Mango Ricotta Cheesecake

YIELD Serves 10-12

PREP TIME 30 Minutes

DIFFICULTY Moderate

INTRODUCTION

Makes 1 9-inch tart or 12 individual tarts

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) fresh ricotta, preferably the less moist type called "hand-dipped"
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican
  • 12 store-bought mini graham cracker pie crusts, baked, cooled and removed from foil molds (optional) OR 1 9-inch graham cracker or Maria cookie crust (recipe follows), made in a removable-bottom, 1-inch-deep tart pan, baked and cooled (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mango (you'll need 2 of the large round mangos or 3 to 4 of the flatter—and I think more delicious—yellow ones called honey Manila or champagne mangos)
  • The finely chopped or grated zest (colored part only) of 1 lime
  • About 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves, plus extra leaves for garnish

Maria Cookie (or Graham Cracker) Crust

  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
  • 4 ounces Mexican "Maria" cookies or Graham crackers (about 18 "Maria" cookies, 16 graham crackers)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

PREPARATION

In a food processor or blender, combine the cheeses, sugar, eggs, cream and vanilla. Blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic, poke a few holes in the top and microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes. Uncover and stir, re-cover and microwave 7 more times at 50% power for 1 minute each, uncovering, stirring and recovering after each visit to the microwave. After the final heating, the mixture should be very hot to the touch (about 160 degrees) and thick.

Immediately divide the mixture among the prepared crust or crusts, or pour into small cups (I have little juice glasses and small cappuccino cups that are perfect for this). Refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour.

Mix the mango with the lime zest and mint, spoon onto the cooled cheesecake, decorate each portion with a piece of mint and you've got a dessert that's guaranteed to please.

Maria Cookie (or Graham Cracker) Crust

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Scoop the butter into a small microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Break the cookies (or crackers) into a food processor and pulse until pulverized. Add the sugar and melted butter, then continue to pulse until the mixture begins to clump slightly. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and sides of 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

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Rick Bayless

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