Every time I make cheese I also make ricotta. Apart from anything else, it cuts down the pollution factor in getting rid of the whey. I had a few little bags of ricotta in the freezer this week, and thought I might try a cheesecake experiment. Joe Pastry blogged about New York cheesecake the other day; I'd never heard of the stuff - it turns out to be baked cheesecake without the crust. A number of Joe's correspondents mentioned using dairy foods other than cream cheese in its manufacture, so I thought I'd have a go. I also wanted to test a theory I have about baking in plastic wrap.
I put my aliquots of ricotta in the food processor along with a good big dollop of my home-made yoghurt and four eggs …
… whizzed it up until it was as smooth as it was going to get (not terribly, as my ricotta always has remnants of cheese curd in it) then added a cup or so of sugar and the zest and juice of two lemons …
… I whizzed it again, then poured it into a Gladwrap-lined caketin. I had this theory that the plastic wouldn't melt in the oven so long as it was all touching either something cool (the cheesecake) or something that was in contact with a cool thing and has excellent heat conduction qualities (the metal pan). Michael Ruhlman's terrines in Charcuterie are baked in plastic wrap and it doesn't melt, but they wrap right around the cooking meat and will never get hotter than 70°C or so.
Well, my theory turned out to be correct, I put the tin of mix into a 150°C oven in a bain marie and left it there until it was set, about an hour. Here it is, just out of the oven:
As soon as it was cool enough I turned the cake out of the tin. The plastic peeled off beautifully, not in the least bit melted. I ground some Lust over the cake and cut myself a slice, which I ate with more yoghurt:
Rather nice if I do say so myself. Smoother might be better, but I'm not sure. It's quite low calorie too.
And that's what I've been snacking on this morning while making these little dresses for my granddaughters and a friend's daughter: