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
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.
200g digestive biscuits
1/2 cup almond meal
125g butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup caster sugar
300g cream cheese
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
⅓ cup plain flour
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.
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
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
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