I am so glad I decided to make a cheesecake this weekend. Because this cheesecake is so damn good. I seem to be a little addicted to roasting fruit at the moment. Roasted strawberries are officially my new favourite thing. Coat them in a bit of brown sugar and balsamic and they turn into decadent, glossy pieces of heaven in the oven. And strawberries are really cheap in Australia at the moment so it was the perfect time to make this.
I decided to pair these roasted strawberries with another of my favourites; ginger. One of my favourite cheesecake crusts is made with Ginger Nut biscuits, I just love that zing of spices and the super crunchy texture of the biscuits. Though the rock-hard biscuits were a bit of a bitch to break up into crumbs; in the battle of food processor bowl vs. ginger nuts, the ginger nuts clearly won. Poor broken food processor.
The fluffy cheesecake filling is made with cream cheese and ricotta, which makes it fairly light for a baked cheesecake. I added hints of ginger and strawberry to the filling with ground ginger and crystallised ginger pieces and lots of strawberry jam. It really helps to bring the flavours of the topping and the base together.
Ugh, I am so in love with these roasted strawberries. I could sit there and eat a whole dish of them with some whipped cream. So effing good. It really does make the perfect topping for a cheesecake, especially with that thick caramelised glaze. You could even make a double batch of the strawberries and blend half of them into the cheesecake rather than using strawberry jam, but I didn't have enough strawberries to try that.
If you've never tried ricotta cheesecakes before, you should definitely give this recipe a go. There is much fluffy, happy cheesecakey goodness to look forward to. I am totally eating a piece of cheesecake for breakfast as I type this.
Roasted Strawberry & Ginger Ricotta Cheesecake
(makes one 20cm cheesecake, serves 8-10)
80g butter (about 3/4 stick butter), melted
330g (11.6oz) cream cheese, softened
500g ricotta (17.6oz) ricotta
1 cup strawberry jam
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped glace or crystallised ginger
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1.5 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1.5 tbsp water
For the strawberries:
2 punnets (500g) fresh strawberries
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 165°C (330°F) (150°C(300°F) for fan-forced), grease and line the base of a 20cm round springform tin. Place ginger nut biscuits in a food processor and pulse until they are broken down to even crumbs. Add butter and pulse to combined. Press into the base of your prepared tin and chill in fridge for 30 mins.
Prepare the filling; place cream cheese, ricotta, strawberry jam, ground ginger, glace ginger & lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Mix water and cornflour together in a separate bowl until smooth and then add the mixture and the eggs to the food processor bowl, pulse until combined. (If you don't have a processor, beat cream cheese and ricotta until smooth and fluffy in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high. Add the rest of the ingredients and then beat again until smooth.) Pour mixture over the chilled base and bake for an hour. The edges should be just golden and the centre might still be wobbly. Do not remove cheesecake from oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed and allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for another hour. Then remove from the oven and sit in tin on a wire rack until completely cool.
Prepare the strawberries; hull and halve the berries and then place in a single layer in an oven-proof dish. Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Add brown sugar to berries and toss to coat. Pour over balsamic and toss again. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, berries should be softened and the glaze will thicken as it cools. Set aside to cool completely, then remove cheesecake from tin and top with berries before serving. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge overnight (if not serving immediately keep the strawberries separate until ready to serve).