Sicilian Cheesecake with Lemon & Pinenut

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By Darren Purchese

This recipe is so light, bright, and fresh. It is my reimagining of the classic Sicilian cheesecake with tangy lemon and crunchy pinenuts, but the delicious and versatile Ricotta is the star of this show. It looks super fancy served in a dessert glass and is very achievable with a little pre-planning.

Time

1

hour

45

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Easy

Save

0

Portions

4
servings

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Ingredients

Servings

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COMPONENTS

 Semolina Cake
 Lemon Curd
 Whipped Cheesecake Mix
 Honey Baked Pinenuts
 Coloured White Chocolate

SEMOLINA CAKE

250g caster sugar
2 whole lemon, juice and fine zest
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
200g Mascaropone
110g eggs, (approx. 2 large eggs)
145g plain flour
85g semolina
3tsp baking powder
80 ml light olive oil

LEMON CURD

100 ml lemon, juice
1 whole lemon, fine zest
220g eggs, (approx. 4 large)
200g caster sugar
135g unsalted butter, room temperature
3g gelatine, leaves

WHIPPED CHEESECAKE MIX

150g cream, thickened
350g Ricotta
75g icing sugar
50g Mascarpone
½ lemon, juice
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped

HONEY BAKED PINENUTS

200g pinenuts
100g honey
50g caster sugar
 pinch salt

COLOURED WHITE CHOCOLATE

80g white chocolate, melted
 pink oil soluble food colour
 yellow oil soluble food colour
1

To get started… Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 20 cm X 20 cm cake tin, line neatly with baking paper.

 

2

For the semolina cake… Add the sugar into a bowl, grate in the zest of two lemons and add the vanilla. Use your fingertips to rub all together. Add the mascarpone, eggs and the juice of two lemons into a separate bowl and mix together really well to eradicate any lumps, you will have a milk consistency. Add this into to sugar mixture along with the oil and again mix well. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add the semolina and salt. Add the liquid mixture and use a spatula to combine.

 

3

To cook the semolina cake… pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean from the centre once inserted. Leave it to cool before turning it out onto a cake rack to finish cooling.

 

4

For the lemon curd… soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a couple of minutes to soften. Drain and discard the water and reserve the gelatine. Combine the lemon juice, zest, whole egg, sugar and butter in a heatproof bowl and mix well with a whisk. Half fill a large saucepan with water and place onto a medium heat. Place the bowl of ingredients over the top of the saucepan. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl, continue to heat. Cook the curd over indirect heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula until a temperature of 82°C-84°C is reached. Remove from the heat and add the gelatine, mix to melt in and strain the hot curd through a sieve into a clean container. Leave to cool covered in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.

 

5

For the pinenuts… place the pinenuts along with the honey, sugar and salt into a heatproof bowl. Heat for 20 sec. in the microwave to make it runny. Mix well and pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in the oven or until the nuts are golden brown. Leave to cool on the paper and then store in a sealed container.

 

6

For the white chocolate brush… split the melted white chocolate into two small containers and colour each one pink and yellow. Use a pastry brush to brush the two, coloured chocolates on the inside of each of the four glasses.

 

7

For the whipped cheesecake mix… prepare the cheesecake by whisking the cream to firm peaks, set aside. Add the ricotta and icing sugar into a mixing bowl and mix well to eliminate lumps. Add the mascarpone, lemon & vanilla and mix again. Fold the reserved cream into the mixture and reserve until needed.

 

8

To assemble… Use a sharp knife to cut 2 cm square cubes of sponge. Transfer the lemon curd into a piping bag and pipe or spoon a tablespoon into the bottom of each glass.

Keep four nice clusters of candied pinenuts aside for finishing. Add the remaining candied pinenuts into a small blender and blitz on high until you have a smooth paste. If the paste is too thick add a small quantity of warm water to loosen. Spoon a teaspoon of pinenut butter into the bottom of each glass.

 

9

Add a few cut sponge cubes to each glass and reserve the rest of the sponge.

Pipe or spoon a couple of tablespoons of the cheesecake into each dessert glass.

 

 

10

Pipe more curd into each glass and add a few more cubes of sponge.

 

11

Add more cheesecake to each glass and finish with a cluster of candied pinenuts in each.

 

 

12

Serve immediately.

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes

To get started… Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 20 cm X 20 cm cake tin, line neatly with baking paper.

2
0 hours 0 minutes

For the semolina cake… Add the sugar into a bowl, grate in the zest of two lemons and add the vanilla. Use your fingertips to rub all together. Add the mascarpone, eggs and the juice of two lemons into a separate bowl and mix together really well to eradicate any lumps, you will have a milk consistency. Add this into to sugar mixture along with the oil and again mix well. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add the semolina and salt. Add the liquid mixture and use a spatula to combine.

3
0 hours 0 minutes

To cook the semolina cake… pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean from the centre once inserted. Leave it to cool before turning it out onto a cake rack to finish cooling.

4
0 hours 0 minutes

For the lemon curd… soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a couple of minutes to soften. Drain and discard the water and reserve the gelatine. Combine the lemon juice, zest, whole egg, sugar and butter in a heatproof bowl and mix well with a whisk. Half fill a large saucepan with water and place onto a medium heat. Place the bowl of ingredients over the top of the saucepan. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl, continue to heat. Cook the curd over indirect heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula until a temperature of 82°C-84°C is reached. Remove from the heat and add the gelatine, mix to melt in and strain the hot curd through a sieve into a clean container. Leave to cool covered in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.

5
0 hours 0 minutes

For the pinenuts… place the pinenuts along with the honey, sugar and salt into a heatproof bowl. Heat for 20 sec. in the microwave to make it runny. Mix well and pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in the oven or until the nuts are golden brown. Leave to cool on the paper and then store in a sealed container.

6
0 hours 0 minutes

For the white chocolate brush… split the melted white chocolate into two small containers and colour each one pink and yellow. Use a pastry brush to brush the two, coloured chocolates on the inside of each of the four glasses.

7
0 hours 0 minutes

For the whipped cheesecake mix… prepare the cheesecake by whisking the cream to firm peaks, set aside. Add the ricotta and icing sugar into a mixing bowl and mix well to eliminate lumps. Add the mascarpone, lemon & vanilla and mix again. Fold the reserved cream into the mixture and reserve until needed.

8
0 hours 0 minutes

To assemble… Use a sharp knife to cut 2 cm square cubes of sponge. Transfer the lemon curd into a piping bag and pipe or spoon a tablespoon into the bottom of each glass.

Keep four nice clusters of candied pinenuts aside for finishing. Add the remaining candied pinenuts into a small blender and blitz on high until you have a smooth paste. If the paste is too thick add a small quantity of warm water to loosen. Spoon a teaspoon of pinenut butter into the bottom of each glass.

9
0 hours 0 minutes

Add a few cut sponge cubes to each glass and reserve the rest of the sponge.

Pipe or spoon a couple of tablespoons of the cheesecake into each dessert glass.

 

10
0 hours 0 minutes

Pipe more curd into each glass and add a few more cubes of sponge.

11
0 hours 0 minutes

Add more cheesecake to each glass and finish with a cluster of candied pinenuts in each.

 

12
0 hours 0 minutes

Serve immediately.

Recipe Tags lemon, pinenut, ricotta