If necessity is the mother of invention is it safe to say then that random leftover ingredients are the building blocks to great recipes? Just a thought! And when I say leftover, I mean leftover, half finished, not wanting it to go bad, and somewhere in the middle of all that ingredients. That’s pretty much how this Banana Ricotta Cheesecake came about. I had a container of ricotta cheese in the fridge that was quickly approaching its expiration date and two bananas on the table that were quite ripe and I just didn’t feel like making pasta or a banana bread. After some Google searches I couldn’t find anything that I really wanted to make or I found recipes that required ingredients I just didn’t have on hand and didn’t want to buy. So, I figured since I bake enough it was about time that I tried going without a recipe, okay, not completely without one. I did some major tweaking to a Ricotta Cheesecake I had made before. But, I think this is still somewhat original.
Unfortunately, my cheesecake did crack in the middle. It wasn’t so bad when I first took it out of the oven, but, as it cooled it got bigger. Oh well!
But, after slicing it and plating it with chocolate sauce and whipped cream that unfortunate crack was nothing to be bothered by as I am happy to say I was quite pleased with how the cheesecake came out. The banana flavor was subtle but still detectable, not as strong as banana bread but not as faint as a hint. And no, in case you are wondering there were no traces of banana in the cheesecake itself since I was sure to blend the mashed banana, sugar and cream cheese until they were smooth.
Banana Ricotta Cheesecake
18 graham crackers
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 ripe bananas, mashed
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Process the graham crackers in a food processor until they become fine crumbs. Add the butter and process until blended. Pat the crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. All to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat the mashed bananas, cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the ricotta and vanilla extract and continue beat until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each one.
Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Until a cake tester inserted in the middle come out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes, then refrigerate and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve at room temperature.
Unbeknownst to me July 30th was National Cheesecake Day and coincidentally that day (I’m a little behind in my postings!) I decided to try out a Ricotta Cheesecake recipe from Marcela Valladolid that I came across in People magazine. What interested me in the recipe was that instead of using sugar as the sweetener it uses sweetened condensed milk. It was also super simple to follow which is always a plus.
I started off by making the crust. While I know there are traditionalist out there who like to crush their own graham crackers to make their crust – I’ve done it a few times and this recipe actually called for that as well – I am not a big fan of graham crackers so buying a box of them is a waste so I opt to buy them already crushed and ready to use for the specific purpose of making a crust.
Along with my graham cracker crumbs, I needed butter and sugar from the crust.
I mixed all of the ingredietns together…
And then pressed the crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pand and about an inch and a half up the sides.
After baking for 7 minutes I let the curst cool while I got to working on the cheesecake filling.
The ingredients were basic: cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest.
I started by beating together the cream cheese and the sweetened condensed milk.
Following that I added in the ricotta cheese, vanilla extract and orange zest.
Prior to adding in the eggs I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying the filling and I found it to be awfully sweet and was concerned that the final product would be so as well, but, after adding in each of the four eggs individually the sweetness level of the filling dropped considerably. While I know some people would say it’s not a smart idea to try batter with raw eggs in it I haven’t got sick yet… I’m going to go knock on some wood now!
And finally I poured the filling into the cooled crust.
After baking for about 50 minutes in a 350 degrees oven the cheesecake was done and looked perfect – yes, it was a little brown, but, it didn’t crack which I was very happy about!
I did attempt to make a quick strawberry topping for the cheesecake by heating strawberry jam, sugar and fresh strawberries in a saucepan on the stove, but, it was a completely fail. I believe the jam I used wasn’t the best quality and it produced a horrible flavor. Luckily though the cheesecake was perfect on its own.
by Marcela Valladolid
18 cinnamon-sugar graham crackers
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can condensed milk
15 oz. fresh ricotta or requeson cheese
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh orange zest
4 large eggs
1) Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Process graham crackers in food processor until finely crumbled. Add butter; process until blended. Pat crumbs over bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place on baking sheet; bake 10 minutes until golden. Cool completely.
3) Beat cream cheese and condensed milk at medium speed in bowl of electric mixer until smooth. Add ricotta, vanilla, and orange zest; beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
4) Pour mixture into cooled crust. Bake 50 minutes until cheesecake is puffed and golden and a tester inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 35 minutes. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Serve at room temperature.