Thursday, April 26, 2007

Orange & chili pepper ricotta cheese cake

Adding little heat to cheese isn't a new idea; we have been enjoying gourmet cheese with spices and/or a variety of Indian cuisines that incorporate cheese and pepper beautifully . For this cake, the fresh taste from ricotta just coos to every tastebud but is so delicate at the same time, almost like a little shy girl unwillingly stands in the spotlight, so we need some fruity note and heat to give it a kick. Don't worry about the heat; it will be all gone before you close your mouth, what only left is that refreshing orange-y and velvety milk-y taste.

Most cheese cakes baked in the pan with a removable bottom in order to release cakes easily, the size of the pan usually comes in 9 or 10 inches in diameter. But I want a much smaller cake, so I used a 7-inch pan which is actually a take-out foil container. Just tear the foil I can release my cake.

Recipe (yield: 7-inch diameter cake)
*adapted from Italian magazine casamia cucina*
  • For the crust, I use this dough, but you can use store-bought puff pastry
  • 160g fresh ricotta, drained well
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 navel orange, organic preferable, thinly slice
  • some candied orange peel, some diced for into the cake, some stripes for garnish
  • 1 Tbp red pepper flakes, mixed with a few drops of balsamic vinegar
  • some marmalade, slightly heat up (easier to spread)


  • Pre-heat oven 375F
  • Line the pastry dough in pan, cover, keep in the fridge while you preparing the filling
  • Push the ricotta through a fine sieve twice. Stir in sugar, two eggs and diced orange peels. Pour the mixture into the dough, arrange some fresh orange slices and red pepper on top.
  • Bake in 375F oven for 10 minutes, then lower to 350F until the top feel slightly firm, about another 15 minutes. Take the cake on a rack.
  • When the cake is warm to touch, tear off the foil (if you use disposable foil container), brush marmalade and arrange more orange peels on top.



Anh said...

Gattina, I was thinking about making ricotta cheese cake, too. ;) But I have been "bad", so will be on leaner diet for a while.

Your version is really beautiful. I love the bold addition of red pepper flake and of course balsamic vinegar. It will sure taste good, I'm imagining all flavours meting in my mouth now :)

FH said...

Amazing Gattina.I have a tub of Ricotta cheese ,I will try.It's savory too.Thanks girl:))

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Girl, this has got to stop ... my keyboard is a sopping mess with drool ... if I didn't have a date with my neighbor in 30 minutes for the gym, I'd be in serious trouble to not get into this.
I did a wonderful ricotta cheese cake some time ago ... it was grand ...
But I love the red pepper flakes and a touch of balsamic!! That strikes me as pure genius!
This is fabulous! Great photo also!

Anonymous said...

Gee that looks good! The puff pastry is a great idea for a cheesecake.

Mishmash ! said...

red pepper in a cheese cake !! AS always, lovely pics and that slice is a real beauty :)


Anonymous said...

How I wish I could try this! Looks gorgeous and with the chili I'm sure it's delicious and interesting!

I love the way you've described ricotta as a shy girl :)

Anonymous said...

Gattina, may I ask you something? Is it better to cook cheesecake with a convection oven setting or a regular setting? It seems I have the worst luck with always sinks. And now that I've purchased an oven with convection option I'm wondering if it makes a difference in a recipe like this...?

Anonymous said...


How did you know that I've been wishing for a savoury cheesecake? How did you know????

I love this! I must keep it in mind for the next time we have a dinner party!

Lis said...

That has got to be one of the prettiest cheesecakes I've ever seen. I'm completely intrigued by the flavors! I'm keeping this recipe for the next time my cousins come for dinner - they will love this!


Linda said...

wow this looks too good to even eat!! lovely gattina. truly a piece of art!

Callipygia said...

One would definitely not remain a "wallflower" after the dose of pepper and orange. Intriguing and wonderful.

Warda said...

It is one of the most beautiful cheescakes I have ever seen. A real piece of art.

Anonymous said...

Great looking cake...the pastry looks lovely and light with orange and creamy colors of the ricotta, the whole dessert looks wonderful...thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Pepper is something I never would have paired with cheesecake, but you know, I bet this tastes fantastic! And that photo, it's almost too pretty to eat.

Ari (Baking and Books)

Brilynn said...

Another beautiful dish! I have yet to make a savory cheesecake.

Kajal said...

Hi Gattina,
Rally very nice photo is say you are expert to make cake.
Thnaks for sharing .:)

Chris said...

Ricotta cheese? Have I mentioned I think "Ricotta" should have been my middle name? This cake looks spectacular and a definite bookmark. Cheers to Gattina!

Maneka Nirmal said...

wonderful... red pepper cheese cake..hmmmm.. interesting. small twist to the same old cheese cake..good work gattina.

Kirsten said...

So beautiful!!! And delicious sounding.

I must try this...and soon!


Gattina Cheung said...

Anh, I understand... esp my Easter dinner I was 'fast' for another week... Thanks for your sweet words buddy!

Asha, as long as yours is fresh type, do try it, but it is a sweet cake.

Tanna, nooooo, don't go away... not until you tell me more about your gorgeous cheese cake! When? when? :D :D

ninine, thanks for your compliment.

Shn, isn't it make much sense, love it!

Jeoy, oh thanks! I really didn't do much on dressing the cake up, you know, just keep sprinkling :D

Windwhisperer, I am afraid I have no idea as I haven't used other type of oven except my gas oven.
Besides, I haven't made many cheesecakes, only about a dozen in total.
I have baked a type of cheesecake which is always sink (or I call it 'collapsed') which requires seperating egg whites from the yolk. So next whip the whites to stiff-peak stage. This type of cheese then is always sink after baked, but it is what the cake supposes to be.

Ivonne darling, I will disappoint you as it's still a sweet cake, keekeeeh.

Lis, I can't see how we go wrong with 'fresh' ricotta, even having it plain with sugar is already super!! Hope you guys will love it!

Linda, oh I am flattered, but it's a breeze to make :D

Calli, thanks buddy! I'd say the move is bold, but the rest is still very ... predictable, but in a good way :D

Rose, thanks for your sweet words! Maybe the colors help. The only work (I consider as 'work') is only that hand-pulled dough, but you can avoid it by using store-bought puff pastry.

Dilip, really thanks for the compliment! And lovely to have your visit!

Ari, I know what you mean... but after I tasted it I'm not surprised, it's just too familiar!

Brilynn, thanks sweetie, but me neither :D

kajal, really thanks for your kind words. Actually I don't make cake often, the task is too time-intensive.

Chris...*lol* enjoy darling!

maneka, you are right! add a bit new here or there, life gets excited again!

kirsten, hope you would love it! Thank you so much for the sweet words!

Edith said...

G, I finally found ricotta cheese but it is expensive. :( Any subsitute?

Anonymous said...

Hi Gattina, how are you? This salty cake has aperfect form and like delicious. Bravissima! baci

Mandira said...

Gattina, I'm floored. This is absolutely gorgeous. I have to bookmark this.
Abt your question, I bought roasted vermicelli in Indian grocery store.

Sher said...

Yes, adding a heat to things is a great idea. I add a pinch of cayenne to things. It lifts the flavor and people don't taste "hot"--they taste "better." Love those pictures, Gattina--especially that crust. It's gorgeous. And I do love ricotta. :):)

Gattina Cheung said...

Edith, in this recipe I specify "fresh" ricotta which I doubt if you can get it in Sg... as it isn't widely available in here either. But I'm thinking I may like trying DIY (simple ingredients and basic equipment), should we wait for that instead? Please let me know *hug*
To answer your question, any substitute won't be any of the original recipe intends, sorry.

Francesca, I'm great, grazie! Things over yours look super-busy and exciting! Take care!

Mandira... *catch you* hehee. Thanks for your encouragement, and of course, the useful info!

Sher, oh right, that's you!!! As while I was typing this post, I thought of someone having added cayenne in some sort of dessert, just couldn't think of who. Thanks for your compliment, I'm a bit anal in DIY-ing crust, just want to get an extra chance to practicise :D

aminah said...

i hsve only one thing to say ...HUNGRY!!!!!

Peabody said...

That is decorated soooo beautifully.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Gattina!!! What a different cheesecake! You've just taken cheesecakes to a whole new level!

Anonymous said...

Wow the red pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar, such unique flavors in a cheesecake. I love how you arrange the orange slices and pepper flakes on top, absolutely adorable!

aminah said...

gattina, you have inspired me to bake stuff I would usually be quite terrified to attempt. Check my blog for photo of Norwegian cinnamon rolls...and thankyou for inspiring me for the better around my kitchen!

Suganya said...

Gorgeous cake....Its very nice..

Anonymous said...

What unique combinations! I LOVED your analogy to the shy girl. I'm going to get fat just subscribing ro your blog!

Helene said...

I knew there was a reason for this little voice telling me to put ricotta cheese in my cart this afternoon...gorgeous again!

Julie said...

What an interesting combination, you just know it's got to taste good.This is a cheesecake right up this girls alley...Thanks

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try this cheese cake the next few days - how did you get the crust to look so beautiful? I'm not so good at baking so I think I'll use puff pastry. It looks like you rolled over the edge to create that little 'puff'?

Anonymous said...

with all those ingredients I can imagine how heavenly tasty it would taste..

lovely presentation Gattina

Suganya said...

I get tires of the crunchy crust in a cheesecake.. Love yr strudel crust. I have made orange ricotta cheesecake.. guess vl add pepper next time, for the PUNCH :)