So you made your homemade ricotta. And you just so happen to have a pound and fourteen ounces of it on hand. What do you do with it? You make cheesecake, of course!!!
I took this from Gina DePalma's Dolce Italiano, and adapted it for use with the way I make my homemade ricotta and to compliment the flavor profile I was going for in the plated dessert. If you're not using homemade ricotta like I make it, you would omit the heavy cream.
makes a nine-inch cake
Your favorite sweet pastry crust or graham cracker crust
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb 14 oz homemade ricotta, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp Grand Marnier
Zest of one orange
1 tsp of vanilla
Line a nine-inch by two-inch round cake pan with your favorite sweet pastry crust, trimming it flush with the top of the pan. Let rest for 30 minutes, then dock and blind bake. Or press into the pan your favorite graham cracker crust and bake. Let the crust cool completely.
For the filling, in a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and salt until smooth. Scrape the bowl and add the ricotta and heavy cream and mix for two minutes. Scrape the bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape the bowl and mix in the Grand Marnier, orange zest and vanilla. Pour into cooled crust. Place a pan of hot water in the bottom of your oven. Bake the cheesecake at 300º for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is set, but still jiggly as a whole. Remove from oven, cool and chill.
I will admit that it is difficult to tell when this cheesecake is done as it will look set up after only 10 minutes. Go by feel, and it's definitely done if it starts to crack. Because of this, this probably isn't the best thing to make if you aren't familiar with how cheesecakes bake.
If you've been reading my desserts, you will have noticed that I'm quite the fan of the compote. I like them, because I'm a texture person. I like the mouthfeel of the whole fruit and the look and volume it has on the plate. And probably more important, they are easy. I don't like things to be fussy, especially with the amount of stuff I am responsible for at work. Compotes are easy to whip up at the last minute and easy to modify to whatever you have on hand. You can also more easily control the sugar to your taste with a compote than a sauce or syrup where the sugar contributes a lot to the desired consistency.
Peach Tarragon Compote
makes about two-and-half cups
4 large peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
1 cup sugar
Zest of a small orange
Several sprigs of tarragon
Half of a scraped vanilla bean (or use vanilla sugar)
1 tbsp lemon juice.
Combine everything in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Cook, stirring often until peaches are tender and the compote is reduced and thick.
For god's sake, don't try to go for making a pound and fourteen ounces of ricotta all at once at home (unless you've made ricotta at home before). It takes a little over a gallon and a half of milk, plus head room in the pot for the lemon juice and to stir it. You can make the ricotta in smaller batches until you have enough, it lasts for a week when well-sealed in the fridge.