Here we are, celebrating our first year blogging with a delicious Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, fresh and bright as a sunny day, sweet, tart, crumbly and creamy.
"Mangia Mangia. What do you think? Is it catchy? Is it original? I think it reflects who we are, the families we come from, they are the two words we heard most of our lives!".
"Yes, I love it! It's perfect for us. Ok, let's do it, let's start our food blog!"
This extract of a brainstorming happened exactly one year ago, on Skype and on the phone, between Loreto and I, at 5 thousand miles distance, one night after we had enrolled in this crazy but amazing experience of starting and running a food blog. And that was the name we had chosen for our blog at first: "Mangia Mangia", the double exhortation from our mothers and grandmothers to eat. Incessantly repeated every single meal, in the typical Italian mother's worry that you don't eat enough food. But on registering it, the name was taken, so, another hour or so of brainstorming led to the actual name SugarLoveSpices. Sugar, love and spices are the three fundamental ingredients in our kitchen and lives: I'm the sugar, the sweet tooth, the baker, Loreto is the spices, the savory cook with a huge interest in encompassing different cultures, and in between and all around us a plethora of love. But mangia mangia is still in us, it's us, and we still hear those two words, even at our not too young age, from our mothers, every time we share the table 🙂 .
Well, one year has passed and what a year! After the first few months of blogging separately in two different kitchens, one in Rome and one in Edmonton, we were finally reunited. It has been a busy, creative, hectic, positive, learning on the go experience, that has brought lots of smiles, laughs and heartfelt moments combined with some sleepless nights, seldom worry wrinkles and few, additional, white hairs. Overall, it has been a blast and we look forward to blogging for many years to come.
Here we are, celebrating our first year with a Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, fresh and bright as a sunny day, sweet and tart as this life on earth, crumbly and creamy as only a cheesecake can be. A cheesecake that is a marriage between our two worlds: the North American and the Italian. It has the cream cheese, but also the ricotta; the digestive cookies and the almonds; the sour cream and the Amalfi lemons. Everything blended and beautifully melded in a delicious and pretty cake. I want to say that the lemons from the Amalfi region are amazing. I remember walking the streets of Amalfi and smelling lemon in the air as if store owners were running diffusers with a lemon oil, not the case, just baskets of lemons, some so unbelievably huge but the flavor incredible and intense. One night we went to a restaurant in Positano another town on the Amalfi coast, after a lovely dinner, the owners of the restaurant offered us a complimentary Limoncello, ice cold, a lemony flavor so good that Loreto could have had a few more shots, but he did not as he is not a huge drinker and they would have had to take him off the floor 🙂 .
There are so many stunning, delectable cheesecakes out there in the blogosphere, no-bake or baked, raw or decadent, so I don't pretend to call it the best cheesecake ever. I've just tried to do my best, put love and care in what I do, use organic ingredients in which I believe, and what's most important, have fun making it. But nonetheless, it is one of the best I have had. The crust with the combination of biscuits and almonds gives a varied texture of smooth and a bit of crunch, and adding the fresh grated lemon zest brings this crust to a diverse and pleasurable flavor. The filling, light, airy and creamy with a mousse-like consistency. It is made with blending ricotta, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and flavored with the nice zest and juice from the Amafi lemons. Plus, a little trick: a tablespoon and a half of cornstarch melted in two tablespoons of water, which gives an even smoother texture. The topping, a frothy blend of whipping cream and sour cream, and more lemon zest grated on top. The aroma of the lemons, enlivening and oh so cheerful. I don't know where you live, but here in Rome spring is just around the corner, especially this year when we hardly had any winter days.
So here's to awakenings, new beginnings, second chances, and bloomings.
We have two more occasions to celebrate! Our 2 years and 7 months wedding anniversary (yesterday) and Valentine's day (tomorrow)!
Can I eat a piece of this lemon ricotta cheese cake for every celebration? I think I will, due to the fact that I can also eat Loreto's piece, since he is not here, you snooze you lose. The rest I'll share with my family and friends, better for me, or I'll eat it all 😉 .
Song of the day: "Save Room" by John Legend. Save some room for a piece of our anniversary cake, too.Print
For the crust:
- 240 g Digestive (or Graham Crackers) biscuits
- 60 g almonds, peeled and grated
- 80 g butter, melted
- some lemon zest
For the filling:
- 330 g cream cheese
- 500 g ricotta
- 4 free range organic eggs
- 295 g granulated sugar
- 60 ml lemon juice
- 1 organic lemon, the zest
- 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp water
For the topping:
- 100 g sour cream
- 100 g whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp icing sugar
- Place the oven rack in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
- Place the digestive biscuits and blanched almonds in a food processor and pulse until they are fine crumbs. Place the crumb mixture in a big bowl, add the butter and lemon zest and work it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.
- Butter a springform cake pan (I used a 22 cm) and wrap it with parchment paper (a circle for the base and strips for the circumference). Pat down the crumb mixture with the back of a spoon, starting on the edges and then the base. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest until creamy and smooth. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water and stir right away, add it to the cream mixture and mix.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture on the crumb base and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. If using a springform cake pan, I suggest to place it on a baking sheet to prevent any spills.
- Let cool for about 30 minutes the cheesecake in the oven with the door half-closed. Once cool, put it in the fridge, I advise all night, this step is critical because it allows the cheesecake to reach the right consistency.
- Whip the fresh cream with one tablespoon of icing sugar, pour the sour cream and mix.
- Spread it over the cake just before serving.
In the fridge it will stay fresh for about 3 days.
Recipe adapted from an italian blog: Chiarapassion.
Ricetta in italiano:Print
Per la base di biscotto:
- 240 g di biscotti a base di farina integrale e frumento (io ho usato i Digestive)
- 60 g di mandorle pelate
- 80 g di burro fuso
- scorza di limone grattugiata
Per la crema:
- 330 g formaggio cremoso (io ho usato Philadelphia)
- 500 g ricotta di pecora freschissima
- 4 uova da allevamento a terra
- 295 g zucchero superfino
- 60 ml succo di limone
- la scorza di un limone non trattato grattugiata
- 1 cucchiaio e mezzo di amido di mais (Maizena)
- 2 cucchiai di acqua
Per la Copertura:
- 100 g di sour cream, altrimenti detta crème fraiche o panna acida
- 100 g di panna fresca
- un cucchiaio di zucchero a velo
- Con l’aiuto di un mixer sbriciolate i biscotti e le mandorle, mettete il tutto in una ciotola, aggiungete il burro fuso e la scorza grattugiata di limone, lavorate il composto con un cucchiaio fino ad ottenere un impasto omogeneo.
- Imburrate uno stampo apribile da 20 o 22 cm e rivestitelo con la carta forno, tagliando prima un cerchio per la base e delle strisce per la circonferenza. Distribuite alcune manciate di composto di biscotto nello stampo creando prima i bordi e poi la base, compattate bene il tutto premendo sulla superficie il dorso di un cucchiaio. Mettete lo stampo in frigo per circa 30 minuti in modo che il burro si rassodi.
- Nella planetaria mettete la ricotta, la crema di formaggio, lo zucchero, le uova, la scorza grattugiata ed il succo di limone e mescolate bene fino ad avere una crema vellutata.
- In un bicchiere mettete la maizena, aggiungete l’acqua e mescolate subito, unite questo composto alla crema e mescolare bene.
- Versate la crema di formaggio sulla base di biscotto ed infornate in forno caldo a 155° per 1 ora e 10 minuti. Se usate uno stampo apribile (a cerniera), meglio appoggiare lo stampo su di una teglia in modo da evitare fuoriuscite.
- Fate raffreddare per circa 30 minuti la cheesecake nel forno spento con lo sportello semi-chiuso. Una volta fredda mettetela in frigo, per parecchie ore (anche tutta la notte), per permettere alla cheesecake di raggiungere la giusta consistenza.
- Montate la panna fresca con un cucchiaio di zucchero a velo, amalgamatela alla panna acida e ricoprite il dolce al momento di servire.
Conservatela in frigorifero e consumatela entro 3 giorni.
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