Every few months, my aunty comes around to our home (or we go to hers) and my dad and I are always eager-eyed and ready to absord her honed culinary skills. The three of us are united by our interest in cooking and occasionally we will unwind after long hours in the kitchen and sit down to one of our favourite SBS food programs, “Food Safari” . We inject our comments and presumptuous remarks on how the fancy food can or should some-how be replicated for the home. It certainly makes for lively and interactive pre-recorded TV watching!
My dad has admitted he has a weakness for Cheesecake and so one afternoon, when it was pouring rain and the right atmosphere for dessert, we decided to invite our aunty around to bring her plethora of baking utensils and help us in the kitchen to make the much-loved traditional Italian dessert from Food Safari’s Loretta Sartori.
1 x 26 cm disc of shortcrust pastry-baked and sides at 6cm high
350g cream cheese, at room temperature
650g fresh ricotta cheese
80 mL cream
80g almond meal
80g orange peel
100g sultanas, (optional: soaked in rum)
Sweet Shortcrust Dough
100g castor sugar
200g unsalted butter
300g plain flour
Making pastry: cream the butter and sugar in a food mixer until light and pale. Add the egg and continue creaming until it’s absorbed. Stop the mixer and add the flour, mix until combined. Wrap this dough in plastic and chill for a good hour or two. After it’s chilled, knead the dough lightly to soften, then roll it out with a touch of flour to dust. Measure the dough to fit a 26 cm round disc, and the sides at 6cm high with the remaining shortcrust dough. After lining the base with pastry, cover the wall of the ring that forms the sides of the cheesecake. Trim off any excess dough. Then, bake at 180°C for 15 minutes to brown it.
Making filling: Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick. Set aside. In a food mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Then, add the fresh ricotta and beat until smooth. Add the cream, then gradually add the whisked eggs. Mix until it is well combined. Fold in the almond meal, orange peel and sultanas.Transfer into the prepared pastry base.
Baking the cheesecake: Bake for a further hour at 180°C. When it’s cool, use a sifter to dust with icing sugar.
Serve: Enjoy at room temperature over strong coffee or tea. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen for a month or so.