Did you ever see a photo or read a recipe for something that made you instantly know you will make that? That's how I felt when I saw Sofie, The German Foodie's blog post for German Cheesecake. I LOVE cheesecake! If it were appropriate to do so, I would list it under interests on my resume. I don't make it often because it's a calorie catastrophe but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
creamy cheesecake probably topped the list of my favorite foods and I learned how to make it myself many years ago. The first time I made it for Brian he was hooked and now says no other cheesecake can compare. Despite all that, at a steakhouse somewhere on a business trip, I once tasted a cheesecake baked inside a short crust and it was so good that I've thought about it many times over the years. When I saw Sofie's photo, I instantly flashed back to it.
For the Crust:
2 Cups all purpose flour
2 Sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1/3 Cup sugar
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt
In a stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add the egg and continue mixing until it forms a dough ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
For the Filling:
3 Cups ricotta cheese (I only had part-skim and Sofie said that was fine)
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/4 Teaspoon salt
4 Large eggs (I used 3 jumbo eggs)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 Cup all purpose flour (recipe calls for part flour and part corn starch but I didn't have the latter)
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, combine the cheese, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Add the butter and than the flour and mix in thoroughly. I actually used a food processor for this to get the smoothest texture possible.
To assemble the cake, line a 9" spring-form pan with the crust dough. Now here is where I have an apparent inability to follow simple directions because I decided to roll out the dough, drape it over a rolling pin and lay it into the pan, pie style, despite Sofie's clear direction to not do it that way because it won't work. The reason it doesn't work, incidentally, is that the dough is short (meaning with lots of butter) and crumbly and will break into many pieces if you do it that way. So, don't do it that way. Listen to Sofie and do it by placing the dough inside the pan and pushing it up the sides with your fingers or even the bottom of a glass.
After you've gotten the dough into the pan, prick the bottom with a fork a few times and sprinkle on a tablespoon of plain breadcrumbs. Um...OK, I didn't do that either. In my own defense, it was Sunday and there was rather a lot of napping going on in between steps. My cake was fine but the crust would have benefited slightly had I added the breadcrumbs and it is a step that I usually take with my savory tarts to keep the crust from getting soggy.