Many of you may not know this about me but I am addicted to cheesecake. It is one of those addictions that allows me to function fully in my everyday life and almost everyone I know would be none the wiser that I have this serious problem. I am lucky that there are no outward signs, no trembling hands, no dilated pupils, no incoherent speech. But, trust me, it is a very real and dangerous addiction. Mark my words. It started with the cookie-cutter cheesecakes of my youth – all loud with cream cheese, lemon, sour cream and almost unbreakable biscuit base. These cheesecakes – they took no prisioners. I was a goner from the first bite. Like a moth to a flame, as my taste developed so too did my need for more adventure – the addition of sour cream, a ginger nut base, fruit or chocolate adornment – nothing could stop me. Scanning menus at restaurants, peering into glass cabinets – I was the one who would suggest dessert, offering to share without really meaning it, I would bully my companion – just order the cheesecake, I would say. “You’re allergic to dairy? Oh well, more for me.” Like all addictions, it crept up on me. Soon I was driving kilometres out of my way to have that great cheesecake, almost weeping if it wasn’t available. Sometime during the 90s I made a break – I’m not sure how but now it is back with a vengeance. I blame this wholly on Pearl Cafe in Woolloongabba. Their cheesecake – whoa nelly – is it good! Smooth, light, not too rich, room temperature, soft crispy base – it is, hands down, the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. And I have eaten A LOT. It has become my Friday treat – a slice of this amazing cheesecake and a Genovese coffee – what a way to start the weekend!! I have been scouring the earth for a recipe that comes close to the beauty of this cheesecake and I think I have it nailed. I am hoping, praying, that by making it myself my laziness will manage to curb my addiction. I know what you are thinking – I am just fooling myself. Tis true.
Packet of good quality Anzac biscuits or 20 homemade ones
550gms fresh ricotta
750gms cream cheese (that is 3 x 250 grams packets)
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Line the base of a 24cm spring form pan with baking paper. Process Anzac biscuits until crumbs. Pour into a bowl and add melted butter till they loosely come together. Tip into spring form pan and press down evenly around the base. Make sure you don’t press down too much or you won’t be able to cut your cake. Use an electric mixer to beat the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs until combined. Pour mixture into the spring form pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake in oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until just set and lightly golden on top. Cool then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 – 5 hours. Take out cake and allow to come to room temperature. I served this with strawberries because, um, well that is another addiction.
Let me know what you think? Do you have a recipe that beats all others? Am I the only addict out there? Whose in for forming a support group??? We could meet over a piece of cheesecake…oh no, I guess that would be a bad idea huh?