I rarely create recipes entirely on my own but this is one fine example. Last week I bought some fresh goat ricotta from Montforte at the AppleTree Market but it was not quite what I expected. The texture was a little too dry and crumbly compare to the silky smooth fresh cow's milk ricotta that I typically get. Instead of eating them by the spoonfuls, I decided to make them into a savory cheesecake.
Last summer I made a savory ricotta cheesecake using zucchinis, using a recipe from 101 Cookbooks. That was the inspiration for this autumn version. Similar to the one I made back in summer, this one contains ricotta (goat ricotta!), grated parmesan, and topped with soft chevre that browned so deliciously in the oven. As you can see in the side profile of the cheesecake, it's a mosaic of roasted butternut squash, Cortland apples, and sauteed leeks with a touch of sage thrown in. This combination of ingredients definitely screams autumn to me.
I hope you enjoy this savory cheesecake as much as I do. Side with a simple greens salad, it's a great meal to be eaten in the cozy indoor or in a picnic to catch the last glimpse of warmth before winter settles in.
Savory Ricotta Cheesecake With Squash, Apple, Leeks
nutritional information available here
- 1lb of peeled butternut squash, diced to 3/4 inch pieces
- 2tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 big stalk of leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
- 1tbsp finely chopped sage
- 2 baking apple such as Cortland, diced into 3/4 inch pieces
- 375g goat ricotta cheese
- 15g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 50g heavy cream, optional
- 60g chevre (soft fresh goat cheese)
- Roast butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400F. Toss butternut squash with 1tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet until tender and golden, about 20-30 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting, heat a frying pan at high heat with 1tbsp olive oil. Saute leeks and sage until fragrant and takes on a bit of colour. Toss in the apples and keep stirring around until apples are a little golden too. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Prepare a 7" round cake pan with 3" sides or a 7" springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and greasing the sides. When the squash finished roasting, turn the oven down to 325F.
- In a large mixing bowl and a sturdy spatula, beat together ricotta cheese, parmesan, and eggs. If the mixture looks a bit too dry, drizzle in the heavy cream until batter is a bit thicker than the typical pancake batter. The consistency of your batter depends on how wet the ricotta cheese is. The goat ricotta that I used is a bit on the dry crumbly side so I used all 50g of heavy cream. If your ricotta is very smooth and loose, you can probably skip the cream.
- Season the batter with about 1/2 tsp fine sea salt and lots of black pepper. Fold in the cooked vegetable gently.
- Pour the custard into the prepared pan and level the top. If you use a springform pan, set the pan on a baking sheet to catch any leakage. Bake for 60 minutes.
- Crumble the chevre evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Bake for another 20 minutes until the centre of the cake barely jiggles. At this point, if the chevre is not nicely browned, you can put the cake until the broiler for 2-4 minutes. Watch very closely so your cheesecake does not burn!
- Cool the cheesecake until the pan is cool enough to handle with bare hands. To unmold the cake, carefully loosen the sides with a thin knife. If you use a round cake pan, invert to a plate covered with wax paper and peel off the parchment on the bottom of the cake. Flip the cake right side up to a serving plate and serve while it's still slightly warm.