Cheesecake, a name a poem. This cheese-based dessert, very scenic to look at and very tasty to taste, does not belong so much to the Italian tradition, but we have gladly adopted it. Perhaps because desserts and cakes based on simple ingredients such as fresh and neutral cheeses – see ricotta, see pastiera – we have plenty of them. The American cheesecake, however, has its specificities, first of all the very practical and quick fact that the base is not a dough but is obtained with a shortcut: biscuits already made.
However, nothing prevents you from adding variations, to indulge yourself with new and somewhat gourmet additions: in this recipe we offer two of them, which have to do with the sauce and the decoration. The cake itself belongs to the kind of cooked ones, where the cheeses are firmed in the oven, and not the raw ones, which need the addition of a gelling agent.
We actually insert an unusual ingredient also in the base: in addition to the shortbread – the type digestive it’s ideal – and to butter (a third of the weight compared to biscuits) we add a small percentage of toasted dried fruit. They can be hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts, or even a mixture: they give the pastry a more interesting texture and a more complex flavor. We line a mold and put it in the fridge.
We then take ricotta and mascarpone (400 grams in all, with a prevalence of ricotta), mix with 3 eggs, 100 grams of sugar and wanting a spoonful of corn starch, to be sure of having a smooth and crack-free result. When the cream has reached a velvety consistency, let it rest well covered.
And let’s dedicate ourselves to the first of the gourmet decorations: strawberry chips. The strawberries on the cheesecake are a classic, but usually you can find them cold or at most added in a little sugar. Instead we will slice them very thin, and put them on a baking sheet with some icing sugar, putting them in the oven to dry, rather than to cook: the temperature must be the lowest that the appliance allows us; 80 ° C, or even 60. The other trick is to leave the oven door slightly open, locking it with a wooden spoon, to allow the moisture to evaporate.
After an hour and a half or two, we extract the strawberries and remove them from the pan. We raise the temperature of the oven to 170 degrees, and we compose the cake. Pour the cream into the mold and cook in the oven for a minimum of one hour. Thus we will be sure to obtain a compact and pleasant consistency at the same time.
At the end of cooking we let it cool and then put it in the fridge for half a day, we don’t skip this last step because it is essential. Just before serving, the sauce: 3 hectograms of wine with 100 grams of sugar and a few pieces of cinnamon. We reduce in a saucepan over low heat until it becomes a thick syrup. We pour the sauce on each slice and decorate with the sliced strawberries.
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