Monday, August 20, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake (Old-Fashioned & Light), the Full Sturgeon Moon and Orion

In less than two weeks it will be September.
September… Autumn… heavier meals, holiday dinners, family get-togethers.
And then there’s getting ready for the mother of all holidays - Christmas.
Yes, it feels like it was Christmas a month ago.

Time may fly when you’re having fun, but when you’re past 60, both fun and misery whiz by at warp speed.

Just the thought of the upcoming ‘festivities’ is making me nervous.
Time to follow The Golden Girls’ example and have a slice of cheesecake.

About a week ago I posted the recipe for Ma’s Quiche Lorraine.
Not a cheesecake, but a nice dairy dish.
It’s been a few months since I posted Ma’s Ricotta Cheesecake recipe.
That was back in April, and I posted it to get us through preparing our taxes.
I know, tax season feels like it was just a couple of days ago.
At this rate we’ll be doing taxes again next month.

I digress. Back to the cheesecake…
Ricotta cheesecakes give you that comforting texture with a bit less fat and calories.
For more ways to use ricotta check this post.

For us seniors time has speeded up, while our metabolism has slowed down, so we have to keep an eye on what we eat.
No problem… some of the lighter calorie foods, like ricotta, have charms of their own.
Ricotta makes a lovely cheesecake, with or without the lemon.
Be good to yourself and bake a cheesecake.
And remember to stop at one serving.


If you’d like to make this recipe a little healthier, use 6 ounces oil instead of 1 Cup butter - or 3 ounces oil and 1/2 Cup butter - in the cake layer.

Don’t have grated lemon rind? A teaspoon of lemon extract is just as good.

                                   Old-Fashioned Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

Serves 16 to 20 

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan

Cake Layer
Combine in a medium bowl
2 Cups flour
1/2 Cup confectioners’ sugar
Cut in
1 Cup butter
Pat the mixture into the greased baking pan.

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350º F

Place in a large bowl 
3 eggs, lightly beaten
30 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 Cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
Beat until well blended.
Spoon the ricotta mixture on top of the cake layer.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until lightly browned and a knife inserted 2 inches
from the centre should come out clean.
Turn off the oven and leave the door open a crack - prop it with a spoon.
Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the oven.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for one hour. 
Refrigerate overnight. 

Before serving dust with 
confectioners’ sugar
Cut into squares. 

The leftover squares can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

                                   Light Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

Serves 10 to 12

Combine in a medium bowl
1 cup graham cracker crumbs 
3 Tablespoons melted butter
Press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan and chill. 

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 325º F

Place in a medium bowl 
15 ounces light ricotta cheese 
1/2 Cup light sour cream 
1/2 Cup sugar 
3 large egg yolks
2 Tablespoons flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind 
Beat until well blended.

Place in a large mixer bowl 
3 large egg whites
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Using a spatula, push the beaten whites to one side.
Pour the cheese mixture into the empty space next to the beaten whites.
Fold in the beaten whites just enough to combine. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Pour into prepared springform pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
A knife inserted between edge and middle should come out clean, while the middle will quiver a tiny bit.

Remove from oven and run a knife all around the inside edge of the pan. 
Place pan on a rack and let cool to room temperature. 
Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
Serve garnished with, or without, fresh fruit

The leftover cheesecake can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Here are a few more cheesecake recipes:

Carmela Soprano's Cassata / Iced Sponge Cake with Ricotta Filling

Carmela Soprano's La Pastiera - Easter Ricotta Pie, Italian Style

Carmela Soprano's Pasticiotti / Tartlets with Vanilla Cream Filling

Anna Sultana's Qassatat ta I-Irkotta (Small ricotta pie, Maltese Style)

About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

August 23 – The Moon is at apogee at 7:11 a.m., meaning it’s farthest away from Earth in its orbit. An easy way to remember: Apogee “A” = Away

August 24 – Set your alarms for 90 minutes before sunrise to see an unobstructed view of Mercury along the horizon.

August 26 – August’s full Sturgeon Moon at 7:56 a.m.  In this phase the visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Although the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered full for the entire day of the event and appears full for three days.

August 27 & 28 – The Moon is now in a waning gibbous phase following a full Moon, so a daytime view is visible after sunrise the 27th in the eastern sky, and in the western sky on the 28th.

August 29 – Orion the Hunter rises before dawn and can be seen by the three stars that make up Orion’s belt. See if you can also spot the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, a.k.a., the Dog Star.

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