Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, the joy of home ownership and the occasional rant!

Cheesecake, version 2.0

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Finally got around to creating a baked cheesecake today.  After my no-bake version (read about that one here) I wanted to try a baked one and see if I could amp up the “dessert” feel to it.

I have to say this turned out pretty damn good!

I just made this up as I went along – cheesecake is a pretty simple recipe really, so I just started throwing things together.

So, here is my Baked No-Sugar Cheesecake recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Base:

1 (+/-) cup ground almonds – I just dumped what was left in a small package into the dish

1/4 cup butter

2 squares of finely grated 70% cocoa baking chocolate (the chocolate keeps the base together)

Filling:

1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese

1 pint of ricotta cheese

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Finely grated zest of lemon (about a half to one teaspoon – or whatever you get off the one lemon!)

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup of no-sugar dried cranberries (the type I have were sweetened with apple juice) chopped finely

In a glass or ceramic dish (I used a large Pyrex pie plate) add the ground almonds and butter – microwave for 30 seconds (to melt the butter), then remove and mix until completely blended.  Mix the finely grated baking chocolate into the ground nuts/butter until evenly distributed.  Press firmly down – I put a piece of parchment paper over it and flattened with my hand.  Set aside.

In a 2-quart bowl beat the cream cheese until loose, add in the ricotta and continue beating on medium until well blended and smooth.  Increase speed to high for a minute, add eggs, one at a time and beat well before adding the next.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and juice.  Beat on high until well blended.  Add the cranberries and beat just enough to incorporate evenly.

Pour/dump the filling onto the base and level off in the dish.  Place the dish in the oven for 35-45 minutes.  Middle should be set (meaning not jiggling) when it is done.

Let it cool completely to room temperature, then place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.  Note: it will fall a little when it cools.

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The chocolate in the base keeps it holding together – it isn’t crunchy but does add a textural element.  I was a little worried about the nuts burning if I tried pre-baking it, but possibly it might help to crisp it up a little.  I will try that next time.

My oven likes to run hot – when I took it out it read 389F so, I need to watch that.  It turned a nice golden brown, which is fine, but not strictly required to be properly done.

This really turned out well.  The lemon makes it fruity and tangy, the cranberries gave it just enough “sweetness” to be dessert-y and it smelled fantastic baking!  There is a very subtle hint of Creme Brule on the palette (fancy eh?) which really hits the spot with me.

I had the first piece plain.  I’m going to have tomorrow’s piece with strawberries (just a tablespoon!)  That was too big a portion actually… but it smelled so good!  I ended up putting part of it back as I couldn’t finish.

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