Does this picture have your attention? Good. Now I’m going to do a bait ‘n switch because this is not the cheesecake I’m about to share with you. Mine is better. And I’m making this Corsican Lemon Cheesecake tomorrow for you, so I’ll be posting the photo on Tuesday.
I love cheesecake. Achieving that dense but light, rich but not so sweet balance that this cheesecake offers is a challenge of victor for even the best Cheesecake Masters.
Try this one. You can add a crust, but why add an extra step that really isn’t necessary. You don’t even need a blender or food processor to master this at home, which is why I rely on it time after time. It’s virtually fool proof, but professionally refined. Seriously, you will adore this recipe and cherish it for life.
I first made something similar when I was living in Brescia which is in the Northern alps of Italy. But Corsica, which is the region this dish is named after, is a little French island in the Mediterranean Sea, geographically to the west of Italy and lies north east of the french mainland. It’s cuisine is a fusion of French and Italian influences and the lady who gave me the original recipe of my own version was born in Corsica. Did you know that Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica? See now that’s a little Dinner Party Diva conversation starter right there!
See my tips at the bottom for bringing out the best in your cheesecake. Enjoy this one. It’s spectacular as a dessert course served with fresh fruit and edible colored flowers, if you can find some. If not, try candied lemon (even store bought is ok) or short of that, a thinly sliced lemon, cut in half and dipped in castor sugar and frozen works beautifully. Just stand it upright on every slice of cheesecake you serve your guests. They’ll feel so special!
Corsica Lemon Cheesecake (Torta di Limone da Corsica)
- 1kg ricotta cheese, drained overnight*
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 6 eggs (free range if possible)
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.
Line the base and sides of a 23cm cheesecake or springform pan with baking paper (unbleached will make your cheesecake too brown).
Using a large bowl and a silicon spatula, stir the ricotta until smooth and creamy.
Add sugar and flour until the ricotta until blended through.
Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition.
Stir in all remaining ingredients and pour into prepared cheesecake pan.
Bake for 75-90 minutes.
The cheesecake shouldn’t be wobbly in the centre, nor brown on top.
You will know its ready when a knife comes out clean.
Cool on a baking rack for 2 hours.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled. I find the longer, the better (a good 5 or 6 hours at minimum).
* For this recipe, it’s really important to drain the ricotta overnight in the fridge. Place muslin or cheese cloth around your ricotta and tie it up like a sack. Hang it off a fridge shelf, and place a bowl underneath it to collect the whey (watery bits). If you miss this step, your cheesecake will be too runny.
*Consider using a good quality cheesecake pan which has sold sides and a removable base insert (like a tart pan), rather than a springform pan which can leak after time, and has springs that can get rusty, and a lip at the bottom which can often damage your cheesecakes when you try to release them from the pan.
* You can also use different sized pans for this recipe, just adjust your cooking time accordingly. The wider the pan, the less cooking time required. Always check for doneness by ensuring a knife comes out clean.
* Shall we make it fancy? Melt some chocolate in a double boiler, and using a piping bag, pipe overlapping circles of chocolate onto baking paper. If you make your design the length of a slice of cheesecake, and wider on one end than the other, you can poke it upright, onto the length of your slice, once the chocolate has set in the fridge. Try not to touch it with your hands too much- any oils or heat from your fingers will take the sheen off your chocolate.
* If a cheesecake should ever get damaged coming out of the pan… NEVER throw out. Providing you’re happy with the texture and flavor… just crumble up some biscuit, or shortbread in a circle or a line on your plate, and place shards or curds of the cheesecake over it. You can add any combination of fresh fruit, toasted coconut flakes, cubes of jelly, home made fruit jubes, mousse, cream, honeycomb or wafer cigars to finish a restaurant quality deconstructed cheesecake. Just get your flavor profile right by using other recipes as a guide:
Ginger, lime & coconut (think black sesame and honey here)
Chocolate & orange (+/- ginger)
Lemon & lime (with papaya sauce, pineapple mousse or dried pineapple and chocolate)
Raspberry & hazelnut
Cherry & almond
Blueberry, cranberry & orange (think dried cranberries set in a line of melted white chocolate and used as textural interest on your plate) or poppy seed tuille or even just the poppy seed densely sprinkled against the edges of your slice.
Just have fun and experiment!