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14 January 2013

Ricotta & Mascarpone Cheesecake with Frutti di Bosco (Berries)


My son's recent "crostata (Italian tart filled with jam) or nothing" phase made me stock up on these tarts at home. During the hype of his phase, he could easily finish one whole crostata (about 22 cm.) on his own between 1 - 2 days.  However, we don't share the same opinion about them.  I never liked them because they are always too sweet.   I know I should start making them but before I could find the perfect not-too-sweet cherry jam that I want to use, his crostata phase popped like a balloon and he refuses to touch any crostata.  Just like that.


While I had been hoarding his tarts, I happened to see a baked cheesecake of ricotta and mascarpone with frutti di bosco among the cakes at the bakery.  Now, ricotta and I are not in good terms yet but when cooked, I can actually enjoy it.  I knew one person who would like it.  My husband.  In my bag of purchases were a couple of cherry crostate and a cheesecake for the males with the sweet tooth in the house.


I was surprised at how good the cheesecake was.  I had a second slice, then a third then when I was thinking about a fourth, I noticed the bad look my husband was giving me.  "Don't you just hate the milky taste of the ricotta?", he asked.   His subliminal message went through.  That was his cake after all!


We both read the ingredients together and discussed about making it and how I should go about it.   We bought the ingredients the following day and I embarked in baking that morning.  It was slightly different from the cake we bought but it came out very good too.  We had one cake each in one sitting and I wish I cooked more.  They were really good that I cannot wait to share the recipe with you.  


There was one point that I thought (and my husband agreed) that I should change for the succeeding time I make this cake. 

I took out the cake midway through baking because I didn't want to put the sauce while the batter was still liquid.  I didn't want it to go down.  I wanted it to stay on top but cooked.  It had been setting perfectly until I disrupted the cooking midway, thus, the center sank a bit.  The next time I do it, I would leave it alone to bake completely then pour half of the sauce immediately while it is still hot then the other half of the sauce before serving.  I think that's more sensible than what I did. 



Ricotta & Mascarpone Cheesecake with Frutti di Bosco (Berries)

Ingredients:
Makes two 11 cm. springform pans or one 22 cm. springform pan
  • 250 grams ricotta
  • 150 mascarpone
  • 1 egg
  • 50 grams sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 100 grams biscuits
  • 40 grams butter, softened
  • 100 grams frutti di bosco (berries) + more for garnishing
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • fresh mint leaves for garnishing (optional) 
  • icing sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Directions:
  1. Crush the biscuits in a mixer.  Transfer to a bowl.  Mix in the softened butter.  
  2. Transfer to the springform pans and press at the bottom.  You can use a meat tenderizer to help pack it well.  Refrigerate while you are preparing the cake and the sauce.
  3. To prepare the sauce, get a small saucepan.  Put the berries, sugar, lemon & water together.  Cook until it thickens. Set aside.
  4. Mix the ricotta, mascarpone, sugar, egg and lemon zest in a mixer until smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture in the springform pans.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven of 180 degreesnCelsius for about 50 - 60 minutes or until a knife you insert in the middle of the cakes come out clean.
  7. While the cakes are still hot, poke holes on the cake with the tip of a knife then pour half of the sauce.
  8. Let the cakes cool completely.
  9. Pour the remaining sauce before serving.
  10. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and berries.