cheesecake slice

Cheesecake is a pain to make, but never have I gotten such rave reviews for a dessert as for this one.  :-)  I wanted to take a crack at making a proper, classical cheesecake (not least as my “last hurrah” with sugary desserts, at least for the foreseeable future), but naturally I vastly underestimated how much cream cheese it would take — hence, a few substitutions that seems to have worked out pretty well.  :-D

This recipe is a pain, and I never did manage to turn out a pretty cheesecake, but at the end of the day it all gets eaten anyway, so I’ll take what I can get and move along.  You should definitely make this the day before it’s needed.  One thing I didn’t get a chance to try was cutting a circle of parchment paper to go underneath the crust and help getting slices off the bottom pan, but if you want to get neat slices of crust up you might want to try it.

Okay, enough caveats before everybody closes the browser tab.  :-)

Ricotta-and-Yogurt Cheesecake

Ingredients:

for the filling:

  • 1 lb cream cheese
  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vanilla, divided
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt, divided (after draining)

for the crust:

Directions:

1.  Early in the day, set out the ricotta, cream cheese, and yogurt to come to room temperature (and the eggs if you’re feeling plucky).  Set the yogurt to strain on the counter as described in my lemon icebox pie post.  (Yeah, it’s Greek yogurt already, so it’ll be pretty thick, but since you need it to come to room temperature anyway, it’s worth a little more set up to strain a little more liquid out of it.)  :-)

2.  First, make the crust, as described here; but press it flat onto the bottom only of a deep 9″ springform cake pan, and don’t bake it yet (it’ll bake with the cheesecake itself).  Just put it in the fridge for an hour to set up firm; this will help it keep together once it bakes.

3.  Once the crust is set up, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.

Combine the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the sugar, the eggs, the cornstarch, 1 tsp of the vanilla, and 1 cup of your strained Greek yogurt in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk or paddle attachment.  Let the mixer run until the mixture is completely smooth, stopping every so often to get any thicker mixture up off the bottom of the bowl.  (The last thing you want to happen is you’re pouring this beautiful smooth mixture and then you find this creamier layer on the bottom that threatens to plop into the rest like a fat stone in a pond, and believe me, it’ll happen if you’re not careful!)  :-)

4.  Put the springform pan on top of a cookie sheet (just in case it leaks), then pour the smooth mixture into the pan, on top of the set-but-raw crust.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

5.  While the mixture is baking, in a small-to-medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup strained Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup sugar, and teaspoon vanilla.  When 45 minutes are up, carefully take the cheesecake out; it’ll be wobbly but solid on top in the center, but in theory you should be able to spread the yogurt mixture over the top of the custard very gently.  (It might not be pretty, and I would forgive you for just not even trying with this part because it’s frankly very aggravating, but there you go.)  Put the cheesecake back in the oven to bake for 15 more minutes.

6.  After 15 minutes, turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake inside for 1 hour to cool slowly (this helps avoid cracks).  I then like to let it cool an hour or so on the stovetop before trying to get the springform frame off; and either way the cheesecake should then be refrigerated at least 4 hours before serving (and you might want to leave the springform frame on till then — up to you and good luck).