A few years ago, I met fellow baker Bijay Thapa at a friend's place for the first time. Bijay brought with him this Japanese Cheesecake, which is also known as a cotton cheesecake. It was perhaps, the most delectable thing I've ever put in my mouth.
Like most good cheesecakes, this was baked. And like most cheesecake it tasted of good quality cake. But unlike most cheesecakes, it had a quality that was both light yet rich and dense at the same time. I obviously am not explaining it well, but you have to eat it to know what I mean.
Ofcourse, logic would say that you should put it away after one slice, but he had managed to throw in blueberries that were sitting in the bottom which made the cheesecake so much more fun to eat. So therefore you couldn't really stop at one slice.
I've been wanting to make that sort of a cheesecake forever, but just haven't had the right audience for it. Instead I stumbled upon this cake which just reminded completely of this cheesecake. So for now the Japanese Cheesecake goes into the to-do list.
This cake is as accidental as they get. Or coincidental. Whichever you like. Because three things happened to me at the same time. One - I had a tub of ricotta cheese that needed to be used up in a day or so. Two - I was thumbing through my copy of The Silver Spoon when I chanced upon this cake. Three - it was as if the stars had aligned since I had all the ingredients in my pantry.
So I whipped this cake up, because really there was hardly anything to it - sugar, yogurt, ricotta, cornflour, and some flavouring and eggs.
It took me less time to put this cake in the tin than it took the oven to pre-heat. So it's a winner all around.
Also, it's gluten-free. Which is a great thing isn't it?
The cake is so light that each mouthful is a surprise because you'll be wondering - am I eating a cake? Or is that a cheesecake. The tang from the ricotta is noticeable and I accentuated it with a bit of lemon juice and lemon rind. I also over baked the top a bit because I felt it needed some colour and served with a lemon drizzle.
This is not a very sweet cake, so you can easily add another third cup of sugar to this decadence or add some honey. And here's the best part - this cake can be made by ANYBODY. It's really that simple.
Italian Ricotta And Yogurt Cake
Adapted from The Silver Spoon. Available in India, US and UK
2/3 cup hung yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
juice and zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cup (about 200 grams) ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup corn flour or corn starch
a pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degree centigrade.
2. Separate the eggs.
3. In a bowl mix together the yogurt, ricotta, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, corn starch/flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix well. Keep aside
4. Beat the egg whites till stiff, cut and fold into the ricotta mixture.
5. Pour into a lined tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes till the top browns and a skewer comes clean. Cool completely. Serve with lemon drizzle.