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Friday, August 29, 2008

A cake for the Weekend: Rose Water and Orange Blossom Cheesecake

A cheesecake is one of my favorite cakes. I have baked so many different recipes until I got bored. In this recipe I tried to make things more interesting by adding rose water and orange blossom water which I buy at a Mediterranean store. They are so fragrant and add a complex flavor the cake. A little goes a long way. If you don’t feel like using these ingredients, use honey instead.

Rose Water and Orange Blossom Cheesecake

For the bottom:
8 ounces graham crackers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 (12-ounce) container ricotta, whole or part-skim
2 packages cream cheese, whole or part-skim, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon rose water*
1 tablespoon orange blossom water*
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 large eggs, room temperature

For the top:
Sliced seasonal fruit (now it is a good time for figs, berries, nectarines)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grind the crackers in a food processor. Add the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 12 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

Wipe the processor bowl and save to make the filling.
Wrap the outside of the pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil.

Blend the ricotta and the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, rose water, orange blossom, lemon zest, and honey and blend well, stopping the machine 1-2 times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, and pulse just until blended.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the foil-wrapped pan in a larger roasting pan. Pour hot tap water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden, about 1 hour and 5 minutes (the center of the cake will move slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, but it will become firm when the cake is cold).

Remove the cake from the water bath and foil and cool on a rack. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, 5-8 hours. Serve with seasonal fruits.

Bake with your kids.
Kids can help with: bringing ingredients, cracking eggs (wash hands after handling raw eggs), pulse the food processor (they just love that! But stay close to them and watch them. Explain about safety in the kitchen), opening packages, measuring.

Have a sweet weekend.

More cakes:
Orange Hazelnut Honey Cake
Black Forest Chocolate Roulade
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Crostata with Summer Fruit
Blueberry crumb cake

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