Friday, August 16, 2013

Fresh Fig Cheesecake

So, this isn't really made in a cheesecake pan and it does not use the typical oodles amounts of cream cheese (1 package compared to 4 packages) that is in cheesecake, but I'm not sure what else to call it. I know I can call it AMAZING! I found the recipe in a coupon catalogue for one of the grocery stores I shop at in Annapolis - the Fresh Market. I had been wanting to make it for quite some time, but I didn't have any figs. This past weekend we went to Costco with my parents, and my mom and I decided to split a container of fresh figs. Even with half the amount of figs, I still had close to 20! I ate a couple - and they were so good. I knew I wouldn't be able to eat them all before they went bad, so I made the recipe. Greg said the fresh fig cheesecake is a sophisticated and mature taste - and that it was really, really good. We served it for dessert the other night and our guests loved it. They said it was one of the most delicious and refreshing desserts they have ever had. This elegant dessert is super easy to make and it is the perfect late summer treat. Figs are in season right now (late summer through early Fall) & the dessert is also pretty light, since it doesn't have too much cream cheese or sugar.  Enjoy.

Recipe for Fresh Fig Cheesecake 

For the crust
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. of salt
8 Tbsp. of very cold butter, cut into small cubes
2 - 4 Tbsp. of ice cold water
For the filling
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, slightly softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of part-skim ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
8 - 10 fresh figs, sliced lengthwise
Honey (for topping each slice)

For the crust
Put the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a couple times to combine. Scatter the very cold butter pieces over the mixture. Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. With the processor running, pour a tablespoon of the ice cold water through the feed tube. Let it run for a few seconds, then add another tablespoon of the water through the feed tube. The dough should form into a ball and leave the sides of the bowl. If it doesn't after about 10 seconds, add a little more of the water through the feed tube. Once it forms into a ball, turn off processor and gather the dough up with your hands and wrap it in plastic wrap or put it into a plastic bag and seal. Put into the fridge for 30 minutes. Wipe the food processor and blade clean, since you will be using again for the filling.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take the dough out of the fridge and use your hands to evenly press it onto the bottom and up on the sides of a 9-inch pie pan.  Prick the dough all over with a fork (don't go all the way through the dough). Place in the oven and bake for 12 - 15 minutes, checking frequently to make sure the dough is not rising up. If it is, prick it down with the fork. Remove from oven and allow it to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

For the filling
While the crust is cooling, make the filling. Put the sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times so that the sugar becomes a little finer, but not powdery. Add in the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and beaten eggs. Turn on food processor and run for several seconds, until mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust. If the pie crust is still warm, transfer the mixture to a container and store in the fridge until crust is cool enough. Then put pie with filling into the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Arrange the fig pieces on top. Place back in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the top is just starting to brown and just firm in the center. Remove from oven and allow it to cool completely. Then cover and place in the fridge for a couple hours before serving.

Slice the fresh fig cheesecake into 8 pieces. Top each serving with a couple drizzles of honey. Yum!

Recipe Adapted from: The Fresh Market Inspirations