Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Red-tail Hawk Watching and Cheesecake

This blog leans toward gardening, but it rambles through a world full of wonder on the way.  My post today is the result of meeting some fun, entertaining folks on a similar journey.  If you've seen The Big Year, you've probably formed an opinion of birdwatchers.  No matter.  Having spent waaaaay too much time over the past couple of weeks hanging out with the other people glued to the New York Times hawk nest cam, I can attest to their broad range of interests and sharp wit.  Regardless of our different time zones and backgrounds, it seems that sooner or later the chat turns to the common themes of music and/or food when the objects of our adoration do a face plant and go into food comas after their parents, Rosie and Bobby, have served up a good meal to the little eyases.   (Go on, look it up.  Like poikilothermic, it's a good word to know.  Special thanks to JB for that one.)

Boo and Scout on April 23, 2012

This post is for my new nest watching friends.  I promised them my recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake,  the simplest cheesecake recipe  in the world and a perfect palette for those juicy, fresh berries and stone fruits that will soon flood our farmers' markets.  It's delicious made with a high quality ricotta with a rich flavor of its own, even better made with a complex homemade ricotta of the style found at Salvatore Brooklyn.  If you've the time, check out this recipe on one of the world's best food blogs and make your own, but don't feel pressured to do so in order to make the cake.  Really, keep it simple so you can get back to nest watching.

The basic ratio is one pound of ricotta to 2 large eggs, 1/4 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp.cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Typically, I use a 9" springform pan and triple the ratio as shown in the recipe below.  But sometimes, I use a smaller individual springform and use the basic amounts.  Even if you're using an expensive pan that says it can't leak, my advice is to cover the bottom and up the sides with a double layer of foil.  Butter the inside of the pan generously and set aside.  Preheat your oven to 325 degrees while mixing the ingredients.

Ricotta Cheesecake
3 pounds full fat ricotta ("whole milk ricotta")
6 eggs, extra large or large
3/4 cup milk, 2% or 4%
11/2 cups granulated sugar, or less if preferred
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Prep your pan as described above.  Whisk all ingredients together until smooth (or use an electric mixer if ricotta is very thick.)  Pour into prepared pan and bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours.  The center will puff up very slightly and the batter will be completely set.

Allow to stand at room temp at least one hour before refrigerating. I like to bake this the day before serving but it's not necessary.  Enjoy!


GhentArt said...

What a nice post and nice blog, Aus TX. I have bookmarked it to read and explore more thoroughly later.
—Ghent Art (Ghent2)

vbdb said...

GhentArt - thanks for your perseverance in leaving a comment and letting me know how difficult it was. Several others tried and couldn't get Blogger to cooperate. Appreciate you stopping by. Enjoy the cheesecake.

DJ/Meander Mountain said...

Vicki, so glad to meet you in Asheville. Hope the pf is better. I want to try your cheesecake recipe!

Flower Pot said...

One thing's for sure: your cheesecake recipe is not (wait for it!...the birds.!

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