Ricotta Cherry Cheesecake with Fresh and Dried Cherry Sauce
The combination of fresh and dried cherries in the sauce for this cheesecake gives the most wonderful, concentrated cherry flavour, which complements the lovely mild lactic flavour of the ricotta.
The large, flat, plump American variety of cherries are perfect for this recipe.
This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (Dairy Collection 1996) Serves 6
First prepare the base by melting the butter in a small saucepan.
Then, in a bowl, mix the butter with the biscuit crumbs and almonds. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press it down as evenly as possible. Now pop it into the oven on a high shelf for 15 minutes until nicely browned. Then remove it from the oven and leave to cool. Now put 4 tablespoons of cold water into a bowl, sprinkle in the gelatine and leave it aside for 5 minutes to soak. After that, place the bowl in a saucepan of barely simmering water and leave it until the gelatine has completely dissolved and you are left with a clear liquid. This should take about 10 minutes, but be careful not to let the water boil. Then put it to one side.
Now put the ricotta, egg yolks and sugar in a processor and blend for about 1 minute. Then, with the processor still running, add the vanilla and pour in the gelatine, blending until everything is thoroughly mixed and absolutely smooth Now whip up the cream until you get a floppy consistency. Pour this into the processor and blend again for just a few seconds. Next pour the whole mixture over the base, cover with foil and chill for a minimum of 3 hours, or overnight.
For the topping, I think the cherries should have their stones in, as they retain their shape better and it is quite fun to play Tinker, Tailor if there are children around. Place the sugar in a saucepan with 5 fl oz (150 ml) water and slowly, over a gentle heat, allow the sugar crystals to completely dissolve, which will take 4-5 minutes. Then add all the fresh and dried cherries to the pan and poach them gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Next drain the cherries, reserving the syrup. Separate enough whole cherries to cover the top of the cheesecake – about 30, depending on their size. When they are cool enough to handle, slit the rest in half, remove the stones, and place them with the dried cherries in the processor and whiz to a thick purée. Pour this into a serving bowl or jug, cover and chill until later. Next pour the reserved syrup back into the saucepan and boil it without a lid to reduce it to a very thick, glossy syrup – about 2 fl oz (55 ml).
To serve the cheesecake, toss each whole cherry briefly into the syrup to give it a gloss, then arrange on the cheesecake. Cut into slices and hand the sauce around separately.
Note: This recipe contains raw eggs.
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