January 13th, 2010
Do you like how I go from talking about eating more fish, vegetarian meals and going to the gym to talking about cheesecake? Smooth move, right? The thing is, I have yet to fill you in on the highlights of my holiday cooking, which was mostly holiday baking. I know that my timing isn’t great, but my favorites are all year around recipes definitely worth sharing. So, in an act of defiance against new year’s resolutions, I present to you cheesecake today and Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie tomorrow. Now go ahead, use your bookmark tool. You’ll thank me later.
I made this cheesecake as part of my Christmas Eve dinner: an Italian inspired seafood risotto (I adapted this great recipe from Martha—make it one day), white salad (shaved white vegetables with Maytag blue cheese and a champagne vinaigrette), and simple roasted asparagus. Everything was delicious, but everyone went bananas for the cheesecake. Especially my ChowBaby!
I (barely) adapted this recipe from Giada. I was a little nervous since I’ve never made one of her recipes before. It seemed a risky thing to do for my big Christmas Eve dinner, but I took the chance because of the recipe’s high ratings. And, oh boy, am I glad I did. RIDONCULOUS.
Honey Ricotta Cheesecake
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
(can be served to children 12+ mos)
8 oz graham crackers
6 tbsp organic unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz fresh organic whole milk ricotta, drained
14-oz organic cream cheese, room temp (1 8-oz package + 3/4 of a 2nd 8-oz package)
1/2 c organic sour cream
3/4 c organic sugar
1/4 c organic honey
1 tbsp orange zest, from a washed organic orange
4 lg organic eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 9″ springform pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the graham crackers in a food processor. Add the melted butter and salt, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.
2. Blend the ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Add cream cheese, sour cream and sugar and blend well, scraping sides periodically. Blend in the honey and orange zest. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.
3. Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
4. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Eat up!
Post Update (2/5/10):
Just found this great post on graham crackers on A Life Less Sweet related to the conversation in comments below. Really useful, with specific brand recommendations. Take a look!