In The Artisan Market, author and trained chef Emma MacDonald shares her celebrated culinary secrets for the first time, explaining how to pickle, smoke, cure, and conserve; put together great meals; and mix and match both home-cooked and store-bought foods. This fantastic treasure trove of culinary delights shows you how to produce delicacies ranging from cured meats, smoked fish, and sweet preserves to farmhouse cheeses, fresh pasta, and fresh-baked pies. This herb and ricotta cheesecake recipe with roasted tomato pesto comes from chapter 3, Cheese and Dairy.
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The delicate freshness of ricotta cheese is the perfect foundation for this light, savory cheesecake. Boosted by the rich, earthy flavor of Parmesan and a smattering of fresh herbs, the cheesecake is served with a vibrant tomato pesto. Look for the most flavorsome tomatoes you can find and a good fruity olive oil.
Servings: 6 to 8
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
• 3-1/3 cups ricotta cheese
• 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese
• 3 extra-large eggs, separated
• 1 handful basil, leaves torn, plus whole leaves for sprinkling
• 1 handful oregano, leaves roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons snipped chives
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• crisp green salad, to serve
Roasted tomato pesto:
• 6 large vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered and seeded
• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
• 1/2 cup roughly chopped, drained sun-dried tomatoes in oil
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 4 tablespoons blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
• freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a deep 8-inch loose-bottomed cake pan.
2. Put the ricotta, Parmesan and egg yolks in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer the ricotta mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the basil, oregano, chives and salt, then season with plenty of freshly ground pepper.
3. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they will form stiff peaks. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the whites into the ricotta mixture until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Set the pan on a cookie sheet and bake for about 1 hour until risen, set and light golden.
4. About 30 minutes after you put the cheesecake in the oven, start the roasted tomato pesto. Put the quartered tomatoes in a roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season to taste, then turn the tomatoes in the oil.Put them in the oven with the cheesecake and roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and slightly wrinkly.
5. Remove the tomatoes and cheesecake from the oven and leave the cheesecake to cool slightly while you make the pesto. Put the roasted tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the nuts and the remaining oil in a food processor and process to a coarse paste; season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the pesto into a bowl and add a splash more oil if it seems too dry.
6. Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and remove it from the pan. Scatter the basil leaves and remaining chopped nuts over the top, then serve cut into wedges, with the tomato pesto and a salad.
Reprinted with permission from The Artisan Market © 2013 Watkins Publishing Limited. Photography by Watkins Publishing Limited. Distributed by Sterling Publishing Inc. Buy this book from our store: The Artisan Market.
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