“Anari” is the Cypriot version of the Italian Ricotta, only it contains less fat. It’s an excellent ingredient for a cheesecake, lighter that your usual “All Philadelphia” version. Ok, I admit you cannot include this cheesecake in your low-calorie, fat-free diet, but it is considerably lighter. For the crust, I substituted half of the biscuits with ground almonds and they added an excellent flavor and crunch. I topped it with candied kumquats for a really special and original flavour, but you can top it with strawberries or a plain dusting of icing sugar.
Ingredients for the crust:
- 1 cup “digestive” biscuits, crushed (that’s about 8 biscuits)
- 1 cup almonds, coarsely ground
- 2 Tbs soft brown sugar
- 70 grams unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the Cheesecake
- 400 grams unsalted “anari” cheese (or Italian ricotta)
- 500 grams “Philadelphia” cheese
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup plus 1 Tbs honey
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 175 C. You will need a round 23cm (9”) spring form cake pan, with removable sides. Butter the pan and line base with parchment paper.
Make the crust by mixing the crushed biscuits, almonds and brown sugar in a bowl. Pour over the melted butter and mix well with a spatula until butter is well distributed. Put mixture into prepared pan, and cover the base, pressing down well with the back of a spoon. Bake for 10 minutes. Leave to cool (it will harden as it cools).
When pan is cool enough to handle you need to wrap it in foil, as you will bake this cheesecake in a water bath (bain marie). So, cut 3 large square pieces of foil and stack them one on top of the other. Place your pan in the middle and wrap the foil tightly around the sides of the pan, to prevent any water leaking into your cheesecake. Put your wrapped pan in a larger pan and set aside until needed.
Make the cheesecake mixture. Put “anari” or ricotta, Philadelphia cheese and sugar in a a bowl of a food processor. Blend until mixed. Add sour cream and lemon zest. Blend again until smooth. Add eggs and blend well. Pour mixture in pan, over the baked crust. Pour enough boiling water in the larger pan, to come half way up the sides of your cheesecake pan. Put carefully in the oven. (I pour the boiling water in the larger pan, while it sits in the oven. It’s less stressful). Bake for one hour.
Bring pans out of the oven and remove cheesecake pan from the water bath. Leave cheesecake to cool completely in the pan. At this stage you can put in the fridge for up to 2 days.
To serve, run a spatula all the way round the sides of the pan. Release the sides and remove. Lift the cheesecake with a spatula and remove the greaseproof paper rom the base. Transfer into a serving platter. Top with 2-3 tablespoons candied kumquats.