With the holiday season past us, I just have to glance at the remnants of cookies, cakes, chocolates, candies and other sweet delights that made my blood sugar climb and acknowledge my pants do feel a bit tighter. That said, this time of year is as much about future planning as it is about remembering the fun stuff, the joy of letting loose a little, and basking in fond memories with family and friends. Even our Camosun Culinary Arts students are sharing memories of being ‘voluntold’ into applying their cooking skills for loved ones over the holiday season!
With every start into a New Year, I want to be able to set goals that will continue to turn the remaining cold, dark winter days into more bright, warm hospitable activities I can share with others. I love the summer sun and heat as much as anyone, but I do have to admit that laughter, a nice glass of whatever and the good company of family and friends around a roaring fire is hard to beat!
With all that said, it would be sad to neglect, when offered, a piece of a decadent dessert like the Roman Baked Cheesecake recipe in this issue! The recipe is a little bit different in that it does take a certain level of care and attention. But I assure you, it is well worth the effort. Your friends and family will be amazed at the levels of complexity and deliciousness wrapped up in the delicate, sweet pastry tart. You can make it full size or, if you have individual shells, bake one for each of your guests.
If you are nervous about the pastry, there is no reason to shy away from this recipe. Go and buy the ready-made ones from the freezer section of your grocery store and work it from there. Customize the dried fruit in the ‘cheesecake’ with whatever your favourite fruits are. I like to soak the dried fruit in orange liqueur or brandy overnight for that extra oomph! This delicacy is lighter than regular cheesecake, but still offers richness and extravagance for whatever special occasion you have in mind in the New Year.
Find all of Steven’s contact info on the Camosun Culinary Arts portal listing page here on GoWestShore.
Roman Baked Cheesecake
Yield: 1 x 24cm/9” pan
300g 1 1/3 cups All-purpose flour
40g 1/2 cup Icing sugar
2.5ml 1/2 tsp Salt
180g 1 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature
4 Egg yolks
45ml 3 tbsp Marsala wine
5ml 1 tsp Lemon zest
1,250g 1 tsp Ricotta
60g 1 tsp Sugar
5g 1 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
5ml 1 tsp Vanilla
5ml 1 tsp Orange zest
4 Egg yolks
15g 1/8 cup Raisins
15g 1/8 cup Cranberries, dried
15g 1/8 cup Apricots, dried, diced small
25g 3/8 cup Pine nuts
1 Egg white
15ml 2 1/2 tsp Water
- Sift flour, sugar and salt into mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Add butter, yolks, Marsala, zest. Work the mixture together with your fingertips, until all ingredients are combined. Do not over mix.
- Gather into a ball. If the dough is greasy, refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut off ¼ of the dough, wrap and set aside.
- Form the rest of the dough into a flat round and roll into a circle about 30cm/12” in diameter. Line a prepared 24cm/9” tart pan (Straight sides. May be fluted.)
- Roll the ¼ piece of dough into a 12cm/5” diameter circle and cut into 1cm/½” strips.
- Combine Ricotta, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, zest and yolks and beat thoroughly until mixed. Stir in the dried fruits.
- Spread filling evenly into prepared pastry shell. Sprinkle with pine nuts.
- Form a lattice design on top with the pastry strips. Brush with egg white mixed with water.
- Bake at 175°C/350˚F for approximately 60-70 minutes. Remove ring and cool on a rack