Friday, December 7, 2007

Caramelized Cheesecake

If you like Dulce de Leche and Cheesecake, then you'll love this one..

I have made cheesecakes before, and real good ones. I usually follow a really nice recipe from one of my friend's step mom, who's a baker. But, I came up with this recipe absolutely accidentally. I was trying to use up ricotta and cream cheese that had been in my fridge forever. I wanted to make a cheesecake, but I didn't have graham crackers, or even eggs. But I decided to go ahead anyways (which is a little unlike me..I don't like to mess up baking recipes too much). So I used emeril's lemon ricotta cheesecake recipe. Used egg substitute, instead of real eggs, and eliminated the crust altogether. I also added some heavy cream (remember, cleaning up the fridge). I just wanted to see what happens. What happened was something I can't call cheesecake by any stretch of imagination. But it's also something that you could jazz up a little with good garnish and serve in an upscale restaurant. Just remember to pay me the royalty, thank you.

Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs (I used substitute, cause I ran out of eggs)
1 lemon, zested
3/4 pound ricotta cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream

Beat the creamcheese till smooth, add the rest of the ingredients, except eggs and blend well. Add the eggs one by one, and beat till everything is incorporated.

Spray the pan with vegetable spray. Add the batter, and bake in a 325 degree oven for about an hour on the lower rack. Transfer the pan to the upper rack after one hour and bake for another half an hour or so, till you get a nice light golden brown crust.

Now, before the cake cools, beat it with an electric beater, till smooth and slightly fluffy. Set it in a glass dish or any other serving container and chill overnight or at least a couple of hours.

The texture of this cheesecake is quite different from regular cheesecakes. One is because of ricotta cheesecake, and the second is because of the beating after cooking. I was very scared of burning it, but to my delight, I got a nice golden crust and the cake also moved away from the sides of the pan. I'm not sure why that happened (cream or ricotta?). Anyways, it all worked out beautifully, yielding a dulce-de-leche like looking cheesecake. The taste actually reminded me of the "Balela doodh na penda" from Raval. One of my dad's uncle was famous for selling these sweets in rural Gujarat. Well, I'm not surprised, cause it's almost the same thing is as caremalized ricotta. Of course, the hint of lemon zest, and the unique cream cheese flavors make this dish so unique.

If you're an adventure freak, go for it. Of course, I would strongly suggest trying this on a smaller quantity, which is what I would do next time, to ensure reproducibility.

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