Ricotta Cheesecake with Blackberries

This makes a decadent cheesecake – you can use whatever berries are in season, just make sure they are the peak of ripeness!

FOR THE CRUST

  • 1 c toasted pecan pieces
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

FOR THE FILLING

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 32-ounce whole milk ricotta
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp amaretto (rum or Grand Marnier may be substituted)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 8 ozs (about 2-1/2 c) fresh berries

Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the crust: place the almonds, flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until the nuts are finely chopped and the mixture looks sandy. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, cooled melted butter and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the nut mixture and pulse several times until the ingredients are well combined, moistened and crumbly. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and, using your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup, press into an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill; then bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the cream cheese, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the ricotta and process until the mixture is smooth and light, another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing for 5-10 seconds between each addition. Add the vanilla, amaretto, cornstarch and orange zest and process until mixture is just combined (do not overmix).

Pour the filling into the crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake the cheesecake for about 50 – 60 minutes, until the top is lightly golden, the edges are set and the center is quite jiggly but not totally liquid (it will continue to cook as it cools). Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the sides then cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours or overnight.

For the topping: After the cake has chilled, place the berries evenly over top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan and slice.

Serves 8 – 10.

Baked Zucchini Sticks

These are from Skinny Taste and they are so good! I did season generously with TJs Everything But the Elote Seasoning.

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 medium zuks, cut into quarters lengthwise
  • 3 egg whites
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 c bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s Everything but they Elote seasoning

Preheat over to 425. Spray a large baking sheet and rack to keep the zuks off the bottom of the tray.

Combine the egg whites, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs, seasoning and cheese in another shallow bowl.

Dip the zucchini strips in the egg, shake and coat in the breadcrumbs, place on the rack.

Bake until golden brown and tender about 23 – 25 minutes.

Serves 4.

Applesauce Cake with Oatmeal Streusel

Hubby wanted a coffee cake for his birthday cake – here’s what I came up with, it’s so moist.

Streusel:

  • 1 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp butter

Cake:

  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c u sweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs, lightly beatne
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c vegetable or nut oi

Preheat oven to 350. Geese a 12 c Bundt pan.

In a mixer combine the streusel ingredients, best until crumbly. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Place dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, mix to combine. Add eggs and applesauce, stir to combine, add remaining ingredients and mix till smooth.

Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the pan, too with 1/2 the batter, spread the remaining batter, and finished with the remains batter.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is browned.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then flip out onto a plate.

Serves 10 – 12.

Cucumber and Basil Salad

This is a refreshing and easy summer salad. Patricia Wells never disappoints. Use a mandoline to make quick work of the slicing.

  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced paper thin
  • 1 c fresh basil leaves

Dressing

  • 1/4 c basil oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine the oil and lemon juice in a small jar.

Toss the remaining ingredients in a bowl, then toss with a little dressing, adding a little more to ensure everything is coated. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4.