like ricotta.

I hope you’ll try this recipe because I’m sure you’ll like it. This lemon ricotta baked cheesecake covered with little purplish blueberries is a fresh and slightly sweet dessert, almost like a moist cake, in which one feels the soft taste of the ricotta, the vivid acidity of the lemon and the juicy bittersweet blueberries, which leave a faint trace of blue over pale yellow as we cut the slices. It’s just a little detail, but I thought it was pretty.

Lemon ricotta baked cheesecake with blueberries
Lemon ricotta baked cheesecake with blueberries
Lemon ricotta baked cheesecake with blueberries
Lemon ricotta baked cheesecake with blueberries
Lemon ricotta baked cheesecake with blueberries

Lemon ricotta baked cheesecake with blueberries

serves 8

Prep time:

Cook time:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 750g fresh ricotta (I used Portuguese sheep requeijão instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 75g cookies or biscuits (to your choice)
  • 250g Mascarpone
  • 50g all-purpose flour
  • 200g sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 200g blueberries
  • Powdered sugar to finish (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place the ricotta in a strainer and let it stand for at least one hour to drain excess liquid.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Reduce cookies, or biscuits, to thin crumbs (you can use a food processor or, simpler, place them inside a plastic bag and use the kitchen roll over it). Grease a round spring pan (about 23 cm) with butter and line with the cookies crumbs (place the crumbs in the pan and rotate it so they stick to the bottom and sides). Wrap the entire pan with two or three layers of aluminum foil to prevent the bain-marie water from entering.
  3. Beat the Mascarpone in the electric mixer, equipped with the whisk attachment, until it forms a soft cream. Add the ricotta and beat until smooth and homogenous (you may need to scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula once or twice). Add the flour and sugar and then the eggs one by one, always beating between each addition. At the end, incorporate the zest and lemon juice.
  4. Boil 1.5 to 3 liters of water (the exact amount will depend on the size of the tray you’ll use to cook the cheesecake in a water bath).
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan inside a baking tray and place it inside the preheated oven (in the middle). Pour the boiling water into the tray so that it covers about half the height of the Spring pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until firm (you can make the toothpick test to confirm that it is cooked; the cheesecake will get firmer as it cools).
  6. Remove from the water bath and allow to cool to room temperature. Then put it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. To serve the lemon ricotta baked cheesecake, remove it from the refrigerator and let it return to room temperature. Garnish with blueberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

 


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