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22 August 2016

Blueberry Ricotta Cheesecake

Last summer days... Who could have thought that it will pass by that quickly?! While looking back on all that we managed to do this summer and trying to catch the last moment I realized that one recipe is still waiting to be posted. Because it is a pure summer delight and also my childhood memories. Since I come from a little green town on the river Uzh in the western part of Ukraine, I am used from my very childhood to be close to the nature. My father likes going to the forest and gathering fresh mushrooms after the rain. My mom is always creative thinking of what to cook with fresh regional treats. My grandparents having a nice garden always provided us with berries, fruit and vegetables. I remember my sister saying that I am very lucky to have all that when she moved abroad. But back those time I did not fully realize her point. Only when I moved to Germany I understood how important is to know where does the product come from because it is much healthier to eat regional and local. Yes, there is such a great variety of everything you want here. But there are some products you will hardly find here. Blueberries! No, of course, you may buy blueberries here. But these are totally different spices. They are actually huckleberry, much bigger than what I am talking about. And your tongue is not getting violet after eating those. How?!?! How happy I was when I saw these wonderful wild blueberries in one of the big supermarkets here!!!!! After two and a half years of searching I already gave up. 

And here I am with a wonderful magic recipe specially for you - Blueberry Ricotta Cheesecake. Of course, you may follow this fluffy cheesecake recipe or my very first low-fat recipe and sprinkle blueberries on top of those but today I propose you a combination of ricotta and cream cheese. 


for the crust
1 1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup softened butter

for the filling:
250g ricotta
500g cottage cheese
3 large eggs
2 bananas
2 tbsp sugar
lemon zest from 1 lemon
vanilla seeds (from 1/2 vanilla pod)
1 tbsp cornstarch or pudding powder *(optional)

for topping:
150g fresh wild blueberries

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 18-20 cm round ovenproof form with baking paper. 

In a food processor mix all the ingredients for the crust until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Press mixture over base and side of prepared baking form. Bake it for 15 minutes until golden brown. You can also use wholegrain biscuits for the crust just blending them with butter.

In a bowl mash bananas with sugar and using an electric mixer beat them with ricotta, adding cottage cheese. Add some flavors by putting lemon zest and vanilla seeds into the cheesy mixture. At this point add cornstarch or pudding powder to make the mixture set. This step is optional as you see from the ingredient list. It is recommended if the cheese you are using is very creamy. Otherwise you can skip it without concerns. One by one add the eggs and mix well. Do not overbeat. Pour the filling over the baked crust in the form. Spread the blueberries evenly over the top of the cake.

Baking time - 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 160° C and bake 20-30 minutes more. It depends on the height of the cake. The higher - the longer baking time. The cheesecake is done when the borders are a bit puffed and the center almost set but still moves a bit when the form is shaken.

After that let it cool down until room temperature. I know this might be a challenge in some sense. Proper cooling is very important to create a proper texture and avoid cracks. Make sure to cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack on the counter before refrigerating for at least 4 hours before serving.

Here you go - colorful cheesecake SUMMER EDITION :)


15 August 2016

Pear Galette with Whole Wheat Crust

WOW! Two months ago was my last post here. Seems like eternity... But I am back! With more energy after a good vacation, positive thoughts, new culinary experiences and a lot of tasty recipes.  With a slogan "Eat local and seasonal" I want you to try this wonderful recipe - Galette. What kind of summer without a crispy home made fruit galette?! Especially when there are so many choices of fruit, berries and other seasonal tastiness. This time I had couple of sweet pears and thus my choice was clear. An advantage of the recipe is a great combination of healthy ingredients with sweet juicy taste. If you are trying to reduce your sugar intake, this is exactly what you need. By the way, you can also try sugar-reduced version of Apple Flower Tart or sugarfree Pear Almond Tart. The first step to improve your nutrition plan is to substitute white flour with whole wheat flour. And therefore these recipes serve perfectly to #eatyourselfslim

180g whole wheat flour of your choice
80 g unsalted cold butter
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp ice cold water
5 medium pears
1 tbsp Demerara Black Sugar
½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg
1 tbsp hazelnuts

Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together. Cut the butter into cubes, then add to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or just put these ingredients into a kitchen machine. Add 4 tablespoons of ice cold water and stir in. Add the additional tablespoons of water if necessary for the dough to hold together. Shape into an circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Peel and slice the pears 0.5 -1 cm thick. Place them in a bowl adding lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and mix well. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll into a large circle, rolling from the middle out, rotating the dough every few rolls. Lay the dough onto a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can also roll the dough out directly on the parchment paper, then move the parchment paper and dough to the cooking sheet.
Place the pears on the dough starting from the center and leaving 5 cm border around the edge. Gently fold the edges towards the center. Meanwhile beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the dough with beaten egg-water mix.  The pears should not be brushed. Just sprinkle them with some Demerara sugar and hazelnuts. Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Important is to make sure that the bottom is baked. So if needed, extend the baking time depending on galette size and oven properties.

Let it cool on the baking sheet and enjoy the summer treat with a perfect cup of coffee!

Bon Appétit!