4.03.2011

BBQ'd Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake


Looks good doesn't it? It tasted fabulous! Why did I BBQ it? Well, long story short, as I was preparing all of the ingredients, I went to light the oven for the crust and no go....oven dead! As I sat on the floor with my head in my hands contemplating my options, I'm thinking....heat source....heat source.....gas grill! If Paula Deen can bake corn bread in a shovel over a  campfire, there's no reason why I can't pull off a BBQ'd cheesecake, right? 
Luckily, the broiler function was still working on my oven, so the first thing I did was broil the crust. I proceeded to finish the batter for the cheesecake. 
Then I went outside to the dark, cold patio and lit the gas grill. I scrubbed the grill to make sure it was really, really clean. I did not want my cheesecake taking on any smoky, bbq flavors, after all it is supposed to be a delicate lemon ricotta cheesecake. 
I set the grill to med-low and watched the temperature gauge, it finally registered just about 325 degrees F. OK..I've got the temp I need! I carefully poured the batter into the broiled crust and set the cheesecake on a heavy cookie sheet. I checked the temp every 20 minutes or so and it held steady. After 1 hr and 10 minutes, I had a beautiful, gently baked cheesecake! Yay for BBQ'd Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake!


BBQ'd Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake


Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F  
1 & 1/2 inner wrapped pkg.'s graham crackers 
3 tblsp melted butter
2 tblsp granulated sugar 


Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add sugar and melted butter, pulse quickly to combine. Pour into a spring form pan. Press crust into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan with the bottom of glass or your hands. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside. 


Batter 
Set oven or gas grill to 325 degrees F 
3- 8 oz bricks of cream cheese 
2 cups ricotta cheese 
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar  
1 tsp real vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 and 1/2 fresh lemons


Bring cream cheese, ricotta and eggs to room temperature. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sugar. Beat with mixer until smooth about 2 minutes, add eggs, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat until smooth about 1 minute. Pour batter into baked crust. 
Set spring form pan onto heavy, rimmed cookie sheet.
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until just set. Let cool at least 4-6 hours before serving or refrigerate overnight.


Topping 
On top of thoroughly cooled cheesecake, pour 1 cup of prepared (jarred) lemon curd or lemon pie filling. Zest 1/2 lemon on top. Serve! 16 slices. 

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