Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sour Apple Schnapps Cheesecake

Saturday we were invited to a gathering at the beach, and I wanted to take something to contribute. I had a five pound container of ricotta left over from the Renaissance Italian lunch, so thought cheesecake would be a good use. I decided to adapt the Greek style cheesecake I made for Gaslight Gathering.

I looked at what I had by way of flavorings, and decided I liked the idea of using sour apple schnapps. It's honestly not very good for drinking, but adds a nice flavor when cooked. I decided to make an almond crust, as I had plenty of them left over as well.

Because this style uses no egg yolks, and whips the whites into a meringue, it is a very light style, especially compared to the density of a New York style cheesecake. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

The sour apple flavor came through clearly. It is not overly sweet, rich enough to be satisfying without being heavy.

Sour Apple Schnapps Cheesecake

For the crust:
 4 oz. by wt. almonds
1/6 cup sugar
 8 oz. by wt. all purpose flour
 4 oz. by wt. butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt

In a heavy skillet, toast almonds over medium heat. Transfer to a food processor. Pulse several times. Add flour, sugar, and salt, process until nuts are finely ground.

Transfer nut mixture to a mixing bowl. Add butter, egg, and vanilla. Work by hand until ingredients are well mixed. Form into a ball, wrap balls in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least ten minutes.

For the cheesecake:
4 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
16 oz. by wt. ricotta cheese
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sour apple schnapps
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, mix together ricotta and schnapps, refrigerate.

In an ungreased ten inch spring form pan, press almond dough to form a 1/8 inch thick crust on the bottom, and about 3/4 inch up the sides of the pan.

 In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly beat in flour, sugar, and salt until eggs are medium stiff peaks. Beat in honey, until fully incorporated. Fold ricotta into egg whites until well blended, with no lumps of egg white or ricotta remaining.

 Pour batter into spring form pan, using a spatula to smooth to an even layer. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until cheesecake is resilient to the touch, and lightly browned. It should be a little jiggly in the center.

Remove from oven. Lightly dust with cinnamon powder. Place on cooling rack to cool. Refrigerate until serving time. Remove spring form ring when ready to serve.
Happy eating!

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