AKA ‘Not My Aunties’ Cheesecake’
Decades ago, as a young girl, I was obsessed with my (now late) Aunties’ (Leah and Myrna) cheesecake. They were both excellent home cooks and I am so sorry that I didn’t take the opportunity when it was still possible to stand in their kitchens and learn.
Back to the cheesecake. It was dense but light, not too sweet and had a pastry lattice on the top. I was given a scribbled version of the recipe (without a comprehensive method) some years later and I have never been able to recreate it. Every few years I go back to it and try again thinking ‘this time I’ll get it’.
Natanya and I spent a few months last year trying out different iterations of the Hungarian Cheese Cake from our first book along with several different dough recipes and we ended up with this: a glorious ricotta cheesecake that reminds me of the old world and of my dear aunties.
For my taste, this cake is best eaten after being in the fridge for a while – a couple of hours is enough. I find warm cheesecakes too eggy at times! If it has been in the fridge overnight, remove an hour or two before serving. (And if it lasts that long, it will keep for days in the fridge).
Ricotta Lattice Cheesecake
- 200 g self-raising flour 7 oz
- 85 g cold unsalted butter chopped, 3 oz
- 1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar superfine
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 50 g Sour Cream 1 3/4 oz
- 400 g ricotta drained if wet, or quark cheese, 14 oz
- 115 g caster sugar 1/2 cup, superfine
- 4 eggs separated
- 150 g Sour Cream 5 1/3 oz
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- pinch of salt
- Line the base of a 20 cm (8 inch) springform tin.
- Preheat the oven to 170℃ (340℉). If using a fan forced oven, reduce the temperature 15 - 20℃.
- To make the pastry, combine the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until it forms crumbs.
- In a small cup, combine the egg yolk and sour cream and then add to the food processor. Pulse until a ball of dough is formed around the blade. This may take a minute or so. Weigh the dough (it should be around 360 g) and set aside 100 g for the lattice/rim.
- On a lightly floured benchtop, roll the larger piece of dough into a circle large enough to come just over half way up the sides of the tin. Gently press into the tin so that the base is covered and the pastry comes just over half way up the sides.
- If you wish to make a lattice for the top, roll out the smaller piece of dough on a well floured benchtop. Roll thinly and cut into 1 1/2 cm wide strips. Gather the scraps and roll into strips. Set aside, covered with a clean tea towel. If you prefer a cake without a lattice, roll the smaller piece of dough into a long sausage the length of the rim of the cake.
- To make the filling, beat the ricotta with the sugar until smooth. Add the yolks, sour cream and vanilla and beat well until luscious and smooth. Add the flour and mix to combine.
- In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are just past soft peaks (but not stiff). Gently fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture and pour into the prepared pastry lined tin.
- Gently place the lattice strips on the top of the cheese mixture, criss crossing in both directions. If you do not want a lattice, place the sausage on the inside rim of the tin above the cheese mixture and press onto the pastry which should just be showing above the cheese mixture.
- Bake for 1 hour or until golden on top and still with just a slight wobble. The cake may rise and crack, and then fall. Don't worry!
- Allow to cool completely and remove from the tin. Place on a serving plate, cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
- Keeps well for several days in the fridge. Remember to bring it out of the fridge a couple of hours before eating.