Say cheesecake

Baked or chilled, a cheesecake is always a beautiful thing. The chocolate and hazelnut slice is ideal as an afternoon treat for the kids, while the passionfruit cheesecake makes for a great end-of-meal show-stopper.

BAKED PASSIONFRUIT AND RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

http://images.dailylife.com.au/2013/04/02/4157642/353cheesecake1.jpg?rand=1364865424893

Using ricotta in a cheesecake gives it a slightly dry, grainy texture that reminds me of those gorgeous tarts you get in Italian pastry shops.

SERVES 10-12

200g digestive biscuits

1/2 cup almond meal

125g butter, melted and cooled

4 eggs

1/2 cup caster sugar

500g ricotta

300g cream cheese

grated zest and juice of 1 lime

⅓ cup plain flour

passionfruit syrup

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup passionfruit pulp

juice of 1 lime

For the passionfruit syrup, combine the sugar, passionfruit pulp and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes until thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line a 23cm-round springform tin with baking paper. Put the biscuits into a large sealable bag and bash with a rolling pin until you get fine crumbs. Tip into a bowl, add the almond meal and butter and mix well.

Press the mixture firmly into the base of the prepared tin and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.

To make the filling, lightly beat the eggs and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the ricotta, cream cheese, lime zest and juice, flour and 4 tbsp of the passionfruit syrup. Beat until well combined.

Pour the filling on top of the biscuit base.

Bake for 45 minutes or until just set, with a slight wobble in the middle. Switch off the oven, open the door a little and leave the cheesecake to cool completely. Spoon the remaining passionfruit syrup over the top before serving.

Bill's tip
I like the bitterness of the slice's filling, but if you prefer a sweeter dessert, add a little icing sugar to taste before filling the tin.

CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT CHEESECAKE SLICE  


http://images.dailylife.com.au/2013/04/02/4157655/353cheesecake2.jpg?rand=1364865421056 Cheesecake and chocolate in one will always win brownie points in my house. Saying these slices are rich is a huge understatement - you've been warned!

MAKES 18 SLICES

90g butter

¼ cup caster sugar

1 cup plain flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

600g cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

350g dark chocolate, melted

60g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

chocolate and hazelnut topping

100g dark chocolate, melted

25g toasted hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease and line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with non-stick baking paper.

For the biscuit base, place the butter, sugar, flour and cocoa powder in a large bowl and rub together with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture starts to look like moist, rough breadcrumbs. Press the mixture firmly into the base of the prepared tin and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes then set aside to cool.

Beat together the cream cheese and sour cream, until smooth. Fold through the chocolate and hazelnuts, then spoon the mixture over the prepared biscuit base, smoothing it out evenly. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

For the topping, pour the chocolate onto a piece of greaseproof paper and scatter with the hazelnuts. Chill in the fridge to set, then roughly chop and scatter over the cheesecake.

Cut the cake into 18 slices and serve.

Photography by Kristin Perers and Mikkel Vang. Food styling by Marina Filippelli and Rosie Reynolds. Props styling by Rachel Jukes

The story Say cheesecake first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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