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Everybody Say 'Cheese'

December 15, 2005
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Dairy is on the menu this time of year, along with that ubiquitous dose of cooking oil for the holiday. Still, no Chanukah celebration is complete without dessert.

The following recipes using ricotta cheese come from the Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook.

Ricotta Cheesecake

For Crust:

51/2 Tbsps.melted unsalted butter, divided
11/2 cups crushed lemon cookies or vanilla wafers

For Batter:

11/2 lbs. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract
21/2 tsps. grated lemon zest
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To Make Crust: Add 21/2 tablespoons of the melted butter to the crushed cookies.

Press over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Bake for 6 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

To Make Batter: In a food processor or mixer, blend eggs, ricotta cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth.

Add the baking powder to the cornstarch, then add to cheese mixture with vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, and the lemon zest.

Process, stopping machine to scrape down sides.

Add raisins, if desired.

Pour into cooled crust and bake for 60 minutes, or until set.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Ricotta Balls

1 lb. ricotta cheese
2 eggs
3 Tbsps. sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups self-rising cake flour
oil for frying
confectioners' sugar for dusting

Mix all the ingredients, except the oil and confectioners' sugar, in a mixer.

Heat oil in a deep fryer.

When the oil is hot, drop in mixture by tablespoons.

When ricotta balls rise to the surface and are browned on both sides, remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Makes 3 dozen balls.

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