I’m a bit weird in that I don’t like cheesecake. More specifically, I don’t like the traditional cheesecake which is made with cream cheese. I find it too dense and the flavour too overwhelming. If you’re looking for a lighter, airier cheesecake with a more subtle flavour, this Italian cheesecake is for you. This cheesecake is incredibly light thanks to the whipped egg whites. It has an almost cake-like crumb texture due to the ricotta. But the mascarpone keeps it very much in the cheesecake territory by giving it just enough richness and creaminess.
I always make this cheesecake with fresh homemade ricotta and mascarpone, but I don’t think any issues would arise from using store-bought cheese. For the base, I went with a shortcrust pastry this time. But I’ve made this cheesecake with other crusts like a traditional cracker crust and an oatmeal crust, and they all tasted pretty great. You can even bake it without the base if you prefer.
I recently bought a bottle of passion fruit jam from a brand called NaturUp and I’d been dying to use it on some dessert, so I used it as the topping on this cheesecake. It was so good! You can use any kind of jam as a topping, of course, but the ones with a tart flavour will taste the best with this cheesecake.
The process of making this cheesecake is fairly simple, but I’ve included a few tips to get a perfect cheesecake every time. The first step is making the crust.
It is a standard shortcrust pastry that you make by creaming butter and powdered sugar together and then, folding in flour, an egg yolk, vanilla extract and salt. You will need to refrigerate the dough before you blind bake it to ensure you get a nice even crust. Then, you press the dough into a springform pan (no rolling involved here!) and bake it with baking weights first and then without. If you don’t have baking weights, you can use dry rice like I’ve used here.
Once the baked crust has cooled down, you can prepare your cheesecake filling. Make sure all the ingredients that you use for your filling is at room temperature, or else your cheesecake top might crack or sink while baking. First you start by whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. Then, you need to beat the ricotta, mascarpone, sugar and cornstarch in a separate bowl just for 15 seconds or so until they mix together. You don’t want to overbeat as it might incorporate too much air and cause your cheesecake to crack. Add in the egg yolks and vanilla extract, and mix again for 15 seconds. Fold in the whipped egg whites and your filling is ready. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
Now you have to bake the cheesecake in a water bath. Cover the bottom of your springform pan with aluminium foil and place the pan in a larger, deep pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan up to about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Now put this whole set up into the oven and bake it until the top is a light golden brown. Let it cool completely before refrigerating it uncovered for at least 5 hours. Tada! Now you have a beautiful cheesecake 🙂
All that’s left to do is spread the topping on it, slice it and serve! 🙂
Doesn’t it look gorgeous? <3
Ricotta Mascarpone Cheesecake with Passionfruit ToppingCourse: DessertCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Moderate
17 inch cheesecake
Airy, fluffy Italian cheesecake
100g unsalted butter, cold but softened
170g all purpose flour
1 egg yolk
45g powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Cheesecake Filling:
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
2/3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup passion fruit jam
1 tbsp water
- Make the base: Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add vanilla, salt and egg yolk. Mix well. Fold in the flour until just combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 190 C. After 30 minutes, press the chilled dough into a parchment lined springform pan evenly on the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides. Line the inside of the pan with aluminium foil and pour baking weights or dry rice into it. Bake for 25 minutes. Then remove the alumium foil and baking weights and bake for another 25 minutes until the base is golden. Let cool completely.
- Make the filling: Preheat oven to 175 C. Whip egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, beat ricotta, mascarpone, cornstarch, salt and sugar for about 15 to 20 seconds until mixture becomes fairly creamy. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat for another 15 seconds until smooth. Fold in the whipped egg whites using a spatula, without deflating too much of the air whipped into the egg whites. Pour the filling into the cooled base. Line springform pan’s exterior with aluminium foil and place in a deep roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan. Turn heat down to 150 C and place the water bath setup in the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.* Turn off the oven and crack the door open slightly. Cool the cheesecake inside the oven for about 30 minutes and then take it out. Let cool completely before refrigerating uncovered for at least 5 hours.
- Make the topping: Heat water and jam in a small pan until jam melts and mixes with the water. Don’t let the mixture boil. Let cool slightly. Pour warm topping over the cheesecake and let cool completely. The jam will thicken as it cools down.
- Cut into slices and serve.
- Bake the cheesecake only until the top is slightly browned. Overbaking will lead to a dry cheesecake.
Are you looking for other creamy, delicious desserts to try? How about this Cardamom Panna Cotta with Pistachios and Rose Syrup?
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