Next up is: Orange Almond Ricotta Cheesecake
The posting date is: Sunday, September 15th
Yield: One 9-inch cheesecake
For the Almond Graham Cracker Crust
1/2 cup sliced, blanched almonds, toasted (page 19)
3 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 42 whole graham crackers)
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
For the Ricotta Filling
2 pounds good-quality ricotta, drained (see “How to Drain Fresh Ricotta,” page 152)
4 large eggs, separated, plus 1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons amaretto
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Make the Almond Graham Cracker Crust
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a high sided 9-inch tart pan (2 1/2 to 3 inches tall) with removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment and lightly spray the parchment.
In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are finely chopped (do not worry if you have a few large, coarse pieces). Place the almonds in a medium bowl, add the graham cracker crumbs and the brown sugar and stir until combined. Pour the butter over the crumbs and use a fork to blend the mixture until uniform. Transfer the crumb mixture to the prepared tart pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides. Use the bottom of a large measuring cup or drinking glass to help you create a firm, even crust.
Bake the crust until it is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. If it begins to puff while baking, use the back of the spoon to press it gently down. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Keep the oven on.
Make the Ricotta Filling
In a food processor, pulse the ricotta in short bursts until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the 5 egg yolks, sugar, flour, amaretto, almond extract, and orange zest. Pulse in short bursts until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl and pulse again until mixture is lump free. Turn out the mixture into a large bowl.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and the salt until stiff peaks form (do not whip past the stiff peak stage or the whites will become dry and unusable).
Fold one-third of the egg white mixture into the ricotta mixture until incorporated. Add half of the remaining egg whites and gently fold until almost incorporated, then fold in the remaining egg whites.
Pour the ricotta mixture into the prepared crust and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Using an instant read thermometer, take the internal temperature of the center of the cheesecake; when done, it should read 150 degrees F. (If you want to eyeball for doneness—a sometimes difficult task—look for a firm outer ring and a center that is slightly moist and wobbly when shaken.) Do not be alarmed if the cheesecake soufflés up and then falls—this is normal. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, 4 to 6 hours.
Serve the cheesecake
To serve, gently push up on the tart bottom to release the cheesecake from the pan. Top with a dusting of sifted powdered sugar or sliced almonds.
Excerpted from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2012 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.