When in Tuscany it is fairly easy to realize the almost exclusive savory use that people make of ricotta. I remember the last glory days of our farm, when on Sunday mornings the shepherd would come up from the valley and bring fresh ricotta for my grandparents. Lola would bring in the garden small ceramic bowls, pour a few dollops of fresh cheese in it and finish it with a touch of salt and a generous sprinkle of our olive oil; it was Heaven.
I started enjoying the “sweet side” or Ricotta cheese in my adult life… I still do not know why I have waited so long. I now enjoy fresh ricotta with Honey, Fresh Fruit or Jams and I have been exploring many combinations of flavor and textures. Here is one of my best results, a delicious cheesecake recipe that is already an absolute family favorite and lands itself to a couple of variations and different finishes, according to your entertaining needs.
My finish of choice is a chocolate ganache: soft and velvety, rich in flavor and absolutely luscious… However, I believe it’s only fair to share also my recipe for a Blueberry compote so you can try both and let me know which one is your favorite.
Enjoy these wonderful days of summer, bake for your friends and family, share the flavors and the stories, then come back and share how much you liked this fantastic dessert.
Serves: 8 / Prep time: 25 minutes / Inactive prep time: 1 hour 20 mins/ Cook time: 45 minutes
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 75 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 4 egg yolks
RICOTTA AND SEMOLINA CREAM
- 1 1/3 cup ricotta
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 100 grams dark chocolate
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
FRUIT COMPOTE Alt. (Blueberry or seasonal fruit)
- 1 pound seasonal fruit
- ¼ cup bourbon or moonshine
- ¼ cup sugar
- Pinch of Kosher salt
1In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, powdered sugar, orange zest, vanilla, salt nutmeg and butter.
2Using the paddle attachment, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, on medium speed, until the butter is evenly incorporated and in pea-sized pieces. With the machine still running, slowly drizzle in the egg yolks until a dough forms.
3Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
RICOTTA AND SEMOLINA CREAM
1Pass the ricotta through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and orange zest.
2In a medium pot, heat the milk until it begins to lightly simmer. Slowly sift the semolina flour
3Over medium heat, stir the mixture until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and whisk to eliminate lumps. Gently mix the semolina mixture for a couple of minutes until a creamy consistency is reached.
4Pour the thickened semolina mixture over the ricotta and mix well to combine..
1Heat an oven to 350 degrees.
2Butter a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan.
3Roll the dough on a flat surface and place into the tart pan. Gently press the dough over the rim of the pan to remove excess.
4Pour the semolina cream into the tart pan; smooth the top using a rubber spatula and bake for about 35 minutes.
5Allow the cheesecake to cool for 20 minutes before removing the shell from the pan.
1Melt the chocolate in a baine-marie, add the cream, and whip well for about 2 minutes.
2Pour over the top of the cooled tart and spread smooth.
3Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
1In a small saucepan, combine the fruit, bourbon, sugar and salt.
2 Reduce over a medium flame until the fruit begins to break down and the alcohol cooks off, about 20 minutes.