My dear children Moineau and Georges have both been home sick for days up till yesterday with fevers, chills coughs… As any mother, I’ve had sleepless nights. Between checking their temperature, giving meds and hearing their poor coughing and cries, its been hard to have a good nights sleep for the whole family. It’s Friday December 1st now and I’m two blogs behind, Christmas shopping still not done, and now sick as a dog.
Yet I don’t feel stressed. At least not compared to when I had my flower shop. This time of year was hell for me in the past. It was non-stop starting November 1st until Christmas eve. It felt like the phone never stopped ringing, my inbox was always full and my fingers were permanently black from all the various evergreen saps. There was never enough hours in the day. I remember arranging client outdoor planters before the crack of dawn, using my truck head lights as makeshift lighting since the sun had not yet risen.
This year will be my third Christmas without the business. Being behind on a bit of shopping doesn’t concern me. But I have to admit, skipping a couple blogs does. So last night when the kids were sleeping, I began to bake. I decided ricotta cheesecake with white chocolate and pine nuts because its a cake that needs to be refrigerated for a few hours and still tastes great a few days later. Perfect for later when we’re all feeling better.
It’s a lighter type of cheesecake which is what I love about it. It’s part cream cheese and part ricotta which makes it lighter then a full-on cream cheese cheesecake. The white chocolate is subtle and adds perfect sweetness. The pine nuts and digestive cookie crust of course give it a nutty texture and taste.
Both sick and tired, Pierre and I indulged in the cake for breakfast with a cup of lemon tea. Typically I share my baked goods with my neighbours and friends. Not this time. We wouldn’t want to share our cold….cough cough.
- 160 g/6 oz/1 1/2 cups/10-12 Peak Freans digestive cookies ground finely in food processor or in ziplock with rolling pin
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 830 g/30 oz/4 cups of ricotta cheese (have it sit in a cheesecloth over mesh strainer overnight or buy low moisture ricotta cheese and squeeze out excess moisture with cheescloth
- 340 G/12 oz/2 cups cream cheese
- 100 g/5 oz/2/3 cup of white chocolate melted and cooled
- 4 eggs
- 30 g/1 oz/1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 60 g/1.75 oz/1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon organic lemon rind
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
- Pinch of salt
- 100 g/3.5 oz/2/3 cup of Pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C
- Take a bowl and mix the finely ground digestive cookie crumbs with melted butter until all the crumbs are moist.
- Put the crumbs in a 9 inch springform pan and cover the entire bottom. Press using your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup until the crumbs are evenly distributed on the bottom. Sprinkle 3/4 of the pine nuts on the crust and spread out evenly. Set aside.
- Double wrap the bottom of the springform pan with aluminum foil. This is so the water from the bain marie doesn't seep into the cake pan.
- Boil about 4 litres of water for the bain marie (water bath)
- Melt white chocolate in microwave oven for 30 seconds, pull out and stir well. Heat another 30 seconds and stir. Keep doing 30 second intervals until chocolate has thoroughly melted. Set aside so it may cool.
- In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until soft and creamy about 5 minutes.
- Add the drained ricotta cheese and mix again for about 4 minutes.
- Mix in the cooled white chocolate slowly, then the flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, beating after each ingredient has been added.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Beat until incorporated but do not over beat.
- Pour the boiled water into a shallow roasting pan, about 1 inch high and place on middle rack of preheated oven.
- Bake for about 1 hour until the top is slightly browning and is jiggly to the touch in the centre.
- Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for a couple hours still in the springform pan before putting in the fridge covered with plastic. Let it chill in fridge ideally overnight or at least 2 hours before serving.
- Sprinkle the remaining pine nuts to garnish.
- Biscoff, Speculoos or graham crackers are good substitutes for the digestive cookie crust.
- Try not to over beat once you've added the eggs. Over beating eggs creates air pockets in your cake.
- Bain marie helps avoid cracks in your cheesecake.
- When the cake is ready, let it sit in the oven for 5 -7 minutes with the oven door ajar. This helps the cake adjust to the temperature change. Sometimes a sudden temperature change will make the cake crack.