A visit to Pasticceria Papa is a must when in Sydney, because their Baked Ricotta Cheesecake is… OUT OF THIS WORLD! Here’s my replica recipe that, seriously, comes this close to the real thing, you won’t want to stop at one slice!
This recipe has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Eat Drink Blog 2012 Recipe Writing Competition and came overall second! Thank you for your votes.
Warning: this post is photo heavy and the cheesecake highly addictive!
The original Pasticceria Papa Torta Di Ricotta Cheesecake is so good, it has been voted Sydney’s best cheesecake by the SMH. Now, if you’ve ever had a slice of the original cheesecake, you would know that the pastry that envelopes the lightest, most fluffiest and creamiest ricotta filling EVER, seems to be made out of one piece… The ricotta filling is incredibly light and fluffy, heavenly almost. And the whole thing is quite low in sugar too, which is something you don’t normally see with patisserie cakes.
So, there were two challenges with making this cheesecake. Firstly how to make the pastry wrap around the whole cheesecake – top, bottom and sides, seamlessly. The second challenge came from the fact that the recipe is a better guarded secret than Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices, which meant that it would take some guesswork. I tackled the first problem by using my fail-proof slice pastry that reminds me a lot of the one used by Papa.
In terms of the ricotta filling, I had a basic idea of what might go in it: ricotta, obviously. Eggs, but not too many, beaten into fluff – yes, that I knew from Mum’s Polish cheesecakes. The ratios would take some guesswork, and a lot of expensive ingredients, I thought.
Luckily, the wonderful Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella has done some of the Papa groundwork before me. She had already baked an Italian Ricotta cheesecake based on a recipe featured in Maeve O’Meara’s Italian Food Safari.
It was good, but since the pastry was a shortcrust one, it was not suitable for the lid. Crumbs were flying everywhere with each attempt to slice the cake. You see, the original pastry is almost a little chewy… I also found the filling to be a little too eggy. One egg didn’t work either, so I settled on two.
Apart from reducing the amount of sugar and eggs a little further, adding vanilla extract and changing the ratio of ricotta and cream cheese, I added the famous “lid” to the cheesecake as well. It was as seamless and as light and fluffy as I had hoped for!
And so, finally, it all came together the third time around although I must say the second attempt was quite close too, but the lid didn’t quite stick and the one egg filling was a tad too firm.
Now, you may be concerned about the amount of fat in this recipe because all ingredients are full-fat. Don’t be. After all, if you are making a cheesecake, you might as well make it the best one there is and that means butter, full-fat cream, cream cheese and ricotta. No low-fat shortcuts here.
And trust me, you won’t want to stop at just one slice! PS I think they have recently tweaked the recipe a little so this is more like the original cake.
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