Thursday, April 9, 2009
I'm sitting down to plan my Easter menu and make a shopping list and thought I would share it. It's not a super exciting menu but I know everyone will like it and I like the simplicity. What dishes do you usually have on Easter? I'd love to hear about them.
My traditional Easter Menu:
Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts
Ham and Gravy
Steamed Green Beans
Vanilla Ice Cream
from Cook's Illustrated, Published December 12, 2006
Serves 8 to 10
The ricotta cheese must be drained in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight. To drain the cheese, line a fine-mesh sieve with two layers of cheesecloth or paper towels, place the cheese in the sieve, place the sieve over a bowl, and refrigerate.
Amaretti Cookie Crust:
5 ounces amaretti cookies , processed in a food processor to uniformly fine crumbs (1 1/4 cups crumbs) (I used vanilla wafers)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter for greasing pan
2 pounds ricotta cheese , drained overnight (see note above)
4 large eggs , separated
3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1/4 cup light rum
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. In small bowl, combine amaretti crumbs and 4 tablespoons of melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with most of remaining tablespoon melted butter, reserving small amount of excess melted butter for brushing sides of pan after crust cools. Empty crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom (See illustration). Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (Do not turn off oven.) Brush sides of springform pan with remaining melted butter.
2. For the filling: While crust cools, place drained ricotta in food processor and process until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add egg yolks, sugar, rum, flour, zest, vanilla, and salt and process until blended, about 1 more minute. Scrape mixture into large bowl.
3. In bowl of standing mixer, beat egg whites at high speed until they hold stiff peaks. Fold whites into ricotta mixture until fully incorporated and pour mixture evenly into cooled crust.
4. Bake cheesecake until top is lightly browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers about 150 degrees, about 1 1/4 hours. (Perimeter of cake should be firm, but center will jiggle slightly. It will solidify further as cake cools.) Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Run paring knife between cake and side of springform pan. Cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Wrap pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cheesecake is cold and set, at least 5 hours or up to 2 days.
5. To unmold cheesecake, remove sides of pan. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.